December gardening tips from Barnsdale Gardens

At Barnsdale Gardens, Britain’s largest collection of individually designed gardens based in the East Midlands, the team know that even though December will be with us soon, there are still many jobs to be done in the garden.

Preparation is key when it comes to protecting your growing areas for the colder months to come, and also ensuring that you have the best possible chance of bumper harvests of tasty veggies and fruit, and stunning blooms next year!

December gardening tips from Barnsdale Gardens

December gardening tips from Barnsdale Gardens

Fruits need TLC in December too!
Prune Fan-trained Gooseberries – Nick Hamilton says that he generally does this job during November, but with milder autumns there is no problem leaving it until later. He cuts back all the laterals growing out of the main framework, that grew this year, back to one or two buds. This keeps them compact, but still able to produce an excellent crop.
This is also an ideal time of year to Take Hardwood Cuttings of Blackcurrant and to Prune Blackcurrants also!

Keep your blooms a cut above the rest!
Prune Wisteria – Now the leaves have turned yellow and started dropping off, it’s the perfect time to prune Wisteria. This year, for a variety of reasons, the Barnsdale team didn’t prune their shoots back to 6 buds. Therefore, they are going for a single prune this year and cutting back to three buds from the previous year’s growth.
Cut back Chrysanthemums – A dip in temperature and the very wet weather has caused a lot of the flowers to finish and the heavy rain had knocked the plants down, so they now look floppy and not as good as they should. This is the sign to cut the stems back hard.
Plant Tulips – It’s been so wet recently the team have not been able to plant their tulips, but they can wait no longer – they’re going in! In order to minimise the impact on all the hard work involved in creating a good soil structure I’m using a dibber.

Keep your crops cosy!
Cover Ground for Early Crops – If you like to get some of your crops started early, such as multi-sown beetroot, carrots, leeks, turnips, etc then you need to make sure you can. The only way to ensure the ground being in the condition you want it for planting, so not too wet, is to prepare it and then cover the area you need. When you’re ready you can remove the cover, be it a piece of polythene (for larger areas) or just a cloche, and get planting irrespective of what the weather has been like.
Protect winter lettuce – Although the winter varieties of lettuce are hardy, in a severe winter they may suffer some leaf damage. Nick covers his winter lettuce crops with fleece. Being a material that allows light, air and water to pass through it can be left on the crop for the whole of the winter, meaning you don’t have to remember this job.

There’s plenty to see and do all year round at Barnsdale Gardens!

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