Jobs to Do December on Your Plot


There’s a surprising number of crops that can be available to harvest in December. Winter brassicas such as Kale, cabbage and cauliflowers - best harvested when ready now.

Any carrots left should come up to prevent pest damage in the ground for storage in damp sand or peat in the shed. Parsnips and Swedes can be lifted and stored the same way although they are very hardy and may be left if the ground if not needed. You can always cover them with fleece or straw to help stop the ground freezing them in.

You can leave leeks until you need them – they are hardy plants.

Sowing and Planting in December on the Vegetable Plot:

There’s not a lot you can plant out in December but you can plant garlic and onion/shallot sets as well as sowing broad beans. We have all these in stock (if we haven’t sold out). Garlic benefit from a period of cold, which prompts growth later. It doesn’t like to sit in water so plant the clove on top of about an inch of sand filling above with fine compost. This ensures good drainage and stops rotting. If the ground is very wet and cold then you can start these crops off in pots for later planting. Choose the right variety of broad bean – the most popular we sell for this time of year is Aquadulce Claudia.

Onion seeds sown towards the end of the month will make excellent plants and bulbs, benefiting from the longer growing period. Sow them in seed boxes in the greenhouse.

Jobs to Do

Remove any yellowing leaves from your winter brassicas – plus any dead leaves on the ground..

Wildlife especially the pigeons will be on the lookout for food, , so net vulnerable plants like brassicas.

Take hardwood cuttings of soft fruit. Gooseberries, red, white and black currants.

It’s a good time to split rhubarb , dig up the old crowns and split from the top down with a spade into three or four. Leave on the surface so they get frosted before planting out in early Spring.

Check that ties and staking are secure for young trees.

You can plant bare rooted fruit trees and bushes in December.
Prune fruit bushes and free-standing apple and pear trees over winter. Leave cordons etc until the summer.

Mulch any bare soil – green or real manure, garden compost etc. If there are weeds you can cover them with cardboard topped with manure.

Check any plants in frames or greenhouses - remove dead foliage and any signs of mould

Bare rooted plants - now is the time to plant

Finish cutting down asparagus to the ground, remove any weeds and then mulch

The traditional treatment of autumn raspberries is to prune out all shoots around this time and wait for the new growth to come in the spring. An alternative is just to tip back the growth now - this will lead to some early fruit on those stems in the summer. You can then prune back the fruiting canes leaving the new spring growth to produce the usual autumn crop. You should by now have cut out the fruiting growth of summer raspberries leaving the new shoots tied in ready for next year.