The Gardener's December Calendar ~ 2018

December is more low-key than other months when it comes to gardening in the Northeast.

This is a good time to sharpen and clean hand pruners.

Store tools, such as shovels and trowels, in a bucket of sand over the winter. The sand helps absorb moisture so your tools will not rust.

Provide a water source for birds. A few years ago I acquired a heated birdbath, and all I need to do is periodically change the water and clean it out a bit. (To clean, I use either a soap pad like Brillo or a damp paper towel, depending on how dirty the birdbath is.)

Check on tubers being stored overwinter. I periodically check on my dahlias that I keep in storage in a cold hallway in my house. (Learn more here.)  What's important is that they are not exposed to freezing temperatures. I also check to make sure the tubers do not shrivel up. If it looks like they are beginning to, I periodically mist them with some water, but I try not to overdo it.

There's still time to scatter milkweed seeds in the garden. Or you can try to start them indoors, as outlined here.

Stagger plantings of amaryllis and paper whites for indoor blooms. 

Stressed about holiday shopping? Here are my suggestions for Gifts for the Gardener. Need more ideas? My friend Angie also picked out 20 Perfect Holiday Gifts for the Gardener.

Take time to reflect. As the month closes, my focus switches to planning for next year's garden. I try to take notes of things that did and did not work in the garden this year, as well as review photos of how the garden looked in different seasons. It's also time to acquire seeds for pansies and violas, which can be started indoors next month.

What's on your to-do list this month?


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