DECEMBER: What to Do in the Garden
In the Edible Garden
- Cover strawberries with straw after the ground freezes.
- Create a journal to record what worked in '07. Be specific about varieties that performed well. If possible, record soil amendments to track how beds perform next year.
- Seed catalogues begin arriving late this month. If you're not on a list, here are two you can't live without: Burpee and Park Seed. Both are free. For a Midwest source, order from Jung Seed of Randolph, Wis. Their $3 fee is refundable with an order.
- Organize leftover seeds, discard packets that are empty or nearly so.
In the Ornamental Garden
- Plan a backyard wildlife habitat.
- Protect newly planted broadleaf evergreens such as azaleas, boxwood and hollies with a burlap screen. Set screen stakes in ground before the ground freezes.
- Protect newly planted trees from gnawing by rabbits and mice. Put a loose cylinder of hardware cloth or poultry wire around the trunk base.
- Winterize all power equipment before storage.
- Move stone statuary indoors to prevent frost cracks.
- Feed the birds.
- Mulch to keep cold in once soil freezes. This includes roses and perennials. Use chicken wire cages to contain shredded leaves in windy locations.
- Continue to plant bulbs until the soil freezes solid.
- Remove leaves from gutters and roof surfaces to avoid ice dams later. A blower works well on dry leaves.
In the Indoor Garden
- Reduce or eliminate fertilizer for houseplants until spring.
- Keep succulents and cacti on the dry side.Try indoor worm composting. Great for kids!
- Make a Christmas candle arrangement.
- Amaryllis stems bend toward light. Turn the plant frequently to keep it growing straight.
- Keep poinsettias in a bright, non-drafty location. Check moisture frequently; do not allow to dry out.
- Punch holes for drainage in decorative foil used to wrap pots of flowering plants.
- If you use live mistletoe, keep it away from pets and children-all parts are poisonous.