Can you really do things in northern gardens this month? Sure – if you want! Here is a short checklist of December garden chores to guide you, including tasks for fruit and vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and basic lawn and landscaping.
It’s a short month for most of us in the way of garden chores, though in the south there’s some preparation for planting already, isn’t there? With the holidays taking most of my energy, I’m actually happy for the break from most of the garden’s major chores, aren’t you?
This month is mainly about checking to make sure everything is okay, cleaning up from any wind storms – and of course clipping evergreens to decorate with.
This is actually a good thing, as it gives the evergreens a bit of a pruning (nothing hard, though) of longer branches that might suffer snow damage later on. Both boxwood and arborvitae really benefit from winter pruning and they tend to stay greener inside longer than fir or pine branches.
Want all my best vegetable gardening tips and techniques to keep it simple and manageable? (Yes, it CAN be done!) Then grab my ebook, Vegetable Gardening The Easy Way, and you’ll be on your way to growing your own food without all the backbreaking work. TIP: This makes a great gift for the gardeners in your life!
Garden Chores by Month: December
Vegetable & Fruit Garden
- Turn compost pile with new additions of leaves, decorative pumpkins, and frost-bitten plant stems.
- Check for harvestable produce like kale, cabbage, and any greens grown under cover.
- Monitor vegetable coverings, making sure before any deep freezes that they are secure.
- Spread wood ashes (no more than 1.5 pounds/100 sq. ft. a year, though). See more about using ashes in the garden safely here.
- Use organic dormant sprays on fruit trees, if you spray.
- If using leaves as a mulch, run through a lawn mower first to shred a bit, then apply to dormant vegetable beds.
- Keep deadheading frost-killed perennials and shrubs as needed.
- Monitor leaves and/or mulch around the base of trees and shrubs – they might harbor rodents who can damage the trunks.
- Protect any new landscape plants from wind and snow (wrap with burlap).
- Check plants under eaves for dryness and water if needed.
- Make holiday decorations from trees and shrubs.
- Pot up paperwhites.
- Stay off grass whenever it’s frozen.
- Service the lawnmower, if needed.
- Check any vegetables and bulbs that are in storage, use or dispose of those starting to rot.
- Water and fertilize house plants less in the winter.
- Seed catalogs begin arriving this month. Set aside until after the holidays, then start making your wish lists! Here are some of my favorites if you want to get on their lists. Catalogues provide a great education in various types of plants.
Note: This December garden chores list is not comprehensive by any means, but meant to provide a jumping-off point to organizing your garden chores. Feel free to print the list and add any of your own specific chores to the sections.
Need more easy gardening tips?
- Organic Vegetable Gardening 101
- How to Plant a Garden the Easy Care Way
- 5 Steps to Take Now For Your Best Garden Ever (with Free Printables!)
Make This Year's Garden A Success!