In the Vegetable Garden — December
Happy holidays from The Garden Shed! 2018 is fast becoming a memory, and what a gardening season! We were blessed with more rain than we knew what to do with. That’s the cool thing about gardening; there’s always next year! Regardless of the month, there are always gardening chores. So, here’s my list of December tasks and tips for the edible garden:
- Looking for a gardening gift for that friend who has everything? Consider a gardening journal. Winter is a good time to start a garden journal and document all the trials and triumphs of the gardening season. When the mailbox gets deluged with seed catalogs for next season, your friend will have a record to refresh his or her memory about which seeds to order and which to avoid.
- If your soil test shows a need for raising the pH, apply dolomitic limestone now so the winter rain and snow can move it into the ground.
- If you have run out of sage, or just want a different flavor, substitute savory or rosemary in your turkey recipe.
- Use a combination of red and green sweet peppers frozen from last summer’s garden to give holiday food a seasonal flair.
- If you are planning to lay out newspapers as mulch next spring, glue them end-to-end this winter and store them in rolls. When needed, the paper mulch unrolls easily and won’t be lifted by the wind before they can be anchored.
- There are several herbs that can be grown in pots in the home during the winter. Parsley is one of the most widely-grown herbs in home gardens and can serve as a houseplant during the winter. The plant will provide fresh green leaves for garnishing or flavoring for egg dishes, soup, fish or potatoes. Chives can also be grown in pots during the winter. The leaves are used to season soups, salads and stews. Finely chopped leaves add delicious flavor to sour cream for dip or salad dressing. Plant seeds in pots filled with rich, well-drained, and sterilized potting mix. Cover the pots with plastic bags or clear wrap until germination occurs. Put the pots in a warm room, in a sunny, southern window and keep the soil moist.
- You still have time to make herb vinegars with chives, shallots, garlic or any herbs on your windowsill. Use approximately 4 ounces of fresh herbs to 1 quart of wine or rice vinegar. Allow the herbs to infuse for at least two weeks.
- Don’t forget to use some of those vegetables still out in your garden: carrots, turnip greens, kale or other hardy vegetables.
The Garden Shed team hopes you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to your visits to The Garden Shed in 2019.
Adapted from The Virginia Gardener by Diane Relf