Regional Gardening Guide - Zone 7-8
December 1 to December 31-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.
Here’s what’s happening in your gardening region:
There’s not a lot of time for gardening between holiday get togethers and work obligations shoehorned in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but you can keep your thoughts on gardening during this busy time. In fact, doing just that might help mitigate some of the stress of the year-end hustle. You can continue to plant cool-weather vegetables and flowers if you have the time, and woody ornamentals (trees and shrubs) as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Most of our gardening activities will involve a comfy seat on the couch or a spot in the kitchen, though.
Your Regional reporter
Katie Elzer-Peters is the author of Beginner's Illustrated Guide to Gardening, Carolinas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, Southern Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, and many other vegetable gardening books. She lives in coastal North Carolina, where she enjoys four-season gardening.
To see what Katie's doing in her garden. Click Here!
1. Learn to cook with winter vegetables
You’ll always enjoy the best meals if you eat what is in season. The winter affords us a bounty of fresh produce from which to cook, including, but not limited to: pumpkin and winter squash, greens—including arugula, mustard greens, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips, rutabegas, mushrooms, colllards, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and more. A fun, functional, and tasty way to cook with seasonal produce is to chop up a bunch of root vegetbles, lightly toss in olive oil, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees until fork-tender. (About 20-25 minutes.) Here are some other recipes to enjoy, including a Pork & Sauerkraut recipe perfect for New Year’s Day!
2. Get your seed order done - fast!
Burpee has assembled some fantastic seed collections in the name of holiday giving, but there’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of them yourself! Make quick work of your seed order by treating yourself to the “New in 2017 All Star Collection,” “Easy to Grow Flower Collection,” and the “Easy to Grow Vegetable Collection.” While those collections might not be the end of your order, they will certainly get you started on the path to gardening success in 2017!
3. Learn about organic gardening
If you can’t or don’t want to get out in the garden this month, the next best thing is to spend some time learning and reading about gardening. If you’re thinking about “growing organic” next year, these are some resources to help you get started.
4. Feed the birds
Do a little outdoor decorating for the holidays with Burpee seed wreaths. They have varying ingredients, including peanut hearts, safflower seeds, nyger seeds, black oil sunflower, and red and white millet. Birds that receive food during the winter tend to fledge more chicks (raise them to maturity), so this is decorating you can feel good about! If you can, keep the birdbath clean, full, and thawed throughout the winter, as well. This season is stressful for birds, just as it is for humans!
5. Give the gift of a greenhouse
Listen, go big or go home, right? This winter give the gift of a greenhouse, to yourself or your favorite gardener. The Harmony Series Greenhouse by Palram is a perfect starter greenhouse that’s easy to assemble in the backyard. Order a bench (or two) and a heating mat, and you’re “good to grow!”