What's happening in the garden now...

The page below lists the various tasks that Ben and the team will be completing in the garden this month. Split into four main sections the lists will hopefully help you structure​ and plan your own gardening work schedule...  so lets get busy

 

December 2021:

 

As the nights grow longer the temperatures begin to drop. A quiet stillness falls over the garden, though broken in the morning with the rise of the sun and a need to get on.  Cutting back, pruning, training and tidying are all essentials whilst preparing for next year’s growing season. If you can’t face being outside then delve into a plant catalogue or gardening book for next year’s inspiration. Keep warm and motivated this month with numerous mugs of tea and coffee, as well as the odd tasting of Sloe Gin!

General:

Green House:

Production:

Borders:

If weather permits, complete bulb planting for next year’s spring displays; grow in pots and containers if soil conditions do not suit.

 

If you are not going to prune your roses now, reduce leggy growth to avoid damage by strong winds on blustery days.

 

Catalogue or list all collected seed so that you know what you may need to order before next year’s season begins.

 

Sort through last year’s leaf mould pile, applying it to parts of the garden where soil needs nourishing and improving.  

 

Rake, weed and tidy paths to give the garden an instant ‘pick me up’.

 

Avoid walking on lawns when either waterlogged or covered in frost, helping to prevent compaction and damage to the grass.

 

Wash and clean any pots that are not in use and to be stored over winter, reducing the risk of future pest and disease problems whilst ensuring you are ready when spring arrives.

 

Be mindful of pigeons, mice or slugs that may cause damage to crops, either still in the ground or in storage.

 

Check over plants that have been recently planted after heavy frosts, ensuring that they have not lifted up during the freezing conditions. If a problem simply firm surrounding soil once temperatures have risen.

 

Keep a very watchful eye out for Box Blight, as it is most prevalent during cold and wet weather.

 

Clear, tidy and organise sheds and storage buildings, packing away growing/protection structures for next year.

 

Check and clear gutters and drainage channels to avoid blockages and flood damage.

 

Make lists of, source and order any additional trees and shrubs that you may wish to plant soon or early next spring.

 

Clean stone, brick and wooden surfaces that may have become slippery. 

 

Remove fallen leaves and debris from turf and meadow areas to prevent damage and enrichment of the sward.

 

Take stock of your garden, review the year and think about future maintenance plans and improvements that you may wish to do before the next growing season takes hold.

 

Check pots and pipes for frost damage as night temperatures reach freezing, a simple wrap of hessian or burlap can offer protection and will sit comfortably in the garden setting.

Apply secondary insulation to growing structures, helping to reduce heat loss and heating costs during the colder months.

 

Grow on winter salad crops under glass, ensuring a good supply over the winter months. Sowings of pea shoots and micro greens can still be completed and cut to enhance your established salad leaves. 

 

Harvest the last of Chillies and Peppers, before clearing away to make room for growing new plants in spring.

 

Lightly trim excessive new growth on newly potted plants to encourage a future bushy habit, whilst improving light and air circulation.

 

Set sticky traps for monitoring and controlling over-wintering colonies of sciarid and whitefly. If temperatures are warm enough treat with biological control.

 

If not already completed, clean the outside glazing, removing old shading and algae to make the most of the reduced day length and light levels.

 

Continue to force bulbs for Christmas and the winter period, growing on in pots inside to make the most of the warmer conditions.

 

Clean and tidy any indoor plants, removing dead leaves and trimming back to create space and improve light, while reducing opportunities for pests and diseases to establish.

 

Continue growing and cutting any Chrysanthemums which may still be flowering.

 

Keep a watchful eye out for red spider mite infestations, which will appreciate the dry warmth of a greenhouse heater.

 

Evaluate this year’s pest and disease problems, research and plan for prevention next year exploring how, when and where biological controls can be used.

Clean Dahlia tubers removing the worst of the soil and any rotten material, before placing them somewhere cool and dry over winter.

 

Protect harvested pumpkins, squashes and gourds from frost by storing them somewhere cool and dry and out of direct sunlight.

 

Keep vegetable patches weed free to avoid creating a ‘weed seed bank’. Beds can be mulched with compost during mild periods of weather.

 

Remove, label and store any protection nets and growing structures that are not in use. It pays to be organised and label items so that they are easy to find next spring.

 

Grow on pots of herbs in the glass house to ensure a fresh supply for as long as possible.

 

Check on stored fruit and vegetables, removing any rotten or damaged ones to prevent others from being infected.

 

Plant any new additions to the fruit collection, research into rootstocks, pollination groups and varieties before ordering and planting during the dormant winter season.

 

Tie in new canes of vigorous Blackberry and other Hybrid Berries, along with early Raspberries to prevent snapping and damage, removing any old dead canes that have already borne fruit this year.

 

Lift, clean and store carrots, disposing of any that have Root Fly damage to prevent overwintering of the pest.

 

Finish cleaning and packing any collected seed from cut flower annuals and biennials. Label and store in a cool dry place protected from rodents.

 

Lift potatoes if slug damage is a problem, roughly clean and store in a cool dry place for using through winter.

Prune or tie in excessive growth on Roses to prevent damage caused by strong winds.

 

Clear and tidy borders that are planted with early spring bulbs, so that they are visible and look their best in the months to come.

 

Lift and divide any hardy perennials that you do not wish to do in spring, providing local weather and soil conditions permit.

 

Remove any old and untidy leaves on Hellebores and early flowering Primula species, to maintain health and ensure that the early flowers can be clearly seen.

 

Cut back any untidy herbaceous that you may not wish to leave standing tell spring.

 

Plant out any biennial or perennial plants that have been propagated and grown on outside during the year.

 

If conditions are mild, mulch woodland borders with leaf mould after removing weeds and this year’s fallen leaves.

 

List and source additional plants for borders that need renovating and improving.

 

Grub out any brambles or perennial weeds that may have sneaked into the borders whilst your back was turned during the busy summer months.

 

List, source and order material that will be used for constructing supports and staking perennials in the borders next year.

 

Prune late season flowering shrubs to maintain health and vigor, promote flowering and restrict size.

 

Complete planting of any spring bulbs: alliums, crocus and narcissus should’ve already been planted, while tulips can be pushed back a little later towards the end of this month.

 

Take time to look over the borders in detail, making a note of what has worked well and where improvement is required. These notes will be of great use later, when deciding on future maintenance, improvements and additions.

For day-to-day and weekly updates of what is happening in the garden follow Ben on Instagram or Twitter using the links below. Alternatively, check out his Blog.