With the Christmas season just around the corner, the temptation to hang up your gardening gloves and pack away your tools for the chilly months is often very hard to resist. However, your garden is going to need your attention in the colder months if you want to reap the benefits in the new year.
When the harsh UK weather takes a break, Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year to get out of the house and spend some time in the garden. As new flowers come into bloom and a gentle layer of snow settles, Christmas gardening can be truly magical. Whether you are using a domestic polytunnel or need to tend to your standard vegetable patches, there is plenty to keep you busy in the most special season of the year.
Look After Your Vegetables
From hot winter stews to a full Christmas dinner, vegetables are likely to be a big feature on the dinner table throughout December. Thankfully, it’s a great season for vegetable planting and harvesting, with a wide array of vegetables to look forward too. While a little extra maintenance will be needed to ensure the cold doesn’t get the best of your crops, Christmas harvesting can be very relaxing.
Almost all the Christmas staples are ready to harvest in December, including:-
- and the either loved or hated, brussels sprouts.
To restock your vacant vegetable patch, Christmas is a fantastic time to plant broad beans, onions, and garlic. If you have a polytunnel, you can also plant all the November crops. This includes kale shoots, beansprouts, and sweetcorn shoots.
Take Care of Your Growing Fruit
The Christmas season is one of the best times of the year to plant new fruit trees. The ground needs to be prepared carefully, but there is a wonderful array of fruit trees that are perfect for December planting. Using a polytunnel can be especially helpful in December to protect your trees in the very early stages of growth, especially with the unpredictability of the weather in the UK.
December is also the perfect time to start pruning some of your fruit trees and plants. Pear and apple trees can be pruned throughout December, as well as current plants. All fruit trees with pitted fruits should be left until after winter.
Prepare and Protect Your Plants for the New Year
For a break away from harvesting, it’s important to prepare and protect your plants over the Christmas period. Frost can be a big problem in the winter, especially if you are not using a polytunnel. All it takes is a particularly cold night, and all the hard work you have put into cultivating your plants can go to waste. Keeping a careful watch on the temperature and covering any plants that you think may be at risk, is an excellent prevention against the cold weather.
Another great way to get active in the garden during Christmas is to make cuttings of your trees. Hardwood cuttings are ideally taken around the Christmas season, providing a good and affordable way to grow new trees.
Keep Your Tools in Top Condition
As the temperature starts to plummet, your tools and gardening equipment are going to need some special care over Christmas, especially if you don’t want to have to make some big replacements next year. If you find the time to spare, investing a few hours into cleaning and properly storing your garden equipment around Christmas can be very beneficial. Outdoor structures should also be prepared in advance for the cold. Checking the heating and irrigation system in your polytunnel and ensuring the structure is clean and free of blemishes is vital for a continually healthy crop.
General Christmas Garden Maintenance
While Christmas may be the best time of the year to just kick back and relax, there is still plenty of general garden maintenance to get done. Leaves especially pose a risk to growing plants, so it’s important to rake them up quickly to avoid your crop getting damaged. December is also a prime time to get digging, with the upcoming frost being incredibly helpful in breaking down turned over clots.
Despite so much to be done in the garden at Christmas, it is a wonderful time of the year to enjoy the garden you have put so much effort into creating. While there may not be as many blooms as in summer, and the ground may be harder, there is truly something special about the time of year, and more than enough to enjoy.
If you need more inspiration and help with what to grow during December- why not check out our handy growing guide?