December gardening

Gardening doesn’t stop in Texas when it’s December, but it does slow down. This is a good month to check all of your gardening tools. Repair, replace, discard, oil and sharpen tools. Are there some tools or gardening supplies that you need? Make a wish list.

Vines, ground covers, ornamental grasses: Ground covers and ornamental grasses can be planted or transplanted. Make sure they stay moist but no need to fertilize until next spring. Cut back growth of vines if there is a freeze or brown damaged growth. Mulch to protect the roots from extreme cold.

Vegetables, herbs: Protect less hardy plants like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and English peas in case of extreme cold. Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radish, turnips, spinach, beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, collards, garlic, kale, onions, leeks, shallots are hardy unless we get the rare night below 20 degrees.

Vegetables sometimes grow more slowly when the temps are very cold. Irrigate only when necessary. Cold weather keeps lots of pests and disease problems at a minimum. Keep weeds at bay. Kick back, stay warm and break open the seed catalogs.

Trees: Take an hour and drive around town to note trees that give fall color and beauty. Journal options that you like. (Great gardeners journal things they love, unusual weather, pest issues, plant successes and failures, etc.) Early December is a great time to plant and transplant trees in our area. Water in newly planted trees and monitor for moisture. Any existing trees with scale or diseases can be treated now. Winter is also an ideal time to prune trees. In December, you can see the true structure of trees that are loaded with leaves in the spring and summer.

Kick back, stay warm and break open the seed catalogs and gardening magazines. Hmmmmm, what to plant next spring?

What to do with lawns, roses, houseplants, etc.? More December gardening tips next week.

Joette is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.