Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
In December the sun rises late and sets early – a perfect time for sitting by the fire in your favorite chair and planning and reflecting. It has been a year of uncertainty and changes for everyone. We have sheltered in place, schooled kids at home and ordered online – a lot.
But it is still December just like every other year and garden chores are constant. Whether you have a city lot or several acres it will be easier to take care of some chores now rather than in the January cold.
Take a slow walk around and see what grew well and where. Get your garden journal out and write it down. I always think I will remember these things, but come planting time in March or April the memories are elusive. Make notes about any bed that needs to be enlarged, composted or mulched. A large pot would look good in that bare corner? Make a note and check online. You might be able to get a good deal on a great pot this time of year.
Be sure you have plenty of wild bird food available for your feeders. Keep the food close at hand so that you will be more likely to refill the feeder in the cold weather. Maybe you can set the feeder where you can watch the birds from your favorite chair.
The longer evenings give you time to go through garden catalogs and websites. Inventory your seeds to check the expiration dates. These dates are on the back of the packet and are usually accurate. Seeds that have far exceeded that date can be added to your bird feeder.
If you have a garden pond, it might need some maintenance. Leaves that have fallen from your, or your neighbor’s, trees need to be removed. They aren’t good for the fish and can plug up your pump. Flush the pump and be sure it is working correctly.
Try to resist trimming back your dormant plants until around February 1. They provide protection for birds and other wildlife.
If you have a firepit and plan to use it during the cold months, stack your firewood close by. You will thank yourself later.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.