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, 30 May 2014

The Vegetable Plot – June

The root of the problem

At about this time of year young brassicas, that’s cabbages, cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts, come under attack. The cause of the problem is the cabbage root fly which lays its eggs in the soil near the plant stems.

Little white grubs emerge and eat the roots and your vegetable show is over. Take action at planting time by using cabbage collars which you can buy online or from the garden centre.

If you want to save a penny or two you can make your own from pieces of cloth or carpet, cut into circles. Cut a line to the centre and then cut two snips to make a Y shape in the middle. Fit these tightly around the young plants at transplanting time and they prevent the female root fly from laying her eggs.

The Big Glut Recipe – June

Artichoke with Cromer crab salad

You can use any fresh crab meat, Cromer crab is a bonus. You could also use prawns if you prefer. Increase the number of artichokes and ingredients for more than two people.


  • 2 globe artichokes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 handful of chopped celery and red peppers
  • 1 handful crab meat
  • 1 tsp plain yoghurt or cream
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A dash of paprika
  • 1 tsp capers rinsed and chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Thursday, 1 May 2014

This Month in your Garden – May

A month in three parts...

Let’s divide the month of May into three. It’s as busy a month as you want it to be with summer warmth coming and herbaceous plants putting on a growth spurt. It all depends on what you want to see in the garden in the coming months, in addition to your existing planting. 

If you favour dahlias then in early May you can plant tubers outdoors if you haven’t already started them in a greenhouse or frame. Cover them with about three inches (7cm) of soil to protect against late frost. Harden off bedding plants in frames, such as pelargoniums, marguerites and fuchsias, in fact most half-hardy annuals sown in late February should be hardened and ready for open ground by the end of the month. But keep an eye on the weather reports in case of frost. 

Lawn Care Guide – May

Feeding, weeding and cutting

We walk all over it, play on it, let the dogs run around on it, give it a haircut every week and generally treat the lawn like no other plant. Well the grass has needs as well. 

By May we should see strong and consistent growth and will have lowered the cutting height on the lawn mower or garden tractor. The problem is, mowing removes the lawn’s energy and that needs replacing. 

If you haven’t already done so giving it a feed in spring and another in the summer can work wonders or, if you use a slow-release fertiliser, one feed in early May is probably enough. On the other hand it’s important not to apply too much fertiliser – two applications during the summer months should be sufficient. 

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. How often should I mow the lawn?

The Vegetable Plot – May

Successional success

Once again you can make a number of sowings to provide vegetables after the ones raised from earlier sowings. 

Lettuces, spinach and turnips are best in a partially shaded position as a lot of summer heat makes them run to seed. Sow endive towards the end of the month. Grow courgettes, bush marrows French and runner beans from seed if you haven’t grown them in the greenhouse or frame. 

The Big Glut Recipe – May

Warm asparagus salad

Simple, tasty and a great way to eat seasonal asparagus. A light and healthy dish for six done with duck eggs, or you can use hen’s eggs.

  • About 500g asparagus/around thirty spears
  • Six duck’s or hen’s eggs
  • Six bacon rashers
  • 50g of toasted hazelnuts

To Make a Dressing
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp hazelnut oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard