Time to Plan Your December Gardening to Do List

Time to Plan Your December Gardening to Do List

It’s the end of another glorious gardening year. Regardless of your region, it’s time to evaluate your garden and consider any changes you might want to make for next year. What were the aspects you loved about your garden? What did you not like so much? Ideally, photos and a written record of your accomplishments and ‘failures’ will help guide you to an even more fruitful 2022.

All regions require a review of growth, damage, and sustainability, but each zone has specific tasks that should be on your December gardening to-do list. Wherever your green space happens to exist, implementing a deer fence will meet and exceed the requirements for your garden and landscape issues. It will keep wildlife critters, large and small, out of the area, giving your plants and soil a head start for the coming year.

You must protect your garden and open areas against pests and other vermin. They reproduce fast and can quickly destroy small to medium plants and other vegetation. Having a fence means that they will not be able to enter your gardens and fields. This is one aspect that many landowners tend to forget about. 


Winter comes quickly in the northeast, so once December hits, be prepared to batten down the hatches.

  • Scan shrubs and trees for any bark damage. If discovered, eliminate the likelihood of deer, rabbits, or voles in your immediate area.
  • Gather gardening tools and securely put them in a shed or the house. Remember that they should be cleaned, oiled, rust-free, and properly sharpened before storing.
  • Spray evergreen foliage with anti-desiccant to limit dehydration.

If you are not proactive at the beginning, the harsh weather conditions will not permit you to take additional precautions later on.


The Midwest region of the United States deals with many frigid temperatures, ice, and wind. Keeping outdoor areas adequately inspected and maintained is at the top of your priority list.

  • Repair any damage to windbreak fencing. This is likely to be a continual effort throughout the winter.
  • Remove snowfall from paths to the garden to better clear fallen limbs and further inspect foliage.
  • Inspect shrubs and trees for damage. Consider installing a deer fence to protect against rabbits and deer.

A proper understanding of rodents and other pests in the region should give you an idea about the precautions you need to take. With food sources drying up during winter months, pests try to attack barns and other food storage facilities in and around the farm.

Pacific Coast

To the north, the wet season has begun. And in the south, moisture may be pretty limited.

Northern Pacific Coastline:

  • Now is the time to fertilize winter-flowering shrubs.
  • With conditions being moist, check all foliage for snails.
  • Apply row covers to plants to protect them from unexpected cold snaps.

Southern Pacific Coastline:

  • Now is the time to plant cool-season vegetables like kale, peas, cabbage, and broccoli.
  • Trim ornamental grasses to encourage new growth.
  • Discontinue pruning rose bushes.

This is a time when a lot of the farmers need to start working on their landscapes and crops. This also means ensuring that your fields and garden are always protected. Any problems in this area can be detrimental to your garden and fields.

Pacific Northwest

Although the weather is likely wet, temperatures are usually comfortable in the Pacific Northwest in December.

  • Plant any new shrubs and trees.
  • Get spring bulbs into the ground.
  • Pull weeds that remain in the garden. Since the soil is likely to be moist, weeds will be easier to pull; however, be careful not to step on the wet soil as it can become hardened, posing issues in the spring.


The southwest is known for its unpredictability in December, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.

  • In low desert regions, plant your cool season vegetables like peas, Swiss chard, cabbage, and broccoli.
  • Cut asparagus back to the ground once it dies.
  • Use row covers to protect your tender plants.


Florida is a large state with different December climates. Southern Florida tends to remain the same – hot and moist – while the rest of Florida may have a random cold snap, so be prepared depending on where you live.

  • Grow the cooler-weather plants such as peas, lettuce, and spinach.
  • Cover more tender plants during cold snaps with row covers.
  • Discontinue fertilizing plants, as it can cause damage during cold weather.


December is usually a time for a moderation in temperature in the southeast, which tends to be a welcome reprieve.

  • Plant shrubs and trees; add compost to your garden.
  • When temperatures fall, cover tender plants with row covers.
  • Plant your spring flowering bulbs.


Due to its proximity to the ocean, December is usually mild in the mid-Atlantic region.

  • Apply mulch to your garden for protection from the worst cold that is yet to come.
  • Shelter shrubs that will need protection from heavy snow and ice.
  • Water shrubs and newly planted trees up until the ground becomes frozen.

No matter what region you call home, make sure to check any corn, tubers or bulbs that you’ve been storing to see if they’ve rotted or dried out. Order any seeds that you’d like to plant in the spring and enjoy the cooler more moderate temperatures that December offers.

The Bottom Line

No matter whether you are pursuing gardening as a personal hobby or with a professional inclination, you need to ensure that you are paying attention to the points mentioned in the article. Installing a fence, educating and informing your knowledge on gardening issues is essential to keeping and maintaining a healthy garden.

If you would like us to address any other issues or points in the article, please let us know in the comments below. We would like to address as many of your doubts as possible in this regard.


    Venessa Brown

    Wow! Gardening tips are the best ones because they come from so much experience always! I have got small greenhouse kits recently for my garden and they are quite interesting. I am loving how my garden looks with them!


    Why don’t people talk more about the benefits of compost and soil building during the winter months? We eat so much food and create so much organic waste as we gorge ourselves for the holidays. That waste could feed our earthworms. The eggshells we crack for our pie crusts and cookies should be going toward our plants for fertile late fall calcium boosts. If people are seriously interested in gardening, why not talk about filthy things like dirt? With all the clean up and refuse that naturally occurs as our species consumes natural comforts, shouldn’t we be boosting our mulching skills so there is less weeding next spring and our gardens suffer less from potential frost? What about building cold frames to increase our growing season? There are a billion genuine life style changes that anyone could do to shift the way we interact with the natural world, instead of just checking off to do lists like monkeys convinced they are sentient.

    I’m sorry. I just think this article leaves a lot to be desired. It feels like a few short task lists instead of genuine wisdom or discussions of the nitty gritty real parts of gardening. In my humble, unimportant, completely non expert opinion, this is a badly written article.

    I mean when am I supposed to plant my cockle shells and silver bells anyway? In which row should I line up my pretty maids? I mean, when is anyone going to talk about important stuff like that? Thanks but no thanks. I get better tips from the annual farmers almanac, and they have to steal their intellectual information from the people that enter their monthly contests. its in their fine print.

    next time you intend to print an article, find real gardeners, not journalists tryin to make a buck. thanks.

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