With Christmas just around the corner, a lot of us may not be putting garden care at the top of our agendas, but at this time of year it really is an important time to be tending to your much loved outdoor space. Gardening in December can mean working in some very cold temperatures, and with the shortest day of the year creeping up this month, now is a good time to be getting back into the outdoors and making the most of daylight hours. Getting your green fingers busy this month can not only be a fantastic way to help keep your garden in tip top shape throughout the year, it can also be very enjoyable. Working up a sweat with some good old fashioned digging, clearing or tree pruning will have you feeling warmer in no time, and could even help to keep the waistline in check over the festive period. So if you are thinking about spending even just a little time in your garden this December, why not have a read of our top gardening tips for this month to help spark a little inspiration.
The harsh cold weather that winter brings, makes having a fairly robust gardening plan for December an essential for any keen gardener, especially when it comes to pruning. Winter pruning can come in many different shapes and forms, and can keep you busy for a large part of the month depending on the garden. If you are a fan of growing your own fruit, then now is the time to be paying particular attention to any openly growing apples and pear trees, which will require some careful pruning. If however your garden is lucky enough to be filled with beautiful birches, acers or vines then it is very important to keep these fantastic features well pruned throughout the winter months. Carrying out this type of gardening work before Christmas can in many cases, help to avoid bleeding which is something that any gardener will want to avoid this month.
Turn Up The Heat
For any gardeners out there who are also the proud owners of a garden greenhouse, December is the time to be carefully checking that all greenhouse heaters are in full working order. Now this could be the operation and maintenance of electronically-run systems such as fan heaters, but it could also be the general upkeep of any insulation layers that have been attached to doors, walls or windows. Keeping greenhouse heaters in full working order throughout the winter is incredibly important for crop growth and overall health, too cold and plants will suffer meaning that hard work throughout the year could be at a very real risk. Of course it is also important that heaters are not turned up too high to overcompensate for the colder temperatures as this can of course, be just as detrimental to crop growth. If possible, it is a good idea to try and look into any greenhouse maintenance work early on in the month, before the (very many) festive distractions begin to take hold.
Harvesting and Planting
Many gardeners love nothing more than to grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs and December is actually a fantastic time to be thinking about harvesting some of these fantastic crops. Harvesting in December is primarily centred around hardy winter vegetables such as winter cabbage, parsnips, sprouts and any other root vegetables that might be showing their beautiful colours. If you are interested in introducing some beautiful new plants or trees to your garden, this month is a good time to be planting deciduous shrubs and trees, especially before the new year frosts begin to set in. December is also a great time of year to be injecting some new and sensual life into your garden, these can be the more fragrant winter plant such as Daphne, Cornus and Christmas Box. A little green-fingered energy now, even in the chilly temperatures really can help to turn your winter garden around, giving you a new and exciting outdoor space to enjoy a warming drink or two.
In December it is fairly inevitable that the weather will be far from friendly, and so it is important this month to seek out every nook and cranny in the garden for any sign of features or fixtures than might need a little extra help through the winter. If you do have any outdoor taps, it can be a good idea to affix some form of insulation inorder to help prevent them freezing up when any particularly cold patches or frosts hit. Similarly if you have any water features or ponds in your garden, then it may be very well worth installing a form of cover or heating system to prevent unwanted damage occurring. If you already have any winter protection structures in place, December is a good time to pop out into the garden and just double check that they are all still in good working order to ensure they are able to withstand the winter months. One other area of winter protection that is worth paying attention to this month, is the general clearance of garden paths from slippery leaves or moss. Heavy rain and cold frosts can make rocks and pathways and driveways incredibly slippery, so taking a little time to carefully clear these areas could well help prevent any unwanted accidents over the festive period.
Wildlife and Pests
It may not have seemed one of the most obvious forms of garden pest control, but keeping birds active is a great way to keep your garden protected, especially when using high quality feed inorder to attract them to your garden. Another effective gardening trick in this area is to take a shovel or spade to any bare soil in the garden to uncover any lingering soil pests. For greenhouse owners hoping to grow the perfect crop this year, it is important to protect against overwintering insects such as red spider mite. This doesn't have to be a huge task, purchasing some good quality glasshouse fumigator could just be one of the best gardening investments you make this year. If you are an avid crop grower and tend to store your harvested crops and produce outside, it might be that you encounter a few problems with mice as they can be attracted to these types of items. It may be worthwhile finding some alternative storage solutions this month, whether that be indoors or within carefully contained or locked garden buildings such as sheds, greenhouses, garages or summerhouses. Winter moth damage can cause havoc on gardens if not carefully managed, so one thing you can do this month is apply some form of grease brands or fruit tree grease for those hoping to grow their own. This fairly simple task requires minimal effort and really can help make a huge difference to your winter garden this year.
December at Tates of Sussex Gardening Centres
Here at Tates of Sussex we are more than just a garden centre, infact our team of green-fingered enthusiasts have years of experience in all things gardening, going beyond most gardening centers to offer our customers a range of services and guidance. This December our team of gardening experts are excited to welcome the arrival of the festive period with you, whether that be caring for cut christmas trees or providing a few extra tips on keeping potted and container grown christmas trees. Across our centres we have a number of exciting festive events and activities taking place for all of the family to get involved with. At the Old Barn Garden Centre children and adults alike can book to have breakfast with Santa which includes not only a delicious breakfast but also a festive craft activity to get your creative juices flowing. If you are looking for a little festive magic, you can also purchase a ticket to visit Santa’s enchanted forest at the Old Barn Gardening Centre. Thanks to the Budding Foundation Charity, visitors can discover a magical christmas themed forest, which includes a number of exciting activities before meeting Santa and receiving a gift. Whilst at South Downs Nursery visitors can experience the magic of Santa’s toy factory, this truly magical experience is operated by The Budding Foundation Charity and tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid disappointment. Here at Tates of Sussex Gardening Centres we stock a range of gardening products and our friendly team are on hand to provide useful gardening tips to help get you going. If you would like any further advice with your gardening needs please do not hesitate to get in touch and a member of our friendly staff will be more than happy to speak with you.