12: What to do in the garden in December

December is a good month in the garden for maintenance, there can be some beautiful clear and crisp days, so make the most them when they are here! 

These kinds of days are the perfect time to get any fence or shed repairs done. If you haven’t cleaned your greenhouse yet this is also a good time to do so. There may not be as many daylight hours but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy being out in the garden when the weather is lovely.

Unfortunately, we can also expect much colder, rainier weather and sharp, chilly winds this month, so make sure to protect any plants that are susceptible to frost. For pots likely to suffer from waterlogging and drainage issues raise them up by placing pots on pot feet or bricks.

For the days when the weather is less than favourable, you could use this time to gain inspiration and create a garden project plan for next year. Think about what grew well in the garden this year and which plants you would like to grow next.

Why not get ahead by ordering any seeds, trays and pots to make sure you’re fully prepared and have all the tools and products you will need for the months ahead.

Ornamental Garden:

  • Keep borders tidy by removing any debris, leaves etc.
  • Check newly planted Shrubs for wind rock (loosened soil around base) after strong winds.
  • Prune woody ornamental plants but avoid when frost or snow is forecast.
  • Mulch if the weather is still mild.
  • Shake off snow from hedges and Shrubs to avoid damage.

Vegetable Garden:

  • Harvest winters vegetables like sprouts and parsnips.
  • Prune free standing Apples, Pears, Currants and Gooseberries.
  • Prune Grape Vines by mid-December.
  • Do not prune stone fruit until spring to avoid silver leaf disease.
  • Continue to plant fruit bushes if weather and soil conditions permit.
  • Divide and re-plant Rhubarb.

Other jobs to do in the garden in December:

  • Insulate outdoor taps and pipes to avoid them freezing.
  • Ventilate greenhouse on mild days.
  • Protect plants and pots likely to be affected by frost damage.
  • Hang fat balls and ensure birdfeeders are well stocked.
  • Make sure compost bins and heaps are covered to prevent it becoming soggy.
  • Turn compost bins to ensure full decomposition.
  • Ensure houseplants are getting enough light indoors, by placing them on a sunny windowsill.
  • Keep clearing remaining plant debris and leaves.