Monday, December 15, 2008

December Gardening Calendar, Zone 7

Yes, I realize the month is halfway gone, but I thought I'd share this since I'm already sitting here, glad to have one more excuse not to get up and clean my house :D

Thanks to the Alabama Gardener's Calendar, The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and the Alabama Master Gardener Association handbook!


•Vegetable Seed - You can still plant cabbage and lettuce in cold frames.
•If you haven't already, spread manure, rotted sawdust and leaves over beds and turn under; this organic matter improves the fertility, physical structure and water-holding capacity of the soil.
•Take a soil sample to allow plenty of time to get the report back. Lime applied now will be of more benefit next year than if it is applied in the spring before planting. Apply Dolomitic limestone in order to get both calcium and magnesium.
•Continue saving leaves for the compost heap. Take an "inventory." Maybe you had too much of some vegetables and not enough of others - or maybe there were some unnecessary "skips" in the supply. Perhaps some insect, disease or nematode problem got the upper hand. Make a note about favorite varieties. Start planning next year's garden now!
•It’s wise to order flower and vegetable seeds in December or January, while the supply is plentiful. Review the results of last year's garden and order the more successful varieties.
•Check the viability of seeds left over from last year by placing some in damp paper towels and observing the germination percentage. If the percentage is low, order new ones.
•Before sending your seed order, draw a map of the garden area and decide the direction and length of the rows, how much row spacing is needed for each vegetable, whether or not to plant on raised beds, and other details. That way, you won't order too many seeds. This same advice applied to the flower garden. Try new cultivars, add more color, change the color scheme, layer the colors by having taller and shorter plants - don't do it the same way year after year.
•Look around for tools you do not have and put these on your Christmas list.
Dig potatoes or buy more, put carrots in buckets of sand, hang onions, etc. Put up any additional cold frames and mulch plants to over-winter. Preserve remaining food if necessary. It's also not too late to gather nuts - my side yard is still full of hickory nuts!

It's not too late to make up some baskets of homemade goodies for Holiday gifts!

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