The Vegetable Patch in December

The Fruit Garden in December
Other Gardening Jobs in December

Sow garlic, shallot and onions
If you haven’t got round to it already you can still plant garlic, shallot and onion sets. Planting them now gives them a headstart and they will be ready to leap into full growth as soon as spring arrives.

Sow autumn sowing broad beans
If you are going to sow broad beans early then make sure you choose a variety designed for overwintering, such as Aquadulce or Sutton. As the temperatures have dropped germination may be very slow, so it is probably worth starting them in pots in a greenhouse or covering the soil with cloches. Sowing broad beans at this time of year is more successful in the South of the country where the temperatures are milder.

Dig your patch and add plenty of bulky organic matter
Any ground that hasn’t got any crops on it can be dug over. Add plenty of manure, home compost or leaf mould to add structure to the soil. It’s alright to leave the earth in big lumps, any frosts will break them down. Just dig a little at a time to avoid pulled muscles!

Keep your patch tidy
Remove as many weeds as you can, and remove anthing that slugs and other pests might like to hide under, such as planks of wood, bricks and plant pots. You want the ground to be as open and exposed as possible so that the cold weather and birds can help rid the soil of any pests that might like to munch through your veg early next year.

Harvest winter vegetables
There are plenty of veg to that are ready around now including winter cabbages, cauliflowers, parsnip, celeriac, salsify and scorzonera, brussel sprouts, leek, swede, spinach, turnips, kale and jerusalem artichokes. It’s easy to forget just how many winter veg you can grow.

Check any stored vegetables
If you’re storing any vegetables, check them every couple of weeks to pick out any that have started to rot.

Stake tall brassicas
Make sure any tall brassicas, such as brussels and purple sprouting broccoli, are staked to prevent damage from wind rock.

Check the pH of your soil
pH is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 is acidic (or ericaceous) and above 7 alkaline (or limey). A level of 6.5 to 7 is good for most plants. If you’re soil is acidic then you can raise the pH a little, for example from 5.5 to 6.5 by adding lime.



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