Garden maintenance is important throughout the year. In the December months, plan to continue to maintain your garden by amending soil and adding mulch. Additionally, December is when you must protect your winter crops from pests and frost. Harvesting winter vegetables and greens will also continue through this month. Your garden will thrive with continued care and consideration.
Since Northern California experiences little rain, mulching your garden continues to be an important aspect of winter maintenance. This both preserves soil and keeps the weeds away. Be sure to water at least once a month if it has not rained. If it does rain, check your landscape for large puddles where soil may be heavier and will need to be amended. Don’t bother raking fallen leaves as they provide ground cover and nutrition to the soil. For newer plants, purchase frost cloths or old sheets to protect against the colder temperatures. Newer plants won’t have the established root system and are more vulnerable.
Although temperatures are lower and there are fewer issues with pests, slugs and cabbage worms will continue to be problematic throughout the winter months. Protect your plants with iron phosphate and copper flashing. Row covers are a solution to both protect against slugs and cabbage worms, as well as low temperatures.
Winter crops such as cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and beets will regrow continuously through February; plants such as spinach and lettuce can continue to be cut to the root during this time and regrow. Be sure to harvest continuously. Unless there is frost, then prune and cut down plants to the root that are browning.
When you continue to maintain your garden you will also be preparing your soil and garden for the upcoming months. By watching your garden for pests, puddles, browning of plants, and by ensuring your soil is mulched and plants are harvested, your garden will continue to develop into the winter months. Happy gardening!