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.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

This Month in your Garden - July

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers: Of April, May, of June and July flowers.

Robert Herrick 1591-1674

Admire, cut, propagate. If you were handy with the seed packets earlier in the year and you havegrown plenty of annuals you can relax and enjoy the July colours, cut flowers for indoor display and deadhead bedding plants to ensure continuous flowering.

Tall perennials such as delphiniums, gladioli and lupins may need staking if you haven’t already done so. Pinks and carnations start to go leggy so now’s the time to take stem cuttings, dip them in hormone rooting powder and pop them into pots of compost.

Lawn Care Guide - July

Keep on mowing


That is, so long as there is no prolonged drought. If it is very dry it pays to raise the height on the mower or cutting deck on the garden tractor to help prevent the lawn drying out. Turf grass comprises over 85% water so it needs irrigation to replenish, strengthen it and ‘green it up’.

Watering is essential for seed germination, cooling the plant and helping to prevent dry patch while pushing fertiliser granules into the turf and converting it for the plant to take it up. But continuous watering can also have a damaging effect and lead to disease, hence the rule of irrigating thoroughly once or at most twice a week for a green lawn.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q How do I know how long to leave the sprinkler running on the lawn without wasting water?

The Vegetable Plot - July

Salad days are here again 


The keen vegetable gardener will be harvesting globe artichokes, broad beans, French beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, marrows and potatoes now.

Others of us are content with tending our tomatoes, harvesting our shallots when the leaves yellow and digging up the garlic when the tips turn colour. Remembering most vegetables are going to be thirsty in dry weather and will need frequent watering, so a water butt to catch the rain off the shed, the greenhouse roof or a downpipe will come into its own.

The Big Glut Recipe - July

Lamb burgers with mint mayo and tomato relish



Just the job for a July evening, light the BBQ and enjoy this recipe from Mary Berry’s Foolproof Cooking, BBC. Serves 8 but you can freeze the burgers you don’t use.

Ingredients

For the burgers

  • 50g/1¾oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1½ tsp mint sauce
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 500g/1lb 2oz lean lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for frying
  • 8 lettuce leaves, to serve
  • 8 brioche buns, to serve
  • 3 gherkins, thinly sliced, to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Thursday, 2 June 2016

This Month in your Garden - June

But Shakespeare also says, ’tis very silly to gild refined gold or paint the lily’.

Lord Byron

Spring ends and summer begins in the month when the Magna Carta was signed and the summer solstice is celebrated. Of the very many flowers the rose is the birth flower for June but for real head turners lilies can steal the show and, even if you didn’t plant any back in March, you can pick them up at the garden centre in pots for instant display on the patio. Let the show begin by putting out your summer bedding now the frosts have passed.

Plant up containers and hanging baskets or if you have them growing on in the greenhouse you can move them outside to their final position. For more colour sow seeds of annuals but if you have areas of overcrowded hardy annuals thin them out.

Lawn Care Guide - June

Get your mower running


For many of us the rainfall mixed with a little warmth had the grass put on a growth spurt in May but a few late frosts and cooler temperatures slowed it down again. Generally though, we’re starting to cruise around with the mower set at summer cutting height and mowing will be more frequent until we have drier conditions.

If you have a high maintenance, ornamental lawn you might apply a top-dressing of top soil. A light dressing now will help to maintain a smoother surface for mowing and help to deal with the lawn’s thatch. If there is a problem with thatch you can still lightly scarify but consider what the weather is doing and if it’s a dry spell consider irrigating after scarifying.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Not so much a question as a number of answers to deficiency symptoms.

The Vegetable Plot - June

It’s all about the weather


Wet, dry, last frosts, your vegetable plot needs attention according to the weather conditions. If you’re as sure as you can be the last frosts have passed you can plant out tomatoes, peppers, runner and French beans, sweet corn and aubergine. If it has been on the wet side there may be weeding to be done, especially where leeks and onions are planted.

Hot and dry weather calls for plenty of water for thirsty crops such as lettuce, celery, tomatoes and radishes. Outdoor tomatoes should have the first flower truss showing before planting out.

The Big Glut Recipe - June

Salad Ni├žoise


We’ve done this classic before in the Gardener’s Journal but it’s seasonally just right and refreshing on a warm June day, so here goes. This one inspired by Anthony Worrall Thompson from BBC Food & Drink.

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb fresh tuna or 4 x 175g/6oz tuna steaks, 2.5cm/1in thick
  • 8 new potatoes, cooked and quartered lengthways
  • 4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 115g/4oz extra fine French beans, topped, cooked and drained
  • 4 little gem lettuce hearts, quartered lengthways 
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced 
  • 4 eggs, cooked for 6 minutes in boiling water from room temperature, halved
  • 6 anchovy fillets cut lengthways into thin strips
  • 16 pitted black olives in brine
  • 8 basil leaves, torn