In this issue:

  1. December in the Garden
  2. Garden Safety
  3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Fruit Tree Pruning
  4. Gardenerd Product of the Month: 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success

1. December in the Garden

Whether you have put your garden to bed for winter, or you’re deep into harvesting your cool-weather crops, December is a time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. It’s a time to ponder winter’s gifts.

Our test garden is growing strong, as is our community garden plot. We’re harvesting carrots, beets, chard, radishes, lettuces, arugula, mustard greens, and kale. Our other brassicas have grown too big for their floating row cover so it’s time to switch to hand inspection for cabbage worms every other day. Our late-planted turnips are sprouted, along with parsnips and more winter radishes. This week we’re pruning fruit trees (see below for how). For those with snow, now’s the time to flip through seed catalogs!

We’ll be taking some time off for the holidays and we’ll see you in 2019. Enjoy the winter garden, seed catalogs, and all that tasty goodness that goes with it.

Happy Holidays,


Winter harvest
Spinach, lettuce, carrots, beets, chard and cilantro top the list of winter’s gifts.


2. Garden Safety

I wish I could say I fell off the ladder while pruning trees on my property, but the truth is I had already come down. I stepped over a trailing rosemary shrub, caught my foot on it and fell face-first onto the driveway.

Luckily I didn’t impale myself with pruning shears, nor did I break a limb. But I did bruise my face and knee pretty badly, and broke a tooth. Seems like a perfect time to talk about garden safety, doesn’t it!?

Christy face damage
Facial contusions, a chipped tooth, a split lip, and a bruised ego.
  1. Don’t do ladder work alone – make sure someone in your household or neighborhood knows you’re climbing a ladder. Every time, without fail. Keep your cell phone close by so you can call if something happens.
  2. Holster your tools – don’t carry tools up a ladder with you. Place tools in a pocket or hang them from the ladder so you can grab them once you climb. Same goes for getting down. ALWAYS holster your tools before descending. If not you could end up like this guy.
  3. Wear gloves – gloves can prevent cuts and splinters, but they also buffer the impact when you fall. I have bruises on both hands, but no abrasions or cuts because I was wearing gloves.
  4. Prune properly – if removing large branches, use proper techniques to reduce length and weight before removing a branch. See our video on fruit tree pruning below for details. Clear the area around you to prevent tripping hazards.
  5. Get checked out – if something does happen, don’t suck it up. Go to the emergency room and get the x-ray, CT scan, stitches, etc. If you land on your face like I did, you’ll need antibiotics to prevent infection. Busted lips ALWAYS get infected. Don’t think yours won’t. Just go to the hospital.

Take these safety tips to heart for a safe tree-pruning season this year and every year.

3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Fruit Tree Pruning

December is the time for pruning fruit trees that have gone dormant in warm-winter climates. Here’s a video to show how to choose the right branches, and the proper way to make cuts for reducing or removing branches.

4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success

400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success

Need a quick gift this holiday season? 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success is the perfect gift for the Gardenerds in your life. It’s digital, ships across email, and is easily readable from any Kindle App (which is free to download, BTW). Get your copy today!

400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success


Stay tuned for more tips and tidbits from Happy winter gardening!

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