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Gardening in December: Best Things To Do In The Garden

There is so much fun in the garden even in December! You can plan ahead and do a few things to ensure a better and healthier garden for spring and summer. You can start reviewing the things that you have in your winter gardening checklist to know how you can winter-proof your garden.

And if you are wondering which plants you can grow during the cold weather, you can grow cool-season vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, garlic, onions, and more!

10 Gardening Jobs in December

There is much to be done in the garden in December. What tasks should you prioritize this month? What can you do to ensure the garden’s health despite cold temperatures? Here are the tasks that you should complete in the last month of the year:

Clear Snow Away from Plants

vegetable garden greenhouse

If you live in a region that gets snow in December, you must be ready to clear snow as soon as it comes. The garden looks gorgeous when blanketed by thick snow, but the weight of it will break tree branches and soft stems. Also, ice and melting snow can increase the risk of decay, so it should be cleared immediately. Clear snow the old-fashioned way, by hand. Use a broom, a snow rake, or a shovel to remove snow. A little brush is perfect for removing snow on small and fragile plants. Avoid using equipment or materials that can damage the plants, like a snow blower or salt.

Protect Fragile Plants

Many plants thrive in cold weather, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t install protective barriers against snow and strong winds. An extra layer of protection insulates the soil, protects it from the elements, and reduces damage caused by freezing weather. Landscape fabric, cloches, layers of cloth like burlap, bubble wrap, plastic sheeting, etc., can be used as plant covers. Potted plants should be transferred indoors or to a greenhouse to protect them from frost. Indoors, set these plants in a spot that gets bright, indirect light. Use a grow light for plants requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Winter Pruning

Winter is the best time to prune trees and plants because the plants lay dormant during the cold months. Pruning is essential for healthy foliage growth. When plants are dormant, they’re quicker to recover from pruning. Plant diseases and pests are also less likely to spread when the temperature is low. To minimize trauma, invest in high-quality pruning tools with sharp blades. Sharp blades enable you to make clean cuts quickly. Use a hand pruner for small plants and large pruning shears for bushes and shrubs. Loppers are best used for trees.

Take Care of the Wildlife

Winter tends to be hard on the wildlife because there’s less food to eat and fewer places to rest. Your garden can be a welcome respite from the punishing cold. Install birdhouses in various garden areas – these will serve as warm shelters for birds and other flying pollinators. Fill the birdhouses with bird seeds, bread crumbs, pieces of fruit, etc. Set up bird baths or water dishes in warm areas to protect from chilly winds. Fill this with clean drinking water. You can also install shelters and feeders for the bees and butterflies!

Clean Gutters and Drains

Don’t wait until the freezing temps before clearing gutters and drains of dried leaves and muck – especially if you are anticipating heavy snowfall. Do your gutter cleaning in December when the leaves have fallen and the air is starting to get cold but is still far from freezing. Wear protective gear and use a stable ladder to clean the pipes and gutters around your house. Drain and organize the garden hoses – these should be stored in the shed before it snows.

Complete the Mulching

vegetable garden greenhouse

December is a great time to finish mulching because this protective barrier promotes plant growth in many ways. It can insulate the soil and protect plant roots from the cold. Mulching helps control weeds and minimize the risk of soil erosion. It can also add beauty to the garden once the snow starts falling. As for the mulching materials, you can use organic and non-organic materials like decorative pebbles, straws, hay, wood chips, and landscape fabric.

Build a Compost Pile

While decomposition gets slow in the winter, don’t let that stop you from finally building a compost pile. You can use a basic DIY container, dig a pit, or get a proper compost bin. Add green and brown organic materials into your compost bin and leave the materials to cook. Cooking will be slow during winter, but it should be ready once the warm months start rolling in!

Buy Seeds for the Next Growing Season

vegetable garden greenhouse

December is a great time to prepare for the next growing season. During this month, prioritize stockpiling bulbs and seeds of all kinds. Buy seeds you usually grow but rotate these as you plant to avoid depleting the soil of nutrients. If you want to add new seeds to your collection, read seed catalogs to see which plants can be grown in your local area. You can also check out the USDA plant hardiness zone map to determine the kinds of plants that thrive in your region.

Make Repairs

Since you have more time on your hands now that the plants are dormant, you can make repairs when needed. Define the borders of your plant beds and repair damaged areas of the raised beds. Remove broken pots and repot your plants. Repair fences and apply a thin coating of wood preservative to protect them from decay. Check the tree and install ties; ensure they’re holding back the branches properly in case of a snowstorm. Loosen or tighten when needed.

Clean and Store Garden Tools Properly

The final step to your December gardening tasks is to clean and store your garden tools. Gardening tools aren’t exactly cheap, so it’s essential to take care of them at the end of every season to prevent rust and damage.

For your cutting and digging tools, rinse the soil, stubborn muck, and garden debris with water after each use, wipe dry with a clean cloth, and apply a thin coating of linseed oil before storing it in your shed. For pieces of equipment, clean the debris and muck away with a dry brush, and add oil to the small metal components before storing. For garden hoses, these should be drained of water and rolled neatly before storage.

Gardening in December with ECOgardener Garden Tools and Supplies

backyard garden

You can still enjoy spending time outside on a crusty winter day!

The last month of the year should be spent preparing the garden for the next growing season and protecting your winter plants from chilly draughts, snow, ice, and strong winds. This is also a great time to stock up on essential gardening tools, so by the time spring comes; you’re ready to transform the garden!

Shop now at ECOgardener for all your gardening supplies.