The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

This Month in Your Garden - January

‘The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies’ – Gertrude Jekyll


If you’re so inclined and the weather isn’t too inclement there is plenty to be getting on with in the garden in January. For many of us the long range weather reports are indicating above average temperatures and even some sunshine but we shall see, won’t we?

We can put our trust in time-worn tasks for this month and first on the list is: have you had your garden tractor or mower and power tools serviced in readiness for the spring? If you have a non-heated greenhouse it’s good to ventilate it ready for sowing, assuming it has already been cleaned and disinfected. If the ground is not frozen you can still plant new fruit bushes, bare root roses, shrubs, hedging and trees. Prune apple and pear trees, dig over vacant borders and let the frost help break down the soil to a good tilth. It is actually the last chance to sow native tree and shrub seeds as well as alpines.

The Lawn Care Guide - January

Life begins the day you start a garden  – Chinese proverb


We tend to think there’s nothing much to be done to the lawn in January but if the weather is mild it’s a good time to repair bumps and hollows by making cuts in an H shape in the turf with a spade. Peel back the grass and fill the hollow with loam or remove what’s causing a bump. Press the turf back into place bringing the cut edges together. If there is an area needing a larger repair you can lay a new turf, but again only do this if the weather is mild.

If it’s frosty, needless to say, keep off the lawn if you can. Walking on it causes ‘frost burn’ which may leave blackened foot impressions on the surface. In dry weather generally tidying up edges with an edging tool or edging shears is another job well done. Picking out weeds each time you see them is a help towards having a weed-free lawn come spring, without the need for herbicide.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q.  I have read that aerating the lawn is essential for healthy grass growth. Can I do it now?

The Vegetable Plot - January

‘If soil has a bank account, vegetables make the biggest withdrawals.’ Dan Barber 


Working lots of organic matter into vegetable borders and planning a rotation system so the same crops are not grown in the same beds will help feed hungry vegetables and prevent the build up of disease. Drainage on heavy soil will also be improved and leaving heavy soil exposed allows the frost to kill pests and as the soil water freezes and thaws the soil structure will improve. So digging over and treating the border in January is a useful garden task that will also keep you exercised and warm.

The Big Glut Recipe

Pork Tenderloin with rhubarb, onion and tarragon


A dish for six using rhubarb (which is a vegetable) Danish style as a match for the sweet-tasting pork. Recipe courtesy of House & Garden.

Ingredients
  • 2 x 600g pork tenderloins, trimmed 
  • 50g salted butter
  • 4 shallots, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 200g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp whole black peppercorns, crushed 
  • 10 sprigs tarragon