Garden, Plant, Cook!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

December Planting & Gardening Tips

Dear Folks,

December brings not only holidays but gardening maintenance and the continuing opportunity to successive sow your winter vegetables and herbs.

Keep kitchen "trash" recycling in mind.  You can replant celery, leek, and scallion roots to get a second harvest.  Pictured is a celery root taken November 11th - I planted it November 6th after soaking for a couple of days.  I do grow celery but when I don't have it in the garden, I buy organic and replant the root.

Successive sow sugar peas, leaf lettuces and greens, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, cilantro, chervil, dill and parsley for a continuous crop.  Pictured is the flower of my Magnolia Blossom Sugar pea - isn't it gorgeous!

December is the time to prune or cut back some of your perennials.  Around December 15th, cut asparagus back to the ground.  Your deciduous trees should be pruned and shaped by December 31st to get it done before they burst into bloom again.

Don't wait until all the leaves drop off, sometimes nature does not cooperate getting all the leaves out of the way.  I always laugh when the "fall" of our fig tree leaves occurs, all at once (mostly) on a windy December day (not October!) and we walk out to the garden to find a HUGE pile of leaves under or near the fig tree.

Plants you DO NOT prune are tender perennials which may sustain frost damage, but are not killed.  Leave the damage parts on to act as a protective "blanket" until spring when the soil begins to warm again.

My Upper Ground Sweet Potato Pumpkin is still green, but really healthy.  While checking it out, I discovered some new "possible" baby pumpkins, and watched for the blossom to open up and discovered bees working the blossom, but I still got a q-tip and helped some too.  Pictures of the pumpkin, baby pumpkin with flower waiting to be pollinated, male flower and the bees doing their thing.

Baby Pumpkin & Flower
Holiday time can be stressful. Your edible garden can be an oasis from stress.  With citrus fruit ripening like yellow and orange ornaments, pansies blooming, and dill waving in the breeze, winter is only a state of mind here in the Desert Southwest.

Male Pumpkin Flower
November through January can be a ‘rainy’ season for the desert. You can usually hold off on regular watering if you have received a half inch or more of rain within 2 days of normal watering days (except for trees unless you receive 1 inch or more).  Make good use of your water meter to determine soil moisture. 

If rains are heavy this month, in addition to foregoing some water days, you may need to put down Ironite or Green Sand to compensate for mineral bonding "chlorosis" (which makes iron unavailable to the plants) due to both the excess water and the cold soil.  Ironite is not a fertilizer so it will not burn plants -- apply to the drip line (edge) of tree canopy.

Watering Guide:
As the temperatures rise or decrease, a guide (this is only a guide! make use of your moisture meter to check moisture content of soil) For mature gardens would be:
    70s water every 5-6 days for all but trees
    80s water every 4-5 days for all but trees
    90s water every 3-4 days for all but trees
    100s water every 2-3 days for all but trees

Garden Design tip - if you are considering laying out a new garden, use Ironite to 'draw' the garden layout on the soil, easy and safe.

Peach tree borer pests - consider using  "dormant oil" or "horticulture oil" spray on trunks to soil line (not branches) after pruning deciduous trees.

December PLANTING:

Bok Choy
Fennel, Leaf
Fruit, Bare Root
Fruit Trees
Onions, Green
Oregano, Greek
Ornamental Cabbage/Kale (Brassica Oleracea)
Peppers (seed)
Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)
Watermelon (by seed December 15 and after)


Carnation (Dianthus)
English Daisy
Jasmine Sambac (Arabian)
Scented Geraniums
Stocks (Matthiola)
Sweet William (Dianthus)
Sweet Alyssum

Have a best day in the garden and kitchen!

You can purchase my books or calendars through links on the side bar here on the blog.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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