In between your Christmas shopping and parties, take the time to give your garden some tender loving care. Here's the first part of my December gardening jobs…
Prepare for runner beans
For a bumper crop of runner beans next year, dig a trench and fill it with vegetable peelings over winter. Cover it over with soil in spring, ready for planting the beans in May.
Caring for Christmas hyacinths
Check your pots of forced Christmas hyacinth bulbs. If the shoots are more than 2.5cm (1in) high, and nicely plump, bring the pot indoors. Put it in a cool, light spot, and keep it well watered. The flowers should be in full flower for Christmas.
Service the mower
Get the mower serviced soon, before the rush starts after Christmas. If the weather’s mild, the grass will still grow, so you might need the mower back sooner than you think!
Got a large shrub in the wrong spot?
If the weather’s mild, now’s the best time to move it. Cut it back hard, then dig it up with a rootball that's as big as possible. Re-plant in the new position with plenty of compost or manure.
Protect bulbs from slugs
Keep the slugs off your spring bulbs by sprinkling some grit around the newly emerging young shoots.
Deal with blocked gutters
Stop the rot caused by blocked gutters and drainpipes. Clear them of leaves and twigs before the weather gets worse.