It’s December! But your garden chores are not yet done. The following is a quick list of things to do in your garden this month.
Put away your garden tools and hoses. You should do the same with large pots and garden accessories like statues. (Read: Tips for Cleaning Your Garden Tools Organically)
Empty any clay, cast stone or ceramic pots of soil which will freeze, expand and cause the pots to crack during the winter.
Any container that must remain outdoors should be covered to keep snow and ice from accumulating inside.
You can prune the tips of evergreens such as pines, cedars and holly species for indoor decorations this Christmas. Put off heavy pruning until late winter.
Keep on mulching around your landscape plants to help them through the winter.
Before putting away your lawn mower and other power tools, empty the fuel tank first.
Any garden waste that may have disease or insects should be disposed of properly and not included in the compost bin or pile.
Vegetables, Herbs & Fruits
Outdoor gardening season may be over but there are herbs you can grow indoors. (Read: 12 Herbs to Grow Indoors in the Winter) Growing herbs indoors will ensure you get fresh herbs for your winter cooking.
Start ordering fruit trees adapted to your area as early as now.
Perennials & Bulbs
Remove the dead tops of perennials but leave those that provide nourishment to wildlife.
Once the ground has frozen, mulch around perennials.
Any potted bulbs (i.e. tulips, hyacinths, daffodils), make sure they remain moist and in the dark until their roots have established. Once they have filled their containers with roots and new top growth has started, bring them indoors and set them somewhere that is cool and where there is indirect light. You can move them into bright light after a week or so and you can watch as they start to bloom.
Trees & Shrubs
Tamp the snow around young fruit trees to prevent mice from tunneling under the snow.
Remove heavy snow from evergreen shrubs to unburden the branches and keep them from breaking.
Don’t forget to water in the winter. If the ground is not frozen, give newly planted evergreens a thorough soaking. Plants and shrubs that are growing under eaves or under evergreens should also be watered to keep them from drying out. Many plants die due to lack of water in the winter.
Most shrubs and trees can be pruned starting from December to March. Roses must be pruned in mid-February. Spiraea, azaleas and other Spring-blooming shrubs should be pruned only after they flower in Spring.
When watering indoor plants, water the soil instead of the foliage.
Leaves of indoor plants, especially large leafed ones like rubber plants and philodendrons tend to be grimy. Clean the leaves and help the plants breathe better by gently washing the foliage on both sides with a sponge dipped in soapy water.
Other plants with non-glossy or fuzzy, textured leaves can be cleaned by setting them in the sink and spraying the foliage gently with room temp water. Let the foliage to dry completely.
Group your plants together to give them extra humidity. You can also set pots on leak proof trays filled with moistened pebbles.
Poinsettias like it cool. Keep them in natural lighting whenever possible and away from heat sources and drafts.
Spider mites may be a problem if you have indoor plants because these little creatures thrive in the warm and dry environment indoors. Check for spider mites by closely inspecting the base of stems, the underside of leaves and new buds. If you spot fine webbing, you have spider mite problem. Wash off the mites by setting up the plant in the shower. Small plants can simply be swished around upside down in a sink filled with soapy water.