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 3 January 2012

This Month in your Garden - JANUARY

January is the time to start sowing seeds indoors
Topically, as we move from December into January, the importance of good garden design is clearly evident. It’s mid winter and there’s less to do in the garden. Or so we thought...

A look through the window at bare twigs and rotting brown vegetation in herbaceous borders on a cold winter’s day might suggest staying by the fire, turning the pages of the new season’s catalogues, perhaps checking notes from past seasons if the garden is maturing. Good and necessary to do but what about next year at this time? Will it be the same view out there or one to be admired?

The Lawn Care Guide - JANUARY

Grass needs four essential growth factors: sunlight, water, nutrients and air.

The soil conditions influence all of these except sunlight. The plant takes up water, nutrients and oxygen from the soil. But down at the roots carbon dioxide is produced, accumulates and needs to escape to the atmosphere. 

‘Traffic’ across the lawn, walking backwards and forwards, kids playing, pets wandering about all help to compact the soil, resulting in thatch and organic matter accumulating in the root zone.

The Vegetable Plot - JANUARY

You can sow vegetable seeds throughout January
It’s useful to cover part of the plot with cloches or polythene to prepare for seeding later. We’ll include fruit here as well.

Sow indoors or in a heated greenhouse or frame at about 13°C (55°F) lettuce, early cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, cress. Sow onions in the greenhouse for exhibition.

Monday 2 January 2012

The Big Glut Recipe - JANUARY

Stilton and Broccoli Soup

A winter warmer and a great use for broccoli from the garden or bought in if you haven’t grown any.

  • 6 medium broccoli florets, around 200g/7oz, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium potato peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 55g/2oz Stilton cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 25g/1oz butter if you prefer
  • 275ml/1/2 pint of milk
  • 420ml of chicken or vegetable stock
  • A tablespoon of plain flour
  • Half a tablespoon of double cream (more if you prefer)
  • Salt and pepper