What to Do in the Garden for December: Say Goodbye – For Now

We are approaching the winter months, and for a gardener, it is a time to reminisce on the past growing season and to look forward to the next one, armed with new wisdom and the drive to grow things when spring returns.

Pat yourself on the back for your fortitude and recall that without your diligence, you never would have produced those delicious tomatoes, or grown such a glorious patch of zinnias that flowered well past the first frost and still delight upon reflection.

Now is the time to rest, think, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and lessons well learned.

You’ve done it – the ground is amended and mulched, slowly transforming into nourishment for next year’s plantings. Or, if you have done nothing more than harvest the last yield of the garden, pulled out any ailing or tainted remnants and walked away, know that nature is still on the clock, breaking down old garden waste into a spring compost to mix in with the soil and embark on the cycle again when spring begins anew.

Last Bits to Do in December

  • Last of the weeding, if the ground isn’t frozen. Weeding now means a little less weeding in April and May, plus, you can still connect to working in the soil, which we all love.

    Hint: a tool I found and LOVE is a weeding torch for flower beds, paths and edges. Check Amazon for options. This tool saved my back and gets the job done in about half the time. The idea is to regularly torch the weed tops. The roots will eventually give up and the weed is gone. Dandelions are still tough to remove this way, but many many other weeds surrender to the heat. Plus, torching zaps seeds left behind, and you’ll find there are fewer weeds to remove over time. Care is needed around plants, but I find an old shovel braced against your plant acts as a barrier to protect it from the heat blast. I have used this on my vegetable garden, but only before planting or after harvest is done. Cleans things up wonderfully!

There is no real rush to complete the last garden tasks now. Work at your own pace and enjoy the look of your empty gardens; they hold so much promise for the spring.

“Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.” — RUMI

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Steele Memorial Library