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December checklist

Christmas is just around the corner and the holidays are in sight enjoy your downtime but don’t forgot about your crops. With the weather growing warmer, enjoy the fruits of your labour and remember to ask a neighbour to water your garden if you are going away.

Key points for this month:

  • Strawberries will start to ripen, protect them from birds and ensure they get plenty of water.
  • Keep planting salad crops for summer harvesting.
  • Protect vegetable crops from white butterfly and insects.
  • Continue to plant colour in pots and the garden for Christmas and summer displays.
  • Sow seeds of summer flowering annuals.
  • Plant swan plants to attract butterflies into the garden.
  • Indoor plants are a great Christmas gift. Poinsettias are a traditional favourite.
  • Holiday time, check watering systems are working or install new ones.

Kitchen Garden

Water less often but more thoroughly, the water needs to reach the subsoil where the plants can use it. Take your time and check that the soil is wet to at least 5cm.

Water in the early morning or early evening to reduce evaporation.

If you are going to be away, harvest as much as you can. Weed, feed and water well before you go.

Watch out for pests and take action as soon as possible to prevent them becoming a larger problem. Use an environmentally friendly spray around your vegetables if they become a problem. Spray late in the day when the bees have gone home.

Protect cabbages and cauliflowers with Derris Dust to prevent white butterfly caterpillar and diamondback moth. Make sure you get to the undersides where they like to lay their eggs.

Pick courgettes while they are small as they quickly grow in to marrow if you leave them.

Stagger planting of green salad crops like mizuna, lettuce and mesclun for continuous supply. 

Sow seeds. In most areas seeds can be planted directly in to the garden: beetroot, beans, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, spinach and silverbeet.

Plant seedlings: beans, pumpkin, courgettes, carrots, beetroot, radish, capsicum, eggplant, melons, spring onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and spinach.

Plant grapes, kiwifruit, tamarillos, rhubarb, passionfruit, strawberries and summerberries, add compost to the soil as you do.

Plant avocados, they need a very well drained position, insert the stake at the time of planting. Mulch to conserve water.

Feed tomatoes every fortnight with a fast acting tomato food. Ensure they are firmly staked, well watered and remove the laterals (side growth) when they are small.

Mound up the soil around your potatoes and side dress with blood and bone; water the fertiliser in to the soil.

Continue to feed strawberries and water them well, cover with netting if birds are becoming a problem.

Keep your citrus and passionfruit well watered. Mulch around the root zone as we move into the warmer weather; keep the mulch material away from the trunk.

Spray copper oxychloride again this month on citrus fruit and passionfruit.

Apply a side dressing of blood and bone to all vegetables.

Feed all vegetables with liquid fertiliser every two weeks.

Control slugs and snails with bait as they love fresh vegetables!

Garden Colour

Keep your pots well watered, they will dry out quickly, water daily if necessary. Add a water retention product to the soil to help retain moisture.

Plant for bees: pineapple sage, bergamot, lemon balm, blue salvia, coreopsis, gaillardia alyssum, rosemary. They love these simple flowers. 

Sow seeds. In most areas seeds can be planted directly in to the garden: aster, cosmos, cornflowers, petunia, marigold, phlox, portulaca, and verbena.

Plant seedlings: aquilegias, aster, chrysanthemum, cosmos, dahlia, dianthus, nasturtium, marigolds, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, verbena, viscaria and zinnia.

Plant perennials, keep new plantings well watered.

Keep an eye on your roses and spray with an insecticide to prevent pests and diseases if required. Spray late in the day when the bees have gone home.

Trees and Shrubs

Watch out for insects and use the appropriate sprays. Apply when the bees have gone home.

In humid areas keep an eye out for mildew, black spot and other diseases that thrive in this environment.

Keep on top of the weeding and feeding.

Continue mulching around shrub beds, trees and rose bushes, it will help conserve moisture while you are away.

Lawn

Raise the cutting height on your lawn mower. Avoid mowing your lawn too short as longer grass shades the roots and helps prevent drying out. 

Summer is also a good time to leave the grass clippings on the lawn; they act as mulch conserving water.