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.
Friday, 7 December 2012
December’s Braised Celery Vinaigrette
- A casserole with a lid
- 3 heads of celery
- 425ml (15fl oz) vegetable stock
- 150ml (5floz) dry white wine
- Zest of a ¼ of a lemon
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 2tbsp chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon mixed pepper berries, crushed
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Leek and Potato SoupA doddle, so why buy cartons or cans of soup when this simple home-made recipe will put smiles on November faces?
- 4 leeks, chopped
- 4 large potatoes, cubed
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 800ml (1½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock
- 300ml (1/2 pint) single cream
- Grated nutmeg
- Natural yoghurt
- Parsley, chopped
If there’s frost on the lawn it’s best to keep off the grass to save any damage but if it warms up finish clearing up leaves and get control over any moss and worm casts.
If you have finished mowing why not get the lawn mower or garden tractor in for a service – leave it too late and you could get caught out next year.
Edges can be trimmed up and any overhanging shrubs pruned back. An application of autumn and winter fertiliser will benefit the lawn and bare areas can still be seeded. It’s still a good time to lay turf for a new lawn unless the ground is frozen or too wet to walk on.
Monday, 1 October 2012
Cauliflowers may need some protection by bending outer leaves over any hearts forming. Continue to blanch endive if you started in August and September. Fruit growth on peaches, nectarines and apricots under glass can still ripen given the right conditions.
Cut back asparagus and globe artichokes. Transfer cauliflowers grown in the open in September to a frame and only close the when there is danger of frost. You can guard your apples and pears against winter moth by putting grease bands around the tree trunks to trap grubs. This will help protect next year’s crop.
October’s pumpkin and pasta bake
- 400g (14oz) of pasta shapes
- 1 500g jar of ready-made tomato pasta sauce with onions and garlic
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 500g (18oz) pumpkin or squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced into 2cm chunks
- 1/2 red pepper, sliced
- 1/2 green pepper, sliced
- 400g (14oz) can cannellini beans, drained
- A small handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped
- Zest of a lemon
- Juice of the whole lemon
- 3tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- 80g (3oz) parmesan cheese, grated
- 150g (5oz) low fat buffalo mozzarella, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
Monday, 3 September 2012
Bulbs and corms can go in now, in fact many will benefit from planting before the end of September and reward with a bright, early show as spring approaches.
Saturday, 1 September 2012
Gratin of courgette, tomato and GruyèreThis makes great use of a glut of courgettes and tomatoes, as a lunch or light supper dish for two, with a salad perhaps and crusty bread. Or you could serve it as a side dish when feeding more people.
- 3 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 courgettes, sliced
- 100g Gruyère, grated
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 400g tin plum tomatoes
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Preparing to sow or turf a lawnWhat do you want to use the lawn for? If the kids are going to play football on it you’ll need a tough, rye grass mixture. If you want the finest grass it will need lots of attention. Creeping grasses will be mixed with tufted grass for better cover and wear resistance. Broad leaved grasses such as perennial rye can be mixed with narrow leaved fescue for a stronger turf that needs little attention.
August’s apple and blackberry crumbleAn end of August into September treat with Bramley or similar tart cooking apples. Or in October, November or anytime for that matter.
Friday, 29 June 2012
With plenty of water around and the warmer temperatures of summer, the grass just keeps growing. The wetter it gets, the longer it grows. So is it OK to mow wet grass? With the correct equipment... yes it can be.
July’s Broad Bean, Pea and Pancetta RisottoHard to choose with so many fresh vegetables available and all sorts of summer salads, the barbecue to light, picnics to enjoy. Here’s a dish for now (or anytime if you use frozen beans and peas). Serves 4 with a nice glass of light white wine.
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Cleve West, winner of ‘best in show’ at RHS Chelsea in 2011 and 2012, will be sharing images of his work and wisdom on gardening - for flowers and vegetables alike, for beauty and nutrition, - in the conditions of both drought and flood we’re experiencing this year.
Women in rural India encounter severe water challenges with their precious kitchen gardens. Good water-harvesting and composting makes all the difference. One million Indian children die from diarrhoea every year – many because they do not have access to clean and safe drinking water.
Cleve’s talk, followed by Q&A and drinks is being kindly hosted by the Lensbury Club in their beautiful riverside ‘Pavillion’.
Friday, 1 June 2012
Give existing lawns the last treatment of lawn sand and weed killers that destroy broad leaf weeds.
Thursday, 31 May 2012
Eton MessWhat better on a June evening than this traditional English dessert? Various tales of its origin exist, including one of a Labrador who sat on the strawberries and cream. More factually it was served in the 1930’s in Eton College’s “sock shop” or tuck shop, made with strawberries or bananas. Meringues were a later and perfect addition. You may wish to add a little splash of port, Kirsch or cointreau, whatever, when you mix the mess together.
- One large punnet of strawberries
- A little dash of sugar
- Dash of port if desired
- 6 merangues broken up
- Double cream softly whipped
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
|Aphids can be troublesome - especially in May|
Pancetta-wrapped asparagus with lemon and garlic dressingThe British asparagus season is short but you can of course buy it in if you don’t yet have it in the garden. Quick, simple, yet a dish fit for kings as a sophisticated looking starter or with some special bread for lunch. Serves four.
- 24 thin asparagus spears with the woody ends removed
- 8 rashers of thinly sliced Pancetta, or rashers of thinly sliced smoked bacon
- Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 1 handful of very finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus some extra for cooking
- Salt and pepper
- Salad leaves to serve
- Shaved parmesan (optional)
Monday, 2 April 2012
Thereafter, gradually reduce the height of cut until the desired height is reached. For fine lawns, this will be 6-13mm (¼-½in). For ordinary ornamental lawns this will be 13-25mm (½-1in) in summer and up to 40mm (1.5in) in spring and autumn. You shouldn’t take more than a third off the height of the grass at any one mowing.
- Sow and plant asparagus
- Grow French beans in pots
- Start early variety leeks in the greenhouse
- Sow peas if not started in March, at three week intervals until early June, using a first-early variety
- Plan late crops by sowing summer vegetables outdoors. Spinach, carrots, kohl robi, radishes, turnips, lettuces, spring onions, summer cabbages and cauliflowers. For winter greens/Christmas savoy cabbages, Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers sow now
April’s spring lamb with parsley and walnut pesto
- 25g (1oz) parsley
- 50g (1 ¾ oz) walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 individual double loins of lamb boned, rolled and tied
- 450g (1lb) new potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced (no thicker than a pound coin)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6).
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Drought is a problem experienced by many gardeners at some point of the year. A dried out, brown lawn looks unattractive and uninviting. The good news is that there are things that can be done to reduce the impact of drought and retain a healthy looking lawn...
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
|Moss in the lawn can be a problem|
If moss is rampant, then treat is as a sign that your lawn is lacking what it needs and is ultimately losing the war. Removing the moss is not enough on its own. It WILL come back.
How to get rid of moss: Step 1 - Understand the cause Pull on your gardening boots, grab a jacket (and a torch if it’s nighttime) and go for a short walk to where the moss is most prolific. Check to see if any of these conditions are true - even one of them could be causing the problem.
Friday, 2 March 2012
If you have not already done so in February, sow and plant of vegetables, transplant herbaceous plants and start others, like fuschias, into growth.
Tough clumps of plants like heleniums, Michaelmas daisies, geraniums (border) and rudbeckias can be divided by using two border forks back to back to prise them apart. Keep the young, outside parts to plant up, discard the old centres.Use a trowel or spade to plant the outer shoots in the border. Snowdrops can be transplanted. It's a good month for turf laying and the greenhouse will be filling with seedlings. Perennials can be grown from seed - delphiniums, pinks and lupins could be flowering by late summer.
Add herbs to the border, thyme, parsley, chives and marjoram. Grow crops in succession. A good time to start an asparagus bed.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
March is the ideal time for patching up bare areas by loosening up the soil, mixing a little soil and seed, spreading and then covering the area with some clear polythene. Slit to let in air and water and peg down.
Sit on the seat
Always be sat on the tractor when turning over the engine. A sensor within the seat will prevent the engine from being started unless the operator is sitting down.
Ensure the Parking Brake is engaged
The lawn tractor will not start unless the handbrake is on.
- 700g – 1kg/11/2 – 2lb sole fillets, skinned
- 125ml/4fl oz fish stock brought to the boil
- 125ml/4fl oz white wine brought to the boil
- 1kg/2lb spinach
- 50g/2 oz butter
- Salt and black pepper
- For the sauce:
- 25g/10z butter 4Tbsp flour
- 300ml/10fl oz fish stock
- 300ml/10fl oz milk
- 50g/2oz grated Parmesan cheese
- 50g/2oz grated Gruyere cheese
- 4Tbsp double cream
- Salt and white pepper
Monday, 20 February 2012
A lawn tractor or ride on mower can be a similar price as a second-hand car, so why don’t more people test drive before they buy?
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
1. The Weather
|Drought is the main cause of a patchy lawn|
Friday, 10 February 2012
|A 'sweeping' collection system avoids grass clogging|
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
If conditions are mild and dry in late February to early spring you can scarify the lawn now to remove moss or thatch. Use a scarifier attachment with your garden tractor, an electric/powered scarifier or simply a rake.
|A powered cultivator can be used to|
turn over hard soil ready for planting.
|Plant out potatoes in late February|
A simple dish on a cold evening for four people that takes about 10 minutes to prepare and cooks in around 30 minutes. Served here with chive mash or you could rustle up some noodles with butter and garlic.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 8 Lincolnshire or pork sausages of choice
- 1 large onion sliced
- 200g/7oz sliced leeks
- 4 garlic cloves sliced
- 2 sticks of celery sliced
- Small bunch of sage leaves (ideally from the garden)
- 200ml/7fl oz white wine
- 400ml/14fl oz passata (a jar from the supermarket or even better, homemade)
- 400ml/14fl oz chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and cracked black pepper
- A small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped