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December Gardening Tips

Satsuma Mandarins

Tips for your Garden in December

as recommended by Charla Anthony

With minimal planting and harvesting tasks, the month of December offers the home gardener respite. It is an opportune time to reflect on your garden’s production or research new growing opportunities. During this holiday season, perhaps friends or family will be gifted produce from your garden, perhaps a salsa, pickled okra, herbal vinegar or jam. Homegrown and homemade make for great gifts. Don’t forget to keep a close eye on weather predications and be ready to protect plants in the event of a freeze. Here are a few more garden activities for the month.

Things to plant:

  • Seeds: carrots and lettuce
  • Small plants: arugula, brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Herbs: dill, fennel, oregano and parsley seedlings

 

  • Beets, collards, lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, turnips as well as citrus, pecans and persimmons.
  • Citrus – Satsuma mandarins

 

My parents often told me how excited they were as children to find an orange in their Christmas stocking. They reminisced of holiday fruit salads made with the orange and freshly grated coconut. Known as ambrosia, this delicacy was also a part of our family’s holiday meals. It was difficult for me to imagine their excitement, but I came to understand that during their childhood, if one wanted fresh citrus in Texas, you waited until December or January. Today’s plant breeding programs have made it possible to grow wonderful citrus as a home gardener. As one of the more cold hardy, the satsuma mandarin hybrids are a good choice for Central Texas –Miho, Seto and particularly the Orange Frost and Arctic Frost varieties.

Plant:                   March to June

Light:                   full sun

Water:                 average

Soil needs:          well-drained

Fertilization:      regularly during the growing season

Trees that can be 8 to 10 feet tall and wide, may be grown in ground or in large containers. As young trees, they will need protection during extreme cold. Similar to other citrus trees, these satsuma mandarins are evergreen, but they are not grafted. So if a tree does get cold damage, it will usually come back true if it has to regrow from the roots. Depending on the weather and variety, these fruit that are mostly seedless, ripen from October through November. For additional information on these varieties, see the website: http://texassuperstar.com/plants/index.html

 

 

Charla Anthony is the Brazos County horticulturist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Bryan, Texas. Find local gardening information at brazosmg.com. Gardening question? Call 979-823-0129 or email cmanthony@ag.tamu.edu

 

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