The slow down of growth in the kitchen garden at this time of the year is a welcome break. It allows the gardener to take reflection on what grew well, assess failed crops and plan for the growing season ahead and maybe just maybe take a couple of days off.
December job list
With short daylight hours coupled with cold wet and windy conditions, winter meals are a welcome sight, made using summer produce. Continue to use and check from time to time on stored root vegetables as well as Carrots and Beetroots stored in crates of soft sand.
Check for disease damage such as mildew and botrytis on winter salads. Keep greenhouse ventilated as humid as air gives rises to such diseases. Water sparingly the overwintering varieties of onion sets and seedlings that were started late September. Now is the time to sow spring varieties of Onion seeds in either seed or module trays. In a heated greenhouse Peppers, Chilli and Aubergine varieties can be sown, as they can be notorious to germinate. Keep sowing and harvesting winter varieties of Lettuce.
Place cloches over tender Herbs and mulch around crowns of perennial herbs to protect them the harshest of winter conditions. Keep harvesting Leeks, Cabbages, Kale and Brussels Sprouts. A job that must be performed is staking Brussels Sprout plants with short stakes on the windward side and tying plant to the stake.
Pick Brussels Sprouts from the bottom of the stalk upward, only as many as you need, leaving the rest to grow on the stalk (or harvest an entire stalk)
If ground is not too frozen, dig slit trenches for where Beans will be planted next year. On a few of the mature rhubarb crowns, large forcing pots can be placed over them. If unavailable, use a tall upturned plastic bin.
Check on adequate netting on all brassica. If kitchen garden is in cold areas, potted bay trees may need sheltering from the worst winter weather.