December Garden in the Southern Hemisphere

Beans bush flowering
Bush beans
Bush beans flowering

December brings the arrival of summer to the Southern Hemisphere vegetable garden. Warm-season crops can still be planted this month. Spring-planted crops will come to harvest this month. 

If you are preparing for your summer Christmas holiday, make sure that the vegetable garden is well mulched before you go. Mulch will keep the weeds down and conserve the moisture in the soil while you are away.

December is not too early to consider breaking out the shade cloth to protect the tender plants from the summer heat that should be upon us next month.

And December is the month to plan ahead for winter in the southern hemisphere. Winter crops such as beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, and cool-weather Chinese vegetables can be planted before this month is finished. By the time they are up to size, the summer weather will be on its way out.

Look for the first harvest of early tomatoes towards the end of this month. How about a garden-fresh tomato sandwich on Christmas Day! Pinch out the growing tips on cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash now before they get a firm grip on the rest of the garden. Also, begin to monitor fruit trees to make sure young limbs aren’t carrying too much weight.

Here is a planting schedule by region for the southern hemisphere in December:

Second planting of cucumbers

Temperate Regions December Planting

Vegetables: beans, beets (beetroot), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cape gooseberry, capsicum (sweet pepper), carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, chicory, chilies, cress, cucumber, eggplant, endive, leeks, lettuce, marrow (courgette), melons, mustard, spring onion, parsnip, peas, pumpkin, radish rhubarb crown, salsify, Swiss chard (silverbeet), squash, sweet corn, tomato, zucchini.

Herbs: basil, borage, caraway, celeriac, chamomile, chervil, chilies, chives, fennel, hyssop, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, thyme.

Peppers growing
Pepper plants with plastic mulch to protect against rain

Tropical and Subtropical Northern Regions Planting

Vegetables: beans, cabbage, cape gooseberry, capsicum (sweet pepper), celery, Chinese cabbage, cress, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, lettuce, marrow, melons, mustard, okra, parsnip, peas, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb crowns, silverbeet (Swiss chard), spring onion, squash, strawberry runners, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini.

young beet plants
Young beet plants

Cooler Southern Regions Planting

Vegetables: beans, beet (beetroot), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, cress, cucumber, endive, leeks, lettuce, marrow, okra, spring onion, parsnip, potato tubers, radish, rhubarb crowns, salsify, Swiss chard (silverbeet), spinach, squash, Swedes (rutabaga), sweet corn, zucchini. Herbs: borage, chamomile, chervil, chives, coriander, hyssop, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, thyme.

apricots on tree
Apricots come to harvest this month

December Harvest Schedule for the Southern Hemisphere

Here is a roundup of vegetables and fruits ready for harvest during December in the Southern Hemisphere:

Vegetables: Beans, beet (beetroot), early corn, cucumber, lettuce, Swiss chard (silverbeet), tomatoes, turnip, zucchini.

Fruit: Apricots, cape gooseberries, cherries, gooseberries, grapefruit, lemons, loganberries, nectarines, oranges, passionfruit, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Olive tree pruning

Pruning Olive Trees

December Garden in the Northern Hemisphere