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.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Big Glut Recipe - NOVEMBER

Leek and Potato Soup

A doddle, so why buy cartons or cans of soup when this simple home-made recipe will put smiles on November faces?

You need:

  • 4 leeks, chopped
  • 4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 800ml (1½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) single cream
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Croutons
  • Parsley, chopped

The Vegetable Plot - NOVEMBER

Chicory sown in June should be ready to dig up and force in pots, kept at about 13°C (55°F). 

Make a crop rotation plan as you dig over the ground. Divide the plot into sections and move the crops around in rotation. 

Endive in frames can be blanched now, using sacking thickly covering a frame to exclude light. 

There’s not a great deal to sow at this time but if you don’t have a green house you could make an outdoor sowing of broad beans in a sheltered place. Hardy peas may also be worth a try. 

In late November Jerusalem artichokes should have finished growing and can be lifted and stored in the same way as potatoes. 

This Month in Your Garden - NOVEMBER

Keep digging!

Any areas not dug over should be finished with soil still workable and areas such as the vegetable plot freed up. Ground turned over will benefit from the action of the weather with frosts through winter. Work in manure and fertiliser as required. 

Finish tidying herbaceous borders and pruning bush and standard roses. 

Carry on planting trees and shrubs. You can plant tulip bulbs, preferably after the other spring bulbs have gone in. 

The Lawn Care Guide - NOVEMBER

It’s easy to forget the lawn this month as mowing is pretty well finished (some late summers have seen mowing into late November depending on your location). 

If there’s frost on the lawn it’s best to keep off the grass to save any damage but if it warms up finish clearing up leaves and get control over any moss and worm casts. 

If you have finished mowing why not get the lawn mower or garden tractor in for a service – leave it too late and you could get caught out next year. 

Edges can be trimmed up and any overhanging shrubs pruned back. An application of autumn and winter fertiliser will benefit the lawn and bare areas can still be seeded. It’s still a good time to lay turf for a new lawn unless the ground is frozen or too wet to walk on. 

Monday 1 October 2012

This Month In Your Garden – OCTOBER

All the colours of autumn abound but fallen leaves need clearing up as frequently as you can. A thick layer covering plants could cause them to die. Bag them up in bin liners and pop them in an out of the way corner where they will rot down to leaf mould for composting; or put them on the compost heap. Exclude any from diseased plants, they are best burned. 

This is a good month to apply some bonemeal in herbaceous borders and bulb beds. It’s also a good time for digging. Existing borders won’t need digging too deeply but new ones and vegetable plots will benefit from a good dig with a spade or a fork. 

Half hardy flowering plants such as begonias and dahlias will need lifting to a frost-proof store after the first frost blackens them. It’s the time for planting shrubs, trees and climbers, when they will be the least stressed, between now and spring. Evergreens are best planted this month. Hardwood cuttings will root easily at this time, while the soil is still warm enough, so you can propagate shrubs and trees. 

The Lawn Care Guide – OCTOBER

Depending on the weather, mowing the lawn will be dwindling, although some weather systems may create a late ‘Indian summer’ when the grass just refuses to stop growing. Don’t cut too low if you do need to cut. Raise the height of the cutting deck. 

Of course leaves will be coming down and need clearing off the lawn. A power blower or vacuum is just the job, or collecting with the grass box and sweeper on a garden tractor will deal swiftly with each fall. 

Scarify the lawn if not already done in the previous month.

The Vegetable Plot – OCTOBER

Early October should be good for planting spring cabbages from sowings in August and earthing up of celery and leeks is best done now. It’s the ideal time to take cuttings of bush fruit to cultivate.

Cauliflowers may need some protection by bending outer leaves over any hearts forming. Continue to blanch endive if you started in August and September. Fruit growth on peaches, nectarines and apricots under glass can still ripen given the right conditions.

Cut back asparagus and globe artichokes. Transfer cauliflowers grown in the open in September to a frame and only close the when there is danger of frost. You can guard your apples and pears against winter moth by putting grease bands around the tree trunks to trap grubs. This will help protect next year’s crop.

The Big Glut Recipe - OCTOBER

October’s pumpkin and pasta bake

A bit of a cheat’s cuisine if you take the short cut and buy a favourite brand of tomato pasta sauce, or you can make your own. Use any pasta shapes that take your fancy.


  • 400g (14oz) of pasta shapes
  • 1 500g jar of ready-made tomato pasta sauce with onions and garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g (18oz) pumpkin or squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced into 2cm chunks
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • 400g (14oz) can cannellini beans, drained
  • A small handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Juice of the whole lemon
  • 3tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 80g (3oz) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 150g (5oz) low fat buffalo mozzarella, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper