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.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

This Month in your Garden – February

A time to catch up?

If you have been a good gardener you should have completed all your digging, trenching and turning over ground earlier in the winter, leaving the rough earth to be weathered down by the frosts.

The trouble is, time and the weather may have conspired against you but all is not lost. Usually February will allow you some days to catch up and you could also be preparing a site for sowing a lawn or turfing come the spring. There is time for planting or transplanting lilies outdoors, pruning bush or standard roses and finishing planting trees and shrubs.

Towards the end of the month you should be able to start sowing vegetables. In early February flowering shrubs such as Hydrangea paniculata and Spiraea japonica  should be pruned, cutting back last year’s stems to within one or two joints of the older wood.

Lawn Care Guide – February

What grass where?

It won’t be long before we’re cutting the grass again, out with the garden tractors and pedestrian mowers. What though if you’re starting from scratch and need to know what type of lawn will be best for your situation and needs?

Generally speaking there are three types of grass to choose from, depending on the uses for the lawn and whether it is to be situated in sun or shade. You can choose a predominantly rye grass or turf mixture for a family lawn, high use, play and utility areas. Once established it will mostly just need mowing and feeding and will tolerate lots of use and abuse, it’s quickly established and easily cared for.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

 Q. A lot of worm casts have appeared on the lawn. Are they damaging and what should I do about

The Vegetable Plot – February

A lot to be getting on with...

February is the month you can plant Jerusalem artichokes at the earliest opportunity and the hardy plant will reward you with a tasty base for many menus.

There is a lot to be getting on with in the vegetable garden early in the month. It’s all about sowing as each week goes by, both in the greenhouse or heated frame or outdoors.

  • Sow hardy variety peas in a sheltered spot
  • Sow broad beans in boxes or pots and germinate in a heated greenhouse or frame
  • Sow lettuces, peas and cauliflowers in seed boxes to germinate in along with the broad beans
  • Lift and store parsnips, sow parsnips outdoors

Power Tool Tip for February

A multi-tool for all your garden tasks

February is the month when you can start your campaign towards spring, tidying and preparing, seeding and sowing. A great deal of effort is saved with the use of power tools, a hedge trimmer, a brushcutter or trimmer, a power pruner for cutting high in the tree, a blower for autumn leaves, maybe a soil cultivator and an edger. 

Alternatively you could have one powerful two-stroke engine and all these tools plus a thatcher attachment and a power brush. A multi-tool gives you a number of attachments to your one engine and arms you with everything you need for lightening the load of gardening tasks throughout the year. All you need to do is change the attachment to suit the job.

Sponsor's Tip for February

Cool Runnings!

A supply of cool, clean air to the engine is one of the most important considerations when using an internal combustion engine.

It is this air which provides the oxygen for combustion, and removes excess heat which is produced during the combustion process.

A clean air filter ensures maximum oxygen is available for combustion, providing optimum performance is available to power your machine.

The Big Glut Recipe – February

Jerusalem artichoke gratin with smoked haddock

Not to be confused with globe artichokes the Jerusalem artichoke is in fact a member of the sunflower family and the knobbly, potato like tuber finds its way into all sorts of quick and simple dishes.

It’s in season in the February garden along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, endive and kale. This simple dish serves four as a starter.

  • 800g (28.2oz) Jerusalem artichokes
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter and extra for dotting
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 5 shallots peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig of thyme, leaves picked off
  • 250ml (8.4fl oz) double cream
  • 350g (12.4oz) smoked haddock, skin removed, cut into cm cubes
  • 25g (1oz) white breadcrumbs