So it's December and you might be thinking the only gardening you have to do is to look after is the Christmas tree - not true! There's lots you can still do to set yourself up for a great growing year!
1. Prepare your soil for next year's planting.
If you have empty beds, there's still time to boost your soil for next year's planting. It's a bit late now to sow cover crops, but you could layer seaweed or well rotted manure on beds to add nutrients. You can also add prepared soil boosters made from seaweed.If this isn't possible and you have empty beds, do try to provide some sort of cover for them, as bare soil may leech nutrients and lose structure in heavy winter rains.
2. Last chance to get overwintering onions and garlic into the ground!
With December usually comes frost! If the ground in your garden/beds is still workable, this may be your last chance to get overwintering onions and garlic into beds for harvest next year.
3. Get ready to force Rhubarb
Take a clump of rhubarb tubers and place under a dark container (making sure they still have access to water). This is known as 'forcing' rhubarb and will give you an early harvest of delicately blanched stems to harvest in spring! It's softer and sweeter than rhubarb harvested in summer and tides you over for spring!
4. Protect tender plants
If you've branched out (excuse the pun!) this year into growing some more exotic plants, now is the last chance to ensure they're all wrapped up warm against true winter weather which tends to start by January. Depending on where you live and what you are growing, this may mean lifting and storing tubers like Dahlia, oca and mashua, or moving exotic fruit pot plants and herbs such as peach, citrus, lemon verbena into the greenhouse or house.
5. Plan out your potato patch
Organic seed potatoes become available in late December/early January each year. Now's a good time to plan how many you might need, and where you will chit them. Start collecting those egg cartons!