December Garden Checklist

Published on NewsOK Published: November 28, 2013
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Potting up amaryllis and paperwhites for winter forcing.  Photo: Barb Rosen/HometalkHard to believe it, but yes, November is almost over, and it's time to start thinking about garden chores for December. While the weather may be ramping up, that doesn't mean you can slack around the house and admire your newly-installed Chicago foyer tile -- but fortunately, you don't need to do a whole lot in the garden to get it locked down for winter. Just make sure to budget a bit of time every week so you can take care of things before the snow or rains roll in.

Take stock

December is a good month for internal reflection, but it's also the time to think about the garden. What worked or didn't work this year? What did you learn? Hopefully you've been keeping a gardening notebook or journal so you have information about what you planted, when, and how it fared. Think ahead about plants that need to be moved -- or removed -- and consider what you might want to try next year. Inspect your stock of saved seeds to confirm that they're dry and secure.

Pot forced bulbs

If you're planning on indoor color this winter, it's time to pot up those bulbs you've been chilling. Get them moved into a warm and cozy area of the house so they'll be tricked into thinking that spring has arrived. They'll start putting out leaves and developing buds so you'll have a rush of beautiful color later this month. To keep the color coming, stagger your potting cycle so everything doesn't bloom at once.

Take root and hardwood cuttings

If you're planning to propagate from cuttings, now is the time. Select sturdy, healthy stock and in the case of root cuttings, bury it in rich soil and mulch. Hardwood cuttings should be set upright in compost and mulched. Depending on your winter weather, as many as half will take root, and you can plant them out next year. If conditions are extremely cold, nurture cuttings in a cold frame or in the greenhouse.

Last chance on bare root plantings like roses and fruit trees

Hopefully you did this last month, but if you didn't, now's your chance. Be aware that nurseries may have limited stock at this point, so move fast to get the bare root stock you want. Dig out planting areas well, enrich with compost and nutrients, establish your plants, and water them in thoroughly. Over the winter, they'll take root and get going so they'll be ready to roll come spring. 

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