Gardening in December III

Part three of our guide to getting your garden ready for winter.

Here’s the final advice from about what you should be doing in the garden this month.

If you haven’t already done so, clean out the greenhouse thoroughly. Wash the glass, the floor and the staging with horticultural disinfectant to kill any overwintering pests and diseases.
Wash and disinfect capillary matting before storing it away.
Brush heavy snow off of greenhouses and cold frames to prevent the glass being damaged.
Insulate outdoor taps or turn them off at the mains. Also pack away hoses that are not required.
Ventilate the greenhouse on warmer days to reduce humidity and the risk of disease.
Prepare greenhouse borders for next spring by working in some manure. Leave enough space to add compost later on.
Propagate perennials from root cuttings including phlox, Oriental poppies and mint.
Plant bulbs in large pots of compost ready to fill any gaps in spring borders.
Water plants sparingly to maintain as dry an atmosphere as possible.
Keep an eye out for aphids over-wintering on your plants, remove them by hand or use a pesticide.
Protect your Poinsettias from cold draughts and allow them to dry out slightly between waterings to make them last for the whole Christmas period and well into January.
Wash down all of your garden tools and give them a wipe of linseed oil on the wooden and metal areas to help prevent rusting.
Choose a dry day to clear out the garden shed in preparation for the spring.
Repair fences and apply a wood preservative to prevent them from rotting.
Group potted plants together in a sheltered spot in the garden to give them some protection from the winter weather.
Check tree ties and stakes to ensure that trees are still secure following strong autumn winds. Tighten or loosen ties if necessary.
Wash and disinfect bird feeders and bird tables. Clean out bird baths too.
Hang fat balls and keep bird feeders topped up to attract birds, who will in turn eat pests in your garden.
Continue to collect fallen leaves and add to leaf bins or compost bins to rot down.
Turn your compost heaps to mix the ingredients and help the contents to decompose.
Check your winter protection structures are still securely in place
Check that greenhouse heaters are working
Prevent ponds and stand pipes from freezing
Cover compost bins with a piece of old carpet or some plastic sheeting to prevent the compost becoming too cold and wet to rot down.
Plant bareroot native hedges to encourage wildlife and create attractive boundaries around your garden.
Rake a pile of old logs in an undisturbed corner of the garden to provide shelter for toads and other wildlife.
Collect brightly coloured stems and berries for your Christmas decorations.
Protect vulnerable plants. Fleece is very effective, but if you prefer something less obtrusive, a circle of wire-netting filled with bracken or leaves will keep the cold at bay.
Cover empty vegetable beds with fleece or clear (not back) plastic, which will warm the soil so it is easier to work.
And finally, did you know the colourful wrappers of Quality Street sweets are compostable? They are made from cellulose, derived from wood pulp, so rather than chuck them in the bin with your Christmas wrapping paper place them on your compost heap!