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December Gardening Tips

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Landscaping Tips

  • If you have not applied your overwintering lawn fertilizer, be sure to do it at the beginning of the month. Make sure a good portion of the nitrogen (the first number on the fertilizer bag) is a slow release and the mixture is somewhere around a 3-1-2 ratio. Also try and make sure some sulfur is in the mix or is added.
  • December is an excellent month to do winter planting of bare-root trees and shrubs. Winter dormancy is the best time to transplant evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • We often forget the spots where the rain doesn't reach. Check plantings beneath roof overhangs and under larger conifers. Water them if the soil is dry.
  • If you have not planted your bulbs yet get them in the ground now! They need at least 12 weeks in the cool earth to give you a decent blossom. It is also a good time to divide perennials and ground covers.
  • Rake up any remaining leaves and debris and be sure to look for small clusters of round pearly slug eggs.
  • Look for emerging bulb shoots and be aware squirrels are watching for them also! Squirrels love to dig up your bulbs so protect them by spreading chicken wire across the surface of the ground in those key areas.
  • Before storing garden tools, clean, sharpen and wipe the metal parts with an oil-soaked cloth. Sand wooden handles and apply a bright-colored, water resistant paint to keep the wood from drying out, shrinking or splitting, and to make them easier to find if you leave them in the garden.
  • Gather evergreens for your holiday bows by shaping shrubs and trees as you prune. December, January and February are your key pruning months so get any early start. Read a book on pruning or call the Extension office # 296-3900 for brochure #EB1619: Pruning Trees: A Guide for Homeowners. We see hundred of pruning horrors every year!

Vegetable Garden

Do a map and note which vegetables grew and produced well in you garden. Which were your family's favorites? Check your stored fruit and vegetables for soundness. Wrap gifts of garden jams, cordials and herbs

Child's Garden

Try "garbage gardening" with children or grandchildren. Plant seeds of apples, oranges, grapefruit, or avocado in potting soils and set them in a sunny windowsill. If watered regularly, the seeds will germinate and grow into plants, adding greenery to the room over the winter and exciting the children. Give your children real gardening tools made to scale. Sturdy metal shovels and rakes will delight. Add in some small gloves. The love of gardening can be a lifetime source of joy to your children.