What To Do In the Kitchen Garden In December

When I first started to grow vegetables I really needed the information to be in one place, so I could look it up easily. However, I found I had to search for lots of little bits of information, scattered between internet sites and books. It used to take me a long time to find the information I needed.

I thought it would be useful to have this information altogether in one place. So for the benefit of the UK gardeners, I write a list of things to be done each month and any useful information I can think of.

It is worth remembering that different parts of the UK have different weather conditions e.g. the last frost is expected earlier in the south than the north. Therefore, this is a general guide.

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December:

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Vegetables and salads to harvest:

Brussels, kale, cabbages, parsnips, celeriac, leeks, cauliflowers, swedes, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, winter radish, hardy lettuces, corn salad, land cress and winter purslane.

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Vegetables and salads to sow:

Garlic can be planted in milder areas if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.

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Things to plant (if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged):

Rhubarb can be divided now and replanted and bare rooted fruit trees and bushes can be planted now.

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Jobs to do:

Carry on with your winter digging providing the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.

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Dig in manure and compost to areas where it is needed, to enrich the soil.

Continue to collect fallen leaves to make leaf mould.

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Lift root vegetables for winter storage.

Cover beds with black plastic to suppress weeds and help to warm your soil ready for early crops next year e.g. shallots.

Have a general tidy up of your allotment shed.

Continue to prune fruit trees and bushes (except cherries and plums) unless the weather has turned very cold.

Don’t forget to feed the birds and top up water for them to drink.

Keep removing any yellow fallen leaves around your brassicas as these can harbor pests.

Order any seeds for the coming year and plan next year’s crop rotation.

Earth up brussel sprout stems if they have become unsteady.

Check to make sure your nets are secure, to stop pigeons from eating your brassicas.

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Weed and mulch around established fruit trees.

Prune grapevines now the leaves have fallen and before the sap starts to rise again.

Clean and sharpen your tools.

Check tree ties and supporting wires around your plot.

Continue to fill your runnerbean trenches with old peelings.

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Check the fruit and vegetables that you have stored.  Remember that one bad fruit or vegetable can destroy the whole crop if you don’t remove it quick enough.

Bullfinches love the newly forming buds, especially on gooseberries, apple, pears and plums.  If you have had a problem in the past then nets are the only solution.

If you have peaches and nectarines, spray with a copper fungicide to protect them against peach leaf curl and erect a rain proof cover over them to stop the rain from spreading the spores.

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December pests and diseases:

Mice and rats love to dig up and eat newly planted broad beans and garlic.

Slugs can still be a problem even in December.

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I hope this information has been helpful.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

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13 thoughts on “What To Do In the Kitchen Garden In December

  1. I do a similar thing on the website that I have created to help schools with gardening project.
    I also keep a monthly diary on my gardening website. I find that I look over the things that I did in previous years to compare what I am doing and how things are growing. These are separate from my blog

    • It’s really useful information to keep isn’t it. It’s great you help schools with their gardening projects. I used to take a group of children once a week to a school allotment to help them plant etc, but sadly they gave the allotment up as it was getting too hard for the teachers to take the children each week, which was a real shame.

      • I used to be a primary teacher and then I was an ICT consultant helping primary schools use computers in the classroom so I sort of combined all my skills. With the pressures on the curriculum I can understand the struggle to keep their gardening going but many schools manage it with volunteer help. To my mind learning to garden and cook is far more important than some of the compulsory parts of the curriculum.

  2. I’ve never heard of putting peelings in the bean trenches?! I love your list, it’s so easy to read. It does remind me though that I have a lot to do tomorrow!!! Here’s hoping it’s a nice day 🙂

    • This has been done for years by the ‘old allotment boys’. The peelings rot down over time and they hold the moisture in the soil, which is what the beans love. This year it wouldn’t have made a difference as it was so wet, but on a dry year it is a very useful thing to do.

      • I like the sound of it! Apparently putting your peelings into some kind of wire cage & burying that in your potato patch diverts the wireworms and other creatures away from eating your spuds. I’ve still not tried this, but I really should, my spuds always get eaten the longer they stay in.

      • I will definitely try it this year and let you know. Adam had a go last year and buried what I thought was peelings in those mesh bags you get packs of oranges and lemons in. However, he did this before I’d even planted my potatoes (maybe he thought it would be a warning or a trap?) so when I pulled them up to dig my trenches I also realised that he’d put whole potatoes in there and not peelings!! They were just rock hard and growing eyes! Not quite the right idea! However, those plastic mesh bags could still be a good idea in terms of containing the peelings.

      • Adam is really helpful at the allotment and he absolutely loves it up there. I need to do a before/after we got together because he dramatically improved the place. So much so the other plotters started calling it Adam’s plot!! I was horrified, but he has done wonders and does love being there so I should count my blessings! They’re not all like that are they!

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