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 4 October 2017

This Month in Your Garden - October

"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter." Nova Schubert Bair (1911–2009)

Everyone seems to be talking about the leaves and the colours on the trees. Rightly so, October’s splendid sylvanian backdrop is exceptional in many places this year and the coming weeks are a great time to visit arboretums and the many National Trust gardens that put on a fine display. Although few of us have the opportunity for such grand scale planting of trees we can take inspiration from other gardens for colour scheming and prepare sites for planting bare rooted trees.

The Lawn Care Guide - October

"It's a funny kind of month, October. For the really keen cricket fan it's when you discover that your wife left you in May." Denis Norden, 1977

As all good greenkeepers and groundsmen know, if you’re in a colder area this month wilI probably be your last opportunity to scarify, aerate and top dress the lawn. You may not be aiming to match the finest cricket square or bowling green but keeping the lawn healthy and removing layers of thatch now will pay off come spring.

Excessive amounts of thatch are a harbour for pests and diseases and promote poor drought tolerance. A shallow layer though is good because it acts as a barrier to prevent excessive moisture loss and help to prevent wear on the surface. Striking a balance will give the lawn enough of the soft cushioning you want.

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q. I have a large lawn with many trees and the clearing of autumn leaves is a real task. Have you any tips on making the work easier?

The Vegetable Plot - October

Hoe, hoe, hoe, not long ‘till Christmas

Certainly now is the time to use the hoe and keep the vegetable borders free of weeds. Soon you’ll be turning the soil ready to let the winter frosts break it down. If you have been hard at work in your vegetable patch you’ll probably be reaping the benefits for your Christmas fare.

It’s wise to lift carrots, beetroot and turnips before the frosts and to fork up potatoes to dry before storing. Complete earthing up of celery and leeks and protect any late crops with cloches and fleece. Cauliflowers need protection and you can do this by bending outer leaves over any hearts froming. Thin out onion and turnip beds, cut down asparagus foliage and cut back globe artichokes. Harvest maincrop apples and take cuttings of bush fruit to cultivate.

The Big Glut Recipe - October

Beef jhal faraizi, karhai broccoli and sweet and sour squash 

This Madhur Jaffrey recipe from BBc’s Saturday Kitchen Best Bites is a great way to use leftover roast beef and even better if you have grown your own butternut squash and broccoli. Serves 4.


For the beef jhal faraizi

  • 340g/12oz small floury potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 7mm/⅓in cubes
  • 2-3 fresh, hot green chillies (such as bird’s-eye chillies), chopped
  • 40g/12oz leftover roast beef, 7mm/⅓in cubes
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper