Osmocote Advertisement

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.

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
-Select-
Hope Springs Eternal

"Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to another season of exciting action! I’m Bud Blast–“ “–And I’m Hort Holler–“ “And ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2015

Illinois is an agricultural state. We all know that, right? But did you also know that Illinois imports 90 percent of its food


Article Thumbnail
Columns
10 Years After

I’m not sure whether I should be celebrating or apologizing. Let me explain. The 700 or so words on this page mark my tenth ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Take A Hint. Or Not.

One of the great things about being a columnist is that when you run out of ideas you can steal them from other people.


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Tough Love

The day we brought her home from the nursery, we were the proudest parents on the block. We hadn’t always wanted one.


questions

I have two strawberry plants in a hanging basket in my yard. I have not had any fruit from them although the vines hang down. I give them plant food once a month and water daily. What am I doing wrong?

We are first-time gardeners and have planted Brussels sprouts and green and red cabbage that we are trying to grow organically. There are black egg sacs and small green worms eating the leaves. Is there an organic product we can use on the cabbage?

What is the largest tree that one can plant? We are trying to replace some 7- to 8-foot trees that were recently destroyed.

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement