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.

Monday, 2 December 2013

This Month in your Garden – December

December in the garden can be taken at a more leisurely pace than autumn although, depending on the size of your plot, there is usually plenty to keep you occupied.

Garden structures such as trellis and fences need checking for damage and repair.

Greenhouses need cleaning. Finish turning soil and moving shrubs and plants if it’s still mild. If you want to grow pelargoniums from seed it’s best to start now. You will need a propagator to give them a minimum temperature of 18°C/65°F to start them germinating.

Top Tip for December

If you have a greenhouse you’ll want to let plenty of winter light in so cleaning the glass with warm water and a little washing-up liquid will clear grime and any green slime. Clean the rest including all metal and woodwork by adding disinfectant such as Jeye’s Fluid to the water.

Change the soil in a greenhouse border annually if possible and replace with good loam or the best garden soil. Check all electrical apparatus in the heated greenhouse. Use bubble wrap to line the interior and conserve heat.  

The Lawn Care Guide – December

Although unlikely, you could find yourself mowing the lawn in December if your garden location and
the weather are very mild. It is certainly nice to see a neatly cut lawn through to spring but don’t cut too short.

A new lawn sown from seed in autumn may also benefit from a light trim. More probably you will find earthworms producing casts on the grass. While they are not doing any harm to the grass they are not only unsightly, they are in danger of promoting moss and weed growth and are best swept away with a lawn brush or birch brush.

The Vegetable Plot – December

How have you fared with the crops in season this month? Jerusalem artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, endive, kale, leeks, parsnips, savoy cabbage can all be on the menu.

No one expects you to grow everything but if you are keeping your own gardener’s journal it’s good to make notes of what you would like to harvest around Christmas next year.

The Big Glut Recipe – December

Marinated venison stew

It’s the time of hearty soups and festive foods and in some ways it’s surprising how much variety there is in the foods that are in season, from fruit and vegetables to fish and game. The latter has a strong appeal as a late autumn into December dish that makes a robust supper for four. The venison soaks in the marinade for 12 hours.


  • 1kg/2lb lean venison cut into 5cm/2in cubes
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, freshly chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 400g/14oz can tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree