December is here! With all of the holidays in full bloom the garden tasks often get forgotten about. While many areas will simply be prepping the beds for winter. Some may already be experiencing deep frost... or snow. In zone 9 we'll be expecting our first frost this month. Here's what I am growing in my garden this month and some of my plans for what I need to plant and some garden chores that need to be done.
Pomegranate tree: Leaves have been knocked off by all the rain and the tree will be going dormant. So no more mention until spring when new growth begins.
Little Finger Carrots: Carrots have now surpassed their harvest time by nearly 20 days and should harvest this month however they are not ready at this time.
Algerian Mandarin tree: This is our latest addition to permanent plants! Picked up from The Greenery during their Black Friday special. It came loaded with fruit that we will continue harvesting this month. Stay tuned for recipes.
Albion Strawberries: Recently I've cut all the remaining fruits. They were either pest attacked or unripened. As the foliage dies I will cut them back to nubs sticking just above the mulch layer.
Herb Bed: I'll be honest I'm not sure what to do with these so far they haven't showed any suffering from the colder days.
Garlic: The shoots are now between 6-10 in now and if I remember as a child the shoots stay green all winter long and this garlic will be harvested in May or June.
Carrots: My carrots have recently been thinned out and will continue to grow. The thinnings with harvested and added to a salad. I just learned that carrots can be planted as micro-greens and tops have a wonderful fresh carrot taste.
Unknown Bean: Last month my unknown bean plant had some flowers and now it has a small pod. Too small unfortunately to determine what kind of plant it is however.
Unknown Pepper: It has no new growth and will need to be protected from frost. I haven't yet figured out how I will be doing that a last minute resort will be to uproot and overwinter it as a house plant.
Leeks: I believe my leeks have began to sprout. The confusion is that I planted them on a bit of a slope and I think the seeds may have moved from where they were originally planted.
Nasturtium: I hadn't mentioned this plant last month though it was present. It grew in considerable size last month and is now the healthiest I have yet grown one. No flowers will be seen until Spring.
Spinach: Spinach is doing well and I will continue to harvest. We generally have mild winters so I believe it should be fine.
Lettuce: I'm having a hard time identifying my buttercrunch lettuce plants because there are surrounding weeds that show an uncanny resemblance until that plant is a little larger and the leaves start to become wavy. I have collected some leaves from affirmed plants and will continue to harvest leaves as I identify the lettuce plants.
Peas: I need to replace my old trellis system with a more sturdy one and try to clean up the mess of peas before they start producing. I'm expecting them to begin to producing in the warmer days of January. So they will continue to grow until then.
Brassicas: I have some mixture of Broccoli, Cauliflower and/or Cabbage in transplant containers and they are root bound. I would like to find room to plant them and see if they will produce from there.
Volunteer Tomato Plant: I believe that I did not mention this last month because I had not identified the "weed" yet. A volunteer plant is one that I did not plant but may be either from an old tomato from previous plants or a previously unsprouted seed that was planted from March earlier this year. I like to let these plants grow because in my experience they are the happiest plants because they choose to grow. Growing happy between my garlic and carrots.
What I'll be planting:
I will be planting Lake Valley Seed's White Sweet Spanish and Heirloom Walla Walla Onion seeds outside this month. I will also be planting Detroit Beets outside.
Inside I will be planting tomatoes and peppers to get a jump start on January seed starting. The problem will be deciding which of six varieties of tomatoes to grow (Beef Heart, Montserrat, Marmande-Cuarenteno, Burpee's Heirloom Roma, or American Seed's Beefsteak and Delicious) and will likely do all four pepper varieties that I have. (Burpee's Lemon Dream, Burpee or American Seed bell pepper blends, American Seed's Sweet banana peppers and Burpee's Jalapeno Early)
If I'm able to get seed potatoes I will also be planting those this month. Yes it is quite early. However, I heard that in our zone planting potatoes can be done in December and harvested in March. When a second planting will go in. I am trying this because if it works it will allow two potato harvests in the same amount of space which is crucial when gardening in an apartment space.
What I'll be doing:
We will be finishing our compost pile to ensure that it is ready for Spring use and starting a new compost pile. This month is usually when we do a major yard clean up. I am working on getting my garden to be aesthetically pleasing. Something that has never previously bothered me. So I will continue trying to replace plastic and terra cotta containers with more appealing containers. My husband and I are now searching for a cherry tree with multiple grafts so that we will only need a single cherry tree.
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