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.

Friday 1 November 2013

This Month in your Garden – November

The clocks change, it’s dark earlier and there’s still plenty to do in the garden before the really bad weather sets in. Early November is the time to plant tulip bulbs, to help prevent ‘tulip fire’, the fungal disease they are prone to. They’ll like the sunniest spot, heavy soil lightened with coarse grit and will look good planted in a border with wallflowers, pansies and forget-me-nots. They can be lifted after flowering, stored and planted again next autumn.

Bring fuchsias, argyranthemums and pelargoniums into the greenhouse or conservatory before the frosts. If there’s more digging to do, now is the time to finish it off, working in manure or rotted garden compost. Leaving the soil roughly turned, without breaking it up too much, exposes it to the beneficial action of wind and frost.

How to prune - November

Pruning almost all bush and standard roses can be started once all the leaves have fallen. Remove dead or diseased branches, retaining and shortening the promising stems of new growth. This concentrates the rising sap into the best growth buds. Generously feed the roses. Hard prune fruit trees and bushes, removing larger branches to open up the centres.

The Lawn Care Guide – November

Well, it’s probably the last mowing about now and time to put the mower or garden tractor away for the winter, but hold on a minute. It’s also a good time to get the servicing done and in the case of the garden tractor you could be using it through the winter with a snow plough and salt spreading attachment.

What about the lawn though? If it’s not too wet or hard it will still benefit from slitting to aid drainage. Even if you have stuck to a programme of good lawn care throughout the year it can still be said that fine turf is grown under conditions that are not entirely natural.

The Vegetable Plot – November

Where you have crops growing there will also be weeds! A session with the hoe will deal with them.

What about planting fruit trees and bushes for show as well as for fruit? If you have room in addition to bush apples, pears, plums and cherries, what about some standards of these, and try espalier trained apples and pears as well as fan-trained plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines and apricots.

If you have grown leeks and they have benefitted from a good frost, lift some and keep them in a bucket of compost in a shed or cold greenhouse until you need them, they will last for months. You can grow longpod variety broad beans from seed in a sheltered position if you don’t have a warm greenhouse in which to germinate them in February.

The Big Glut Recipe – November

Butternut squash and leek soup

What’s in season this month? You have lots of choice. Apples, beetroot, butternut squash, cabbage, celeriac, celery... what about those leeks you set aside?....chestnuts, chicory, clams, cranberries….


  • 175g/6oz butternut squash after peeling
  • 450g/1lb leeks cut into 2.5cm/1” slices after trimming
  • 1 large onion peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1” slices
  • Large knob of butter
  • 275ml/10fl oz milk
  • 850ml/1½ pints good vegetable stock
  • A handful snipped chives
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Freshly milled salt and black pepper