Potted Plant With Sprouting Seedlings
dec ne
(Image credit: Mitya)

By December, some folks want to take a break from the garden, but the truly diehard know that there are still plenty of December tasks to be done when gardening in the Northeast.

Northeast gardening chores continue until the ground has frozen solid and even then, there are things like planning the next season’s garden that can be worked on. The following Northeast regional to-do list will help accomplish December garden tasks that will make the successive growing season even more successful.

Northeast Gardening for the Holidays

The Northeast gets inundated with cold temperatures and snow soon enough, but before the weather has you stuck inside, there are a number of December garden tasks to attend to.

If you have had it with gardening and are more geared up to celebrate the holidays, many of you will be looking for a Christmas tree. If you are cutting or buying a fresh tree, keep it in a cool area for as long as possible and, before purchasing, give the tree a good shake to see how many needles fall. The fresher the tree the less needles will drop.

Some people prefer to get a living tree. Choose a tree that is in a large container or has been wrapped in burlap and has a good-sized root ball.

Spruce up the house by adding festive houseplants, not only poinsettia, but amaryllis, kalanchoe, cyclamen, orchids or other colorful options.

Regional To-Do List for Northeast Gardening

December garden tasks don’t just revolve around the holidays. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to cover tender perennials with mulch and turn the soil in the veggie garden to uproot over-wintering insects and reduce their numbers next year. Also, if you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to amend the soil with compost and/or lime.

December is a great time to take hardwood cuttings from deciduous trees and shrubs. Bury the cutting in sand in a cold frame or out in the garden for planting in the early spring. Check arborvitae and junipers for bagworms and remove by hand.

Additional December Garden Tasks

When gardening in the Northeast, you may want to remember your feathered friends in December. Clean their bird feeders and fill them up. If you are deterring the deer with fencing, inspect the fencing for any holes and repair them.

Once you are done with outdoor chores, wash the foliage of large leaved houseplants with a light solution of soap and water to clear the pores of dust and grime. Consider putting a humidifier in areas of the home filled with houseplants. The drying air of winter is hard on them and you will breathe better as well.

Stock up on fertilizer, kitty litter, or sand. Use these instead of damaging salt on icy paths and drives.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.