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 31 March 2015

This Month in your Garden – April

It’s blooming spring

There’s a lot to be excited about in April. Spring bulbs and tree blossom bring fresh colour to the
garden, heightened by those inevitable sunny days. It’s time to divide and sow, weed and feed and step up the grass cutting but still watch out for frosts.

You can be sowing hardy annuals outdoors when the temperature reaches about 7°C/ (45°F) or early in the month in the greenhouse to give you early flowers. Harden off bedding plants and half-hardy annuals in the greenhouse where you can also pot seedlings of begonias and gloxinias. Divide Hostas before they start into leaf and it’s a good time to divide primroses and primulas after flowering.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. Every year we get some type of bee appearing and burrowing into the lawn. What are they and how do we get rid of them?

The Vegetable Plot – April

Hoe, hoe, hoe

April is a great growing month for vegetables but that also means weeds are competing for space and they will win – unless you hoe. A dry day and a good hoe is all you need to keep you off your hands and knees later because you have let the weed get the better of you.

Continue your succession sowing this month and you will have vegetables right through into the autumn. You can sow carrot, turnips, beetroot, spinach, radishes, Brussels sprouts, lettuces, peas, parsnips, broad beans, leeks and broccoli, summer cabbages and cauliflowers.

The Big Glut Recipe – April

Parmesan coated purple sprouting broccoli

Among the foods in season are prawns, watercress, purple sprouting broccoli, spinach and lettuce. So you have a glut of purple sprouting broccoli. Why not make something of it and serve this simple fare for four?

  • 500g (18oz) purple sprouting broccoli, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Monday 2 March 2015

This Month in your Garden – March

Mad as a March hare

The old English term, traceable back to the sixteenth century, is in many ways applicable to the month itself. There’s so much you can do in the March garden you can go mad with sowing and planting, weeding and pruning, whilst nature excels itself with new spring shoots and demands on your time with lifting, dividing and re-planting.

Digging in compost or well-rotted manure will give your border plants a good, quick start, as will adding fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure. Watch out for slugs attacking new shoots – nematodes will organically fight your corner for you - and deal with weeds now before they start taking over.

Lawn Care Guide – March

One man (or woman) went to mow

Whatever the size of your lawn, paddock, meadow or amenity area, the principles are the same. Come March and you’re mowing again – you have probably already done the first cut if it’s dry enough, the ground’s not solid and the grass is growing.

You will of course have remembered to raise the cutting height on the garden tractor deck or mower for the first cut, gradually lowering it with each session. Raise the blades for a light cut to begin with.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. Bare patches have appeared on the lawn after the winter, do I need to re-turf?

The Vegetable Plot – March

Weed and feed

If you sowed cauliflowers back in September last year they should be ready for planting out now. With the work you did in January and February your vegetable beds should be ready for planting but don’t worry if they’re not, there’s time to dig them over – they probably need weeds clearing now anyway and you can dig in a good layer of compost or well rotted manure.

The Big Glut Recipe – March

Cauliflower and leek soup with dukkah

You don’t have to travel far to make your own dukkah and get a taste of Middle Eastern spice in a simple-to-make soup that feeds eight, or freezes for when you want more. You can use hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios for the nutty ingredient.


  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • A large cauliflower roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 litres (64fl oz) good chicken stock
  • 100ml (3fl oz) single cream
  • For the dukkah:
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 25g (¾ oz) sesame seeds
  • 75g (2½ oz) pistachio nuts shelled, or other nuts above
  • ½ tsp Malden salt