EVEN THOUGH DECEMBER MARKS THE END OF THE YEAR, THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF GARDENING CHORES TO WORK ON
December marks the end of our calendar year and the beginning of winter. Winter officially starts on Thursday, December 21. It looks as though we will finish the year in a rain deficit. This is not a good thing. But we have been this way before. Thank goodness we got around 2 inches of rain Thanksgiving week, which was much needed. And, then we got some rain on the first of December. We are now close to 7 inches below average for the year. We all need to be mindful of this lack of rainfall. WE NEVER WANT ANY OF OUR PLANTS TO BE DRY GOING INTO ANY COLD SPELLS. Yes, we may not need to water as often as we did a few months ago. We need to be sure to water slowly and deeply when we do water so that the entire root system of the plants gets the water. And, since we are cooler and most of our plants are now in a non-growing dormant state, we should only have to water once or twice a week.
I do want to share a number with you. As of December 1st, our soil temperature is still at 43 degrees. This soil temperature allows us to still plant perennials, shrubs and trees now. So, don’t think that it is too late to be planting.
‘Tis the pruning season for many of our shrubs and trees such as boxwoods, hollies, spruce, cedars, cypress, magnolia, and others. When pruning, think about using some of these fresh cuttings for holiday decorating in the house. It can be fun and exciting. I did a blog a few weeks ago on treating ourselves with a little “outdoor” greens inside our homes to help us with our depression as we spend more time indoors than outside in our gardens.
Avoid placing fresh evergreens directly on furniture. Use a cloth or a plate under your arrangement to protect your furniture. Sap from the branches may take off the finish on wooden surfaces.
I mentioned the importance of watering. This holds with our outdoor container gardens. Get into the habit of checking for watering needs since container gardens will dry out quicker than plants in the ground. The most important thing you can do, above all, is water! Watering in December and winter is critical to preventing the winter desiccation that may not show up until February when your plant starts looking stressed and declining instead of showing signs of wanting to grow.
Let’s all remember that we live with nature, and birds need our help with food, water, and shelter during the winter months. If you are using a cut Christmas tree for the holiday season and when it is over – DON’T TRASH IT. Instead, think about placing your Christmas tree in your landscape or wooded area. Birds and other animals could use this tree for cover and protection in the winter.
If you still have not finished planting bulbs. Not to worry. Now is an excellent time to plant those daffodils, crocus, tulips bulbs. They need to be planted. Enjoy your gardening days in December. It is suitable for our physical and mental health to be outside with nature.
ALL OF US AT THE GREAT BIG GREENHOUSE & MEADOWS FARMS NURSERIES WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY A JOYOUS HOLIDAY SEASON