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.
Rain and wind are common in December and there is usually only a few days with some sun. There are plenty of frosts and fog can occur when the wind drops.
It is said that cold setting in at the end of December can indicate a long hard winter, however a cold period at the beginning of the month rarely lasts.
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.
Vegetables and salads to sow or plant:
Winter hardy broadbeans can be sown undercover and garlic can be planted in milder areas 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 if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.
Jobs to do:
Carry on with your winter digging providing the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.
Dig in manure and compost to areas where it is needed, to enrich the soil.
Continue to collect fallen leaves to make leaf mould.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hope this information has been helpful.
Thank you for reading my blog today.