Well the weather outside is frightful…but at least there isn’t too much to do in the kitchen garden or on your allotment in December. Growing conditions are getting cooler and darker in the UK this month, which slows everything down, although there’s a bit of prep you can do now to get ahead for next season.
There are a few seeds you might like to sow in a December kitchen garden, and one or two simple tasks to complete, and once that’s out of the way you can head right back indoors and put the kettle on.
Here’s this month’s relatively short to-do list:
What to sow in December
There’s not much to sow outdoors this month, and apart from garlic and rhubarb it all needs to be sown under cover. Otherwise, just wait until early next year to start the seeds off.
- Coriander (under cover)
- Sets of winter-hardy onions and shallots (under cover)
- Pak choi, mizuna and other stir-fry greens (under cover)
- Peas (hardy types, mild areas only)
- Rhubarb crowns (if the ground is not frozen)
- Rocket (under cover)
- Winter mustards (under cover)
- Baby leaf salad (bright, cool windowsill)
- Bean sprouts and other sprouting seeds
- Herbs (parsley, chives, coriander, dill, leaf celery)
- Mustard and cress
- Pea shoots and microgreens
December to do list
If you kept on top of your garden jobs in October and November then there are very few things to do this month. You can put your feet up this December and decide what to grow next year.
Care of vegetables in December
- Check stored onions and roots for signs of rot
- Force Whitloof chicory roots
- Net brassicas and remove any yellowed leaves
- Plant winter alliums (onions, shallots, garlic)
- Protect broad beans and winter salad with fleece
Care of fruit in December
- Check stored apples and pears for signs of rot
- Plant trees, bushes and rhubarb if the ground isn’t frozen
- Prune dormant trees and vines
General garden jobs to do in December
- Decide what to grow next year
- Order seeds and seed potatoes
- Prepare soil, if not already done
- Tool care and general tidying
- Clean seed trays and pots
I freely admit that I hardly do any gardening in December or January, but I will be cutting back my autumn raspberries, pruning our cherry tree, and sowing some stir fry greens, rocket and winter mustards under a cloche in the next couple of days. Then the most strenuous thing I’ll be doing for the next few weeks will be looking through the 2019 seed catalogues, and dreaming about the Spring.
Will you be doing any gardening this month? What are you thinking about growing next year?