What to plant, fertilize, prune and more
With December just around the corner and colder weather on the way, here’s your gardening to-do list.
Cool season annuals and hardy perennials – use seeds or transplants for delphiniums, larks feet, poppies, arugula, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, greens, spinach, lettuce , carrots and garlic (bulbs, bulbs or round). Trees, shrubs, vines, ground cover and permanent crops. Herbal transplants including lavender, oregano, rosemary, rue, sage, parsley, cilantro, dill, and fennel. Living Christmas trees adapted to the region. Spring bulbs, including tulips and hyacinths. New plants may need frost protection with a floating cover.
Fresh season annuals in flower beds and pots with organic fertilizer and Garrett juice. Greenhouse plants with organic fertilizers, earthworm casts and lava sand. Houseplants with earthworm casts, lava sand, and other odorless organic fertilizers. Add apple cider vinegar at the rate of one ounce per gallon with each watering. Winter grasses with a mild organic fertilizer at half the usual rate.
Evergreens to adjust the appearance. Shade trees to remove dead, damaged and displaced branches. Supplement depleted perennials, if you haven’t already. Do not prune just to “thin out” trees, just to avoid crowding, to allow understory plants more light, or to eliminate co-dominant vertical growth. Wait until the end of winter to prune fruit trees and grapes to avoid premature flowering and frost damage. Remove ground covers and vines from the base of plants, especially from all trees. Do not make flush cuts and do not apply pruning paint to the plants yet. Do not prune the tops of the crepe myrtles. The pods are decorative and some small birds like the seed.
All areas dry to help protect against desiccation and injury from winter cold. Potted plants as needed. Add apple cider vinegar or Garrett juice at the rate of one tablespoon to one ounce per gallon, if time permits.
Spray houseplants with mild soap or essential oil products as needed to control mealybugs, mealybugs, spider mites and other insects. Orange oil-based mound watering solutions can also be used for fire ants.
Horticultural oil can be used for massive insect infestations, but only in extreme cases to avoid killing beneficial insects and microbes. Spray garlic tea or hydrogen peroxide products on plants with fungal diseases. Apply dry granulated garlic to the soil for additional control. Henbit, clover, and other wildflowers are gorgeous, so don’t worry about spraying them in most cases. If you must, use vinegar products between Christmas and New Years. To control mistletoe or heavy gall infestations, apply dry molasses or all Treatment of diseased trees.
Continue to mulch the leaves in the grass. Cover tender plants before frost with a floating row cover. Potted plants can be covered with large plastic trash cans. Pick the tomatoes the day before the first frost, unless they are already gone. Mulch all bare soil with partially completed compost or shredded native tree clippings. Turn the compost piles over if time permits. Add molasses to speed up decomposition. Apply lava sand or decomposed granite to an icy paving. Do not use chemical de-icers, salt, or synthetic fertilizers.