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Looking for ideas for what to do in the garden in December? Well, look no further as we have compiled a list of garden jobs to keep you busy throughout the month.
While the tops of container plants may be quite hardy the roots are vulnerable to frost. Here are some easy steps you can take to protect them in cold weather.
The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Bubble-wrap, String, Newspaper, Plastic-bag
Tie a double layer of bubble-wrap polythene around the pot to give a layer of insulation against several degrees of frost.
For more protection stand the container in a plastic bag...
...and fill with crumpled newspaper to create a thick insulating layer...
...tie the top loosely with string or a platic tie. Keep the plastic off the leaves as it can freeze to them causing cell damage. Never cover the plant with plastic.
If your containers get too wet during the winter months the roots of your plant may suffocate and rot. Fortunately there are a number of things you can do to prevent this form happening.
The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Pot-feet, Stone
The most obvious sign that there is a problem with drainage is water collecting at the surface of the compost.
The first thing to do is to lay the pot on its side to drain as much of the excess water as possible.
To prevent it happening again you can use 'pot feet' to raise your container to improve airflow and drainage.
Elevate the container at an angle by placing a stone (or similar) under one side of the base to aid drainage.
In the winter months the birds in your garden can find it difficult to find enough food. You can help them by putting out a bird feeder and if you make it yourself it won't even cost you anything.
The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Plastic bottle, Scissors, Marker Pen, Thin Cane, Wire, Gravel, Bird Seed
Take a standard 2L drink bottle and mark out and cut circular holes about a third of the way up from the base. Make sure there are no sharp edges.
Just below the holes make two small holes and push a cane through the bottle to act as a perch.
Feed a wire through the screw cap so that you can hang the feeder in your garden.
To give the feeder some stability you can put gravel in the base. Finally, put food up to the level of the circular holes and hang in your garden.
Walls offer shelter to climbers and shrubs trained against them but sometimes it helps to add a little extra protection.
The difficulty rating for this garden job is 4 out of 5 and you will need: Drill
Drill the wall above the area you wish to protect and insert cup hooks to hang the fleece. Make sure to avoid any electrical wires and use extreme care when using ladders and power tools.
Staple over the top and bottom of the piece of fleece to create hems through which canes can be inserted.
Thread canes through through the fleece at the top and bottom. These will keep the fleece flat and help weigh it down.
Suspend the cane at the top of the of the fleece through the cup hooks on the wall and drape the cover carefully over the plant.
No matter how fastidious you are with your plants, there will be a residue of pests and/or diseases in your pots at the end of the season. Many of these come equipped with protective mechanisms that allow them to survive the winter and rise to infect your plants next year. Cleaning everything ready to make a fresh start in spring is time-consuming, but worth the effort.
The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Large container, Disinfectant/Sterilant, Waterproof gloves
Use a stiff-bristled brush to get rid of all the loose compost and debris.
Add a measure of disinfectant or sterilant to a large container of clean water.
Submerge the pot in the water and leave to soak for several hours.
Smaller pots can be done as a batch. When you take the pots out of the water, turn them upside down and leave to drain and dry. Then you can pack them away under cover until you need them.
On ornamental plants (not fruit) there are a few basic reasons why you should prune, best remembered as the 4 Ds: Dead, Dying, Damaged and Diseased. Next, remove crossing or rubbing branches, any that have reverted to green and for shape.
The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, pruning saw
Dead wood is easiest to see and remove in summer. Cut back to healthy, pale-coloured wood.
Die-back is common after early pruning where a rogue frost can catch you out. Cut back to just above a healthy bud.
Larger dead stems should be removed with a pruning saw, working very carefully so you do not damage nearby shoots.
Green shoots on a variegated plant should be removed, as they contain more chlorophyll and are stronger. If left, they will take over and you will lose the variegation.
We hope these projects have given you a few ideas and a bit of inspiration for what to do in your garden this month.