December is a great month to finish tidying, tackle repairs to structures and generally plan and look forward to the coming growing season!
Some jobs for December:
- Spread a thick layer of well-rotted manure or fresh compost on empty beds – feed your soil!
- Harvest Brussels sprouts from the bottom up
- Harvest parsnips after a hard frost, they’ll be sweeter for it
- Plant garlic if you can work the soil, otherwise use small pots and plant out once rooted
- Drool at seed catalogues and plan your veg planting for next year
Fading light conditions can make time for the garden almost impossible if you’re busy, now is the time to get motivated to put the garden to bed for the winter. However, there are planting possibilities for milder areas of the UK to be getting on with. It’s well worth removing weeds and spreading manure or organic compost if you can. Being productive now should save time come spring – and your soil will love you for it.
Some jobs for November:
- Make a leaf bin and start collecting fallen leaves to make leaf mould
- Plant autumn garlic and winter onion sets
- Prune apple and pear trees
- Prune soft fruit bushes
- Cover frost tender plants at night with horticultural fleece, don’t forget greenhouse plants!
- Plant new bare-root fruit trees, bushes and canes
- Make a note of what your grew and where, include successes and failures – it will help you plan crop rotation for next year
- Continue tidying and harvesting the last crops
- Rhubarb is now dormant, propagate established plants or plant new sets
- Sow hardy broad beans (Aquadulce Claudia) and peas (Meteor) for an early crop late spring
- Make or buy bug boxes or ‘hotels’ to help beneficial insects survive the winter
- Check water butts/barrels and drain if necessary
- Remove fallen leaves from the surface of wildlife ponds
- Plant spring bulbs for a splash of colour
- Order seed catalogues
- Don’t forget to bring frost tender potted plants inside before the first frost arrives!