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Garden Tasks for December

Flowers and shrubs

- Plant Begonias, impatiens, calendula, dahlias, echinacea, verbena, alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, nemesia, salvia, penstemon, nicotiana, Peruvian lily.

- There is still time to plant out some annuals or potted colour to have the garden looking colourful in time for Christmas - try alyssum, lobelia, petunia and zinnias.

- Cut back roses when they have finished flowering so they re-bloom in time for Valentine's Day.

- Also prune hydrangeas after they have flowered, to encourage lots of flowers next season

- If you have sweetpeas in your garden, make sure you provide good meshing or line support for the vines to climb up - more vines mean more flowers.

Vegetables and fruit

- Plant cucumbers, celery, pumpkins, spring onions, capsicums, citrus, berries, tamarillos, grapes, kiwifruit

- Keep making successional plantings this month of lettuces, beans, courgettes, cucumbers, radishes, beetroot, tomatoes, sweet corn.

- All fruit trees will benefit from a feed in December - fertilise around the drip line.

- Water your citrus trees well so you end up with lots of juicy fruit. Give them a good soaking every few days, and feed regularly with a good quality citrus food.

- Keep pinching back lateral side shoots on tomatoes so that all their energy goes into producing 'fruit' and not stems and leaves.

Pests and general tasks

- Insects can be a real problem at this time of year so be vigilant and spray with something like Tui Insect Control for Flowers as soon as you see them, or give the plant a blast with the hose if there's not too many.

- Keep laying Tui Quash slug & snail control to prevent slugs and snails ruining your veges.

- Keep mulching the garden to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay

- Remember to water plants in the morning or later in the evening - watering during the heat of the day can scorch leaves plus the water will evaporate much faster so your plants won't get a decent drink.

- When watering focus the water on the ground and roots of your plants, rather than spraying water all over the foliage. This will help prevent the spread of fungus diseases and will ensure plants get the water they need. Remember a good soaking every few days is more beneficial than a daily light sprinkling.