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 3 February 2016

This Month in your Garden - February

Another record year

It’s official, according to US scientists, that 2015 was globally the warmest year on record. Certainly for most of the country we’ve seen at the end of the year an exceptionally mild December and much of January, with daffodils already flowering in south-facing plots. Was yours a record year for growing?

February looks like being fairly mild for many and if the recent cold snap kept you out of the garden there may well be the chance to start preparing for a bountiful year of plants and vegetables. If you have a heated greenhouse or cold frame you can sow into trays of compost a whole variety of flowers to bring annual colour later in the year: antirrhinums, begonias, impatiens, petunias, pansies verbenas and violas are a good start. Or you could simply grow them on a bright windowsill.

Lawn Care Guide - February

Buy the book

What you can achieve for the lawn in February is very much weather dependent and the earlier forecasts of very cold weather have evolved into a much milder month than expected. If it’s not too wet where you are and you’re planning a new lawn area then laying turf will be your best route at this time of the year.

The best advice when preparing and laying a new lawn, if you have not done it before, is to buy a good book and follow all the stages carefully. The disadvantage of turf compared to seed is that good turves can be expensive but it’s worth buying from a reputable supplier and buying the best quality you can afford to save heartache later.

The Vegetable Plot - February

Starting from scratch

Let’s assume you have not grown vegetables before. February into spring is a good time to prepare your seed bed, providing the soil is workable. Walk over the area and if the soil sticks to your boots it’s still too wet.

If you were able in the autumn and over winter to dig the plot, spread compost then dig a series of trenches, bringing the soil from the first trench over to the last and so on, you’re ready for the next stage. Your job now is to break down the clods brought up from the winter digging and then apply a dressing of fertiliser and work it into the soil to avoid scorching the roots of germinating seed.

The Big Glut Recipe - February

Cauliflower cheese with maple syrup pancetta


James Martin’s take on cauliflower cheese with maple syrup pancetta, from BBC Home Comforts, prepared in less than 30 mins and cooked in 10 to 30 minutes.

1 medium cauliflower, stalk removed, florets separated
100g/3½oz butter
40g/1½oz plain flour
500ml/18fl oz milk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
300g/10½oz extra mature cheddar, grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slices brioche, blitzed to crumbs in a food processor
20 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta
2 tbsp maple syrup