December gardening tips
General tasks and garden maintenance
Carry on digging over beds and borders and incorporate as much organic matter as you can. Forking over not only helps prepare the soil for next year, it helps reduce pests by exposing them to hungry birds.
Protect pots and taps from frost by wrapping insulation around them. Bubble wrap is ideal and probably in plentiful supply if you are ordering Christmas presents over the internet!
Clear paths of moss and lichen, treat timber with preservative, repair fences, check sheds and walls (but avoid any concreting until there is no chance of frost), clean and insulate greenhouses (that bubble wrap again!) and ensure heaters are working properly. Even a little insulation will make a huge difference to your heating bill.
Clean and repair your garden tools and clock the lawn mower in for a service. New tools are always a welcome present, as are new gardening gloves.....especially good quality ones.
Clear debris - this is vital to prevent slugs and snails from setting up home in those lovely warm and damp conditions! However, a plea for wildlife... an artless pile of sticks and logs will make a wonderful ‘des res’ for hibernating hedgehogs and the like, so please don’t be too ferocious on the tidying front. Make leaf mould out of fallen leaves - they will rot down into fantastically fertile matter after a year (2 for oak leaves). Store wet leaves (they must be wet to rot) in large black plastic sacks forked with holes or piled into a chicken wire container or similar. Failing that, add them to the compost heap.
Take care not to let leaves accumulate around alpines - they will die if left damp for long. Cover bare patches around clumps with gritty compost to encourage regrowth.