This is our December guide, that suggests which gardening tasks, you should consider doing in the month of December in the UK. Most of us are looking forward to the festivities of the Christmas season. Many people will give little or no thought to their garden.
There are some activities that you can complete in the month of December, if you have the time, and of course the motivation to do so. Let's have a look at those just below.
What Gardening Tasks Should You Have in Your Plan?
Forgive us for stating the obvious here, but for most people living in the UK, December is a cold month. It is also a very busy month for people as Christmas lies in waiting. The average temperature for December in the UK is 6 to 9 degrees Celsius, and at night it is around 2 degrees Celsius.
That usually means frost, and depending on your exact location, can also mean varying degrees of snowfall. So it is fair to say it is cold, and many gardeners, or would be gardeners prefer the heat of the home.
For those gardeners who still like to be out and about in their gardens, then there is still some basic work that you can do. This is especially true if you are fortunate enough to have a greenhouse.
December Gardening Task List
- If you have outside taps, then make sure they are insulated to avoid frozen pipes which will cause damage. Any existing installation should be checked and repaired if necessary, and if none exists, then take the time to do that.
- Check your greenhouse for general maintenance such as cracked windows, sticking doors etc. Also make sure your greenhouse heater is working
- This is a great month to clean, oil and sharpen tools - Check electrical leads for damage, clean and sharpen tools such as shears secateurs, loppers and pruners
- Check garages, sheds, greenhouses for mice, as at this time of the year they like to come inside for heat
- If you like to feed the birds, this is a great time to do that. At this time of the year birds need fresh water. You can also install or top up bird feeders. This is also a good time to clean existing bird feeders and then re-stock them
- If the winter is "mild", then you can continue to cut your lawn.
- You can still plant some winter vegetables (see below)
- Order your seed catalogue
- You can prune apple and pear trees
- This is also a good month for general garden maintenance such as sweeping or raking up leaves and any garden debris. We also like to check the condition of paths, fences, driveways, garden seats, decking and make sure they are all in good condition. It is not too late to treat any of those and help protect them for the cold months ahead
- Clear ice from garden ponds as that can help fish get the oxygen they really need.
- This is a good month to improve your soil, by adding something like a peat compost in alkaline soils, or hydrated lime in sandy soils
The UK Flower Garden
Avoid walking on lawns if they have frost on them as that will damage the grass. Keep the blades on a high setting to keep a nice thick layer of grass.
This can also be a fun month to create indoor displays of flowers and berries. Berries look great and festive and act as a great substitute for cut flowers in the winter.
This is a good month to cut back perennials and to remove all annuals. You can also start to remove any unwanted plants.
You can plant tulips and any bare root shrubs.
The Vegetable Garden
You can sow mustard and cress seeds, which cultivate quite quickly. These grow best in a greenhouse, but they can also be grown indoors on a windowsill.
You can still plant broad beans, onions and certain types of winter lettuce. If doing those from seed, they will need to be started in a propagator, or a well heated greenhouse. It is also possible to grow them outside under a cloche. Make sure however to protect these from both birds and mice.
The Fruit Garden
You can prune apple and pear trees. Other than that, there is really not that much to do when it comes to growing fruit in your garden. It is a good time to improve the soil quality.
December Garden Summary
As you can see there is plenty to be getting on with. It is a good time to check guttering and remove any dead leaves etc from those.
If you have a greenhouse, this is a good time to do a general clean up, and make sure the greenhouse is well ventilated. Cold moist air can quickly lead to various types of fungal disease. There is a balance to be achieved between the circulation of air and avoiding any type of hard frost.