PRODUCTION

December Garden Tips with Mike Darcy


December 14, 2020

As I walk through my December garden, I enjoy hearing the crunch of fallen leaves under my feet and looking around and observing the many colors and textures there are. There is always something to do in the garden but I think that December can be a ‘low key’ time when there is less of a sense of urgency.

 December Garden Blog

Here are some December tips:
· Feed the birds
· Turn the compost pile
· Poinsettia care
· Plant a Camellia sasanqua
· Check for standing water

Feeding and bird watching can be a great December activity. I like to encourage birds into my garden and over the years I have tried black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts, cracked corn, bird seed mixes, suet, Nyjer thistle, etc.

December Garden Tips Gold Finch

All of these, and more, are available at Wilco and the selection is excellent. I suggest you try several and then decide which works best for you and the birds you want to attract.

Plastic Magnum Nyjer Screen Bird Feeder/

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In my garden, I tend to like to attract smaller birds such as finches, bushtits, chickadees, wrens, etc. The ‘meat’ or heart of sunflowers is a favorite food and I use this seed in a squirrel-proof feeder. I always have a suet block hanging where we can watch from our family room windows and we get many small birds as well as two different woodpeckers, the Downy Woodpecker and the Northern Flicker. Always have a water source close to your feeders.

Nature's Nuts Sunflower Suet

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If you have a compost bin in your garden, it is a good idea to turn it over and mix it all up occasionally during the winter. It is important to have both brown material, (dead leaves, twigs), and green material, (grass clippings, vegetable waste, coffee grounds), and turning the compost pile will mix these two materials together. Turning also provides aeration which helps speed up the composting process. A good spading fork is essential.

Green Thumb Master Series D-Handle Steel & Wood Digging Fork, 30 in.

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With a little care, today’s poinsettias will last well past the Christmas/New Year holiday season. Plants have been bred to be compact growing and to retain their leaf color throughout the season. What we often refer to as the “flowers” are actually modified leaves called bracts. Poinsettias are a tropical plant and do not want to be in a dark corner of the house. Keep them away from forced air heating vents as well as doors and windows where there might be a draft. Your poinsettia may be wrapped with a foil sleeve around the pot and if so, when the plant is dry and needing water, take the pot out of the sleeve and give in a thorough soaking in the kitchen sink. Let the pot drain before placing it back in the sleeve.

If you live on the western side of the Cascades, consider planting a Camellia sasanqua. This variety blooms during the winter months and is ideal for an espalier or planted in a container. It can provide a bright spot of color during some of our overcast days. ‘Yuletide’ is one of the most popular and is properly named for this season. It has bright red flowers and is a profuse bloomer.

After a rain, walk around your garden and check for standing water. Poor drainage will cause plants to suffer and while the drainage issue would still be there in the summer, it might not be visibly evident. Now is a good time to check out such areas and correct the problem before the growing season.

I wish you all a happy new year and may 2021 bring us back to some normalcy.


We would love to see your garden projects, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag Wilco Stores.


MIKE’S GARDEN IS LOCATED IN OREGON’S WILLAMETTE VALLEY AND HIS ADVICE IS CONSISTENT WITH THE MILD CLIMATE THERE.
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