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 31 May 2012

The Big Glut Recipe - JUNE

Eton Mess

What better on a June evening than this traditional English dessert? Various tales of its origin exist, including one of a Labrador who sat on the strawberries and cream. More factually it was served in the 1930’s in Eton College’s “sock shop” or tuck shop, made with strawberries or bananas. Meringues were a later and perfect addition. You may wish to add a little splash of port, Kirsch or cointreau, whatever, when you mix the mess together.

  • One large punnet of strawberries 
  • A little dash of sugar 
  • Dash of port if desired 
  • 6 merangues broken up 
  • Double cream softly whipped 

Tuesday 1 May 2012

This Month In Your Garden - MAY

Aphids can be troublesome  - especially in May
May, the month of the colour and splendour of Chelsea Flower Show. It’s also the time when you’ll probably be joined in the garden by some unwelcome companions.

Greenfly – aphids are likely to arrive in numbers. There are plenty of proprietary sprays available but two you can make yourself and go organic are tomato leaf spray and garlic oil spray – you’ll find recipes online. 

Slugs are on the march to attack seedlings, your lettuces and delphiniums. Again, there are some natural, non-toxic methods of slug control. 

Another busy month. Herbaceous plants are growing fast and will benefit from fertilising. If you like summer bedding the beds or areas between shrubs and herbaceous plants need forking over and weeds removed. Most summer bedding plants prefer poorer soil so not too much spreading of fertiliser into those areas to be planted. Don’t plant out too early in May, harden them off and let the soil warm up. Thin and stake herbaceous perennials. 

The Lawn Care Guide - MAY

May is a good month to use a weed and feed treatment or lawn sand, an important job if the weeds are to be prevented from flowering and seeding. Choose a calm, dry day to treat daisies and plantain in the lawn. The chemicals slip off the narrow grass leaves but settle on the broadleaves of the weeds and scorch them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on when and when not to mow during treatment.

The Vegetable Plot - MAY

You can start to cut asparagus from an established bed – the second, or even better the third, year after planting.

Some root crops can be sown such as swede for winter storing. If frost has passed, tender vegetables can be set out but in colder areas wait until later in May for warmer soil

The Big Glut Recipe - MAY

Pancetta-wrapped asparagus with lemon and garlic dressing

The British asparagus season is short but you can of course buy it in if you don’t yet have it in the garden. Quick, simple, yet a dish fit for kings as a sophisticated looking starter or with some special bread for lunch. Serves four.

  • 24 thin asparagus spears with the woody ends removed 
  • 8 rashers of thinly sliced Pancetta, or rashers of thinly sliced smoked bacon 
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed 
  • 1 handful of very finely chopped flat leaf parsley 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus some extra for cooking 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Salad leaves to serve 
  • Shaved parmesan (optional)