Dec. 2013 To-Do List: Upper South

Home Depot

Christmas tree and decorationsWhile we’re giving and receiving gifts during the holidays, why not do a little gift-giving in your garden, too? Hang suet cakes for hungry birds, keep feeders stocked with black oil sunflower seed and thistle, and make sure the water in your bird bath is kept filled. Some Home Depot Garden Centers sell devices you can put into the water to keep it from freezing, so our feathered friends will have clean, fresh water for drinking and bathing. When you’re finished with your cut Christmas tree, recycle it for mulch, or drop it into a pond or lake to provide habitat for fish and aquatic creatures.

  • You can also use your cut Christmas tree as garden mulch. Cut the branches from the trunk and layer them around shrubs and perennials.
  • Use fragrant needles from your evergreens to add to a batch of potpourri. Presented in a pretty jar, it makes a nice gift for the hostess of a holiday party.
  • Plant winter annuals like calendulas, pansies, primroses, and violas over your spring and summer flowering bulbs. They’ll provide quick, long-lasting color until the bulbs emerge.
  • Hellebores bloom in winter, adding hints of color to shady spots in the garden. Because they self-seed, they’ll return every year. Watch for the flowers even when there’s snow on the ground.
  • Add cold season vegetables and herbs to your flower beds and containers. For color and texture, try kales, cabbages, mustard greens, and curly parsley. A raised bed kit makes it easy to add these plants to your yard.
  • Although this is a good time to clean up the garden, leave some dried flower heads and ornamental grasses to provide seeds for the birds. The blossom and foliage can also add interest to the landscape.
  • Keep raking any remaining leaves off the lawn, so they won’t smother the grass. Run a mower with a mulching blade over the leaves when they are dry, and gather them up to use as mulch for the garden.
  •  If you kept a journal or garden diary, start flipping through it now to plan for the next growing season. You may need to rotate your crops or decide to try new seed varieties. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a fellow gardener, make a personalized garden journal. 
  • Harvest frost-sweetened Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, kale, and cabbage.
  • Wait until January to prune roses.
  • Mulch cold sensitive crops like strawberries with a layer of weed-free straw. It can be removed in spring.
  • Take a break from watering or fertilizing warm season grasses; they are dormant this month.
  • Continue watering turf that has been overseeded with rye grass, if rain is scarce. Mow the rye grass as needed, leaving it about 2″ high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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