Martha’s To-Do List For December
- Apply a protective layer of winter mulch to the ground once it has frozen.
- Make sure climbing roses are tied securely to their supports to prevent wind damage during the winter.
- Choose a living Christmas tree so it can be planted in the garden after Christmas.
- Reduce watering and fertilizing of houseplants. Plants aren’t in an active growth stage during winter, so they need less moisture and nutrients. Water when the soil is dry to the touch and hold off on fertilizing the plants until March.
- Make holiday wreaths and garlands from evergreen prunings.
- Collect holly and other long-lasting berries and use for decorating wreaths.
- Plant amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs in decorative pots, and pot cuttings of favorite houseplants for holiday gifts.
- Keep poinsettias evenly moist and away from cold drafts.
- Apply deer repellent to evergreens that are prone to deer grazing.
- Replenish bird feeders.
- Clean out gutters and drain one last time, and add the debris to the compost pile.
- Check the decorative gourds in the house and discard any that are starting to rot.
- Force more amaryllis.
- Cover spinach and other overwintering crops with a row cover, and then top with 8 inches of straw.
- Inspect houseplants for insect pests; treat with insecticidal soap spray, if necessary.
- As weather permits, continue to harvest leeks and kale.
- After the holidays, remove the branches from the cut Christmas tree and lay them over perennials and fall-planted pansies.
- Cut back asparagus fronds.
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