December Garden and Greenhouse Ramblings


In the garden this month... 

The month of December has started off frosty, yet sunny, here on the west cost.

The garden beds all have a good thick crusty frost layer ... which means no fresh garden veggies till the rains return to thaw it out.

Though, if one were to get really desperate for a carrot or maybe a parsnip, my trusty garden fork easily lifts and breaks up the frost layer.



What to do in the garden ...

- Prune tree form roses to prevent breakage should we get some snow. The heavy snow will make your standard stem bow with the weight, and may snap it in half.

The rose in the picture above is a Hybrid Tea Standard called Double Delight. I cut it back quite severely once or even twice a year to promote a flush of new growth in spring with lots of gorgeous blooms on nice, long, stems.

Weeping tree form roses need just a trim ..snip off any criss-crossing branches, inward facing branches, and the 3d's - dead, damaged, or diseased wood.  

- Prune your shrub roses, too, to about 12" high. Spray them with horticultural oil and lime sulpher mix (Dormant Spray) to kill overwintering pests and diseases. This will help to prevent black spot in summer, too. Mulch up around any roses tender and 'iffy' for our area.


 
  This Dormant Spray Kit can be purchased at any garden centre or hardware shop.
Is super important to use this on your fruit trees and roses, as well as many other shrubs, 
 free of insects, fungal issues, and disease.  

Pic from wildernesscollege.com

- Prune fruit trees when they have lost all their leaves. Spray with horticultural oil and lime sulpher mix (Dormant Spray) to kill overwintering pests and diseases.

Bare root fruit tree pic from starkbros.com

- Plant new fruit trees and fruiting shrubs.
This is on our agenda this Christmas time at the Nitty Gritty, as I just got word that our bare root fruit trees are in! Here come the fruits!

Looks like hubby and I are getting each other trees, good soil ..and more work for Christmas ; )

Garlic is up!
- The garlic is sprouting ...  and so are the weeds! Run a hoe through any weeds sprouting in your garden beds now. 

- Use frost blankets, make cold frames., low tunnels or hoop houses to cover your less hardy winter crops, like lettuce, and spinach ... though even your leeks, parsnips, broccoli raab, etc.. will all thrive better in a covered bed.


Start a trench in your garden for your compostables. Plant your peas and.beans in this trench in spring.

Our wee Penelope puppy amongst some of the Brussels sprouts.

- This is a great, time of year to test and amend your garden soil. The amendments, even hot manure, will have time to break down so that your garden is ready to plant up in spring, no waiting required.

- Top dress your beds with manure or compost. Dig in lightly or let the worms do the work for you.   


 Dianthus (Sweet William) 

- Plant cold tolerant perennial seeds, esp those that tend to need cold stratification, like dianthus, lupines, columbines...

- Many seed companies have sales on at this time of year, plus combo gift packs which combine all kinds of seeds for really great deals. Order now to save.  



- Rake, chop, and collect your leaves for making leaf mould. Will make for a fabulous mulch to put around your veggies, flowers, and strawberries, too.


In the greenhouse...

- Hang yellow sticky traps in the greenhouse to monitor pests. Spray with insecticidal soap once a week for at least 3 weeks in a row, if you suspect any problems.

- Ventilate... Open doors and windows to air out the greenhouse and clear up any condensation.

- Dead head all spent flowers and dead foliage to prevent fungal issues or disease. I remove anything that looks yellow, curling, or somehow suspect immediately!

-Water only when things are dry to prevent mould, stem rot, and root rot. Plants are not actively growing right now so require just the most minimum of watering. 
 

- Start some paperwhites to bring indoors for blooms and fragrance over the holidays. 


- Paperwhites may be started in jars or vases with a bit of stones or marbles at the bottom.
Add water to just below the top of the stones, place bulb on top of the stones. They can also be potted up into an indoor potting mix but I love the look of the roots in clear vases.


The paperwhite bulb (or hyacinth, or amaryllis) will send roots down into the rocks to access the water.


Wishing you all a really great December!

See you soon with my yard and garden predictions for 2015!

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