Even though the weather is cooling down and winter is right around the corner, your vegetable gardening season doesn’t have to end just yet. Many vegetable varieties can tolerate frosty conditions quite well. You need to choose cold hardy veggies so they can withstand frosty nights and shortening daylight hours. In this post, I’ll go over the best options for vegetables you can plant in December to keep your garden productive.
Growing In Very Cold Temperatures
Some vegetables are very resistant to cold. This resistance can be reinforced even more if we plant them in the greenhouse or in a place where the cold or intense frosts do not affect them directly. We recommend our article about a greenhouse for vegetable garden.
We start with the seedlings and for this, we must look for quality seeds to obtain excellent results. The vegetable seedling is very useful for these cases because there we start the plants that we know will resist cold frosts because we will have the opportunity to cover them with a thermal blanket propped up with tutors, which resembles a tent.
As you plan your December garden, it’s crucial to consider frost protection for your plants. For essential tips on safeguarding your greenery during colder months, I highly recommend reading our comprehensive guide on how to protect plants from frost.
If we are in an area that is cold but not so cold (freezing winds), these vegetables will be able to withstand these inclement weather conditions. The recommendation is:
Short Cycle Vegetables to Plant in December
- Swiss chard, especially yellow chard
Hardier Crops to Plant in December
Let’s remember that we already have some crops from previous months., hardy crops are likely to withstand the cold if they already have stem strength and look firmly rooted in the ground. It is quite disappointing for the gardener or farmer that after working so hard, do not take the necessary precautions in advance to prepare the conditions of your planting for the winter to cold damage the plants.
It is not necessary to wait until winter arrives to prepare ourselves, because we will not have the time to condition the soil so that it is not cold to receive the crops, it is an adverse circumstance that will bring its consequences.
In December, You Can Not Miss the Sowing of Garlic
Sowing garlic is a very simple activity, it can be done directly in the ground, clove by clove separated from each other at least 4″ (10 cm), placing the clove with the bud upwards. In 190 days you will see the results, a fruit of very good quality.
Garlic is harvested in June and July, presenting a fleshy and succulent fruit. It is a plant that is worth planting when there is winter weather for its resistance. The benefits are not long in coming. Learn more about how to grow garlic from a clove.
Potatoes In Winter
Winter is the best time to grow potatoes. It is one of the most versatile vegetables to grow. It is a staple and indispensable food in the kitchen. Its cultivation is very good at this time of the year. It resists all its cycle with the climate changes and the way to grow it is quite simple, so we can include it in the list of vegetables to grow in December.
How to Protect Fruit Plants in December
Fruit plants can be protected in Northern winters through insulating roots, wrapping trunks, sheltering bushes, using protective covers, judicious pruning, checking soil moisture, and properly timing any transplanting of dormant stocks.
Insulate the roots: Apply 4-6 inches of mulch around the base of fruit trees and bushes to protect the roots from hard freezes. Shredded leaves, wood chips, or bark chips work well.
Wrap trunks: Wrap tree trunks with commercial tree wrap or burlap from the base to the lowest branches to prevent freeze damage to the bark.
Build shelters: Construct shelters around smaller trees or bushes using wooden frames and burlap. This helps block cold wind and traps radiant heat from the ground.
Use row covers: Loosely drape breathable fabric row covers over bushes to create a protective layer of insulation. Anchor them properly.
Prune judiciously: Avoid heavy pruning that may stimulate tender new growth prone to winter dieback. Focus on clearing dead wood. If you want to keep your blueberry and raspberry bushes productive year after year, be sure to read my articles on proper pruning techniques for blueberries and raspberries.
Check soil moisture: Water fruit plants if soil moisture is low prior to ground freezing to prevent desiccation damage.
Timed planting: If transplanting dormant bare-root stocks, ensure it is late enough that the ground has thoroughly frozen to avoid premature sprouting.
The key is regulating exposure to harsh winter conditions. Follow regional best practices for each fruit type. Consistent monitoring also helps guarantee a healthy spring revival.
Tips to Plant in December
Stores specialize in excellent products in terms of the type of seed to use in winter, materials to use in the greenhouse as the vegetable seedling, the thermal blanket, and a series of elements that will help us to concentrate on improving the environment where our crops will be from which we want to obtain the best fruits. The planting calendar is very useful when deciding what we are going to grow, transplant, and harvest in our garden in a given month.
In December, you can plant a wide range of vegetables and fruits. Schedule gardening tasks to ensure everything goes according to plan during the winter.
- Acquire quality seeds
- Review the tools that we already have in our possession and acquire those that we need for the cultivation in December.
- Have the utensils to be comfortable in the garden or greenhouse when we are in the middle of planting.
- Plan the protection that we will give to our crops in winter, especially to the most vulnerable plants, those young plants that cannot be moved to the greenhouse.
- Remember that it is very important to apply compost to the soil to protect the plants from the cold to prevent them from freezing.
- If we are located in an area where the winter is mild, then we must be alert to give air to the greenhouse so that the air circulates, and avoids excess humidity.
- Do not leave cracks in the greenhouse and avoid any crevices where the cold can seep in.
- Thank the animals that help us to protect the orchard by placing feeders or nests, insight in the case of birds and houses for ladybugs for example. (Ladybugs fight aphids naturally).
Soil Care in Winter
Do not leave the soil of the vegetable garden bare during the winter, as frost would reduce its fertility. In this sense, if we are not going to plant anything until spring, it is advisable to cover it with a vegetable cover (grass, foliage, gorse…etc.) that will increase the biological activity of the soil, reduce the appearance of weeds while this organic matter will decompose to incorporate it into the soil in spring.
For the rest, continue elaborating organic compost with the remains of peelings, cut grass, foliage, etc. as you would in other months. This organic matter is the guarantee of a living and productive vegetable garden.