The Gardener's December Calendar



A lot of the gardening responsibilities move indoors this month for gardeners in the Northeast.

Keep birds happy. Most of my outdoor responsibilities include keeping bird feeders full with black oil sunflower seed and suet, as well as unfrozen water. To achieve the latter, 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. What's important is that they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, which would happen if I left them in my stand-alone, uninsulated garage. 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.

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

Tool maintenance. Clean pruners. Store tools in a bucket of sand over the winter.

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 what the garden looked like. 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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