December Is Regarded As A Quieter Month, By Some Gardeners, For Veg Growing in the UK. But It Shouldn’t Be. Though It’s Colder There Are Several Seeds That Can Be Sown. And Climate Change Is Increasing The Range Of Seeds And Times We Can Sow.
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What to sow in December? Good question and the amazing thing is that, depending where you are, a lot of seeds will germinate without heat in a greenhouse or even a cold frame. Sheltering from the wind and heavy rain is more important than temperature. Though obviously if we get day after day of frost then nothing is going to grow. In this case, bring the seed indoors on a window sill. Or better still stand it on a floor with underfloor heating if you have it.
My preference is to start many of these crops off earlier, when growth is faster. But all of those below will grow in December and as we harvest and have more space it’s good if we can fill gaps with plants grown specifically for the job.
Here Are My Thoughts on What to Sow In December
Though we can sow several crops this month the number is much lower. So it is worth thinking about microgreens, sprouted seeds and baby plants that can be grown indoors or in an unheated greenhouse.
I’ve written a whole articles on this topic so will not say too much here except that these are plants that can be grown without having to don a pair of wellies and venture outside in the rain or cold winds. Have a look at my article on Sprouted Seeds, Microgreens and Baby Plants or Ten Microgreens for Winter Sowing.
Broad beans can certainly be sown all winter, indoors in pots or direct in the soil/compost outdoors, and this year I’m going to have to sow again as my early winter crop is already tall and in flower. That might sound good but means that the crop is probably going to be affected by the cold if the flowers even get pollinated!
Sow a pot a month throughout winter for a steady supply of aromatic leaves for pizzas, pesto etc. Ideally grown on the kitchen windowsill ready for use.
Any lettuce variety with the word Winter in its name can be sown in December .. and a few others as well.
Mizuna is new to some gardeners but is one of those veg that can be used to fill gaps as harvest creates them and provides a good edible crop relatively quickly.
This is a cut and come again crop tasting of wasabi that will crop for six months from a single sowing. It’s a hardy annual that, if it starts to bolt, can be cut back hard after which it will start to leaf up again. It can also be sown as a micro-salad.
A few onion varieties can be sown in December for early summer harvest.
Sowing is plugs or modules inside is a good way to start parsley at this time of year.
For either pea shoots or for pods later in the spring, now is a good time to sow as peas are a lot hardier than most people believe. My latest sowing is a crop of mangetout.
One good method is to start peas in a piece of recycled gutter in a greenhouse or tunnel. Suspending the gutter from string is a good way to keep hungry mice away from the seed!
Then once the plants have a few true leaves transplant them. You do this by preparing a shallow depression in the soil or compost and allowing the compost and plants to “flow” out of the guttering into the depression. Holding the guttering at 45 degrees to the soil and gradually pulling the uttering away is the theory. Though in practice the “long module” sometimes shows a bit of reluctance to slide easily out of the gutter. With a bit of practice, the skill can however be mastered!
I sow White Lisbon all year around. At this time of year I go for multi-seeded modules.
This is one crop I’d use some heat to germinate. A windowsill at least and a propagator if need be. The flavour is wonderful and packs even more punch that basil.
This post builds on what to grow in the previous months of the year. You can see November here
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