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, 1 April 2020

This Month in Your Garden - April

‘Spring makes everything young again except man.’ Richter


In these unprecedented times, social distancing and isolation at home can have negative effects on mental health. Gardening is known to help and while it’s not a panacea, anyone who is feeling anxious may find the garden a therapeutic respite. At the time of writing this month’s journal the garden centres were closing, but ordering online and keeping a safe distance between you and the courier is still an alternative.

The Lawncare Guide - April

Keep Off The Grass


Once a familiar sign in public places the command equally applies to newly sown grass which shouldn’t be walked on or mown until it reaches a height of at least 5-8cm (2-3in). April into May is the time to seed a new lawn on a prepared bed or overseed patches, providing it’s not too wet or frost is persisting.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. We have a lot of bare patches on our lawn after the winter and where we’ve scraped out the moss. What should we do to to get the grass back?

The Vegetable Plot - April

Sow here we go


Succession sowing will see you in vegetables through to autumn and that means a riot of planting on your patch if you have space. Well, a controlled riot at least. Carrot, turnip, beetroot, spinach are favourites along with lettuces and peas. The latter will need supporting with pea sticks when they appear. On with radishes, Brussels sprouts and, not needing support: broad beans.

The Big Glut Recipe - April

Lamb kefta with herb salad and spicy yoghurt


A variation on Moroccan street food that takes 5 minutes to prepare. From House and Garden magazine.

Ingredients

For the kefta

  • 11/2kg minced fatty lamb
  • 1 medium white onion, grated
  • 3tbsp ground cumin
  • 2tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2tsp chilli powder
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g parsley, finely chopped
  • 2eggs

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. I have been given some granular ferrous sulphate and told that it will help to kill the moss in our lawn, is this so and how do I apply it please?

Monday, 2 March 2020

This Month in Your Garden - March

‘Loveliest of trees, the cherry now is hung with bloom, along the bough.’
A.E. Houseman, Shropshire Lad


One of the loveliest and earliest of cherries, Prunus incisa Kojo-no-mai, usually begins to blossom in February and is in full bloom in March. It’s a dwarf, growing to about five feet high and lending an oriental touch to the garden. Following the wettest February in six years and lamentable flooding in many parts of the country, we hope this month will turn the corner to the start of spring and drier weather.

The Lawncare Guide - March

The first cut is the weakest


For many of us, the first cut of the lawn will be in March and it’s all too easy to want to shave off all of that sudden growth spurt. Don’t. Set the mower or garden tractor cutting deck at a high height of cut. We only want to tip off the top part of the leaf. Mowing to achieve award-winning stripes comes later in the season.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. When can I over-sow, I have been told it’s good for the lawn.

The Vegetable Plot - March

The old sow and sow


Maincrop onions sown in drills with plenty of farmyard manure. A main sowing of celery for a ready supply from October onwards. Broad beans, brassicas, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts and broccoli and midsummer cabbages.

Doesn’t that sound tasty and all can be sown now together with cucumbers and summer spinach, the latter in a sheltered border with a southern aspect? Here’s a tip if you have a wood-burning stove and you’re sowing onions.

The Big Glut Recipe - March

Leek and greens lasagne


Mouthwatering family-sized lasagne from BBC Good Food Magazine.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin
  • 50g butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Rosemary sprig, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and rough green ends discarded, 1 finely sliced and 2 cut into medium slices
  • 40g plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • fresh nutmeg, for grating
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • 30g parmesan, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ green chilli, sliced
  • 400g mixed green leaves, such as kale, chard and spinach, roughly chopped
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 100g walnuts
  • 280g jar preserved artichoke hearts in oil, drained
  • 100g ricotta
  • 6 dried lasagne sheets

Monday, 3 February 2020

This Month in Your Garden - February

‘…you have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?’ ~William Shakespeare


February is a month with much to do about everything. Unless there’s snow or sleet of course. So we take its mixed bag as it comes and get on with digging the soil if it’s not frozen, preparing for hardy annuals and vegetables. If you are driven indoors, use the time to organise your list of seeds what compost you’ll need.

The Lawncare Guide - February

“I said get the roller clean not lay a bowling green.’ 


Generally, it’s unlikely you’ll be cutting the grass in February or at least possibly not until the end of the month, but it pays to be prepared because the growing season is just around the corner. Did you have your garden tractor or mower serviced at the end of last year? It’s worth getting your machinery out, starting up and letting it run just to make sure everything’s tickety-boo.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. I want to lay a new lawn in March. How do I know what quantity of seed I need?

The Vegetable Plot - February

More fruit of your labours


Mostly in the Gardener’s Journal we talk about the veg in your plot but what about fruit, don’t they get a mention? Well, you could be planting fruit trees and bushes now if there’s not too much frost forecast, finish pruning fruit and give them the benefit of a good feed and mulch.

The Big Glut Recipe - February

Celeriac, lentil and Stilton salad


A colourful February salad for four with a total time of around one hour and ten minutes. From Good Housekeeping.

Ingredients

  • 1 celeriac bulb, about 750g
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 125g (4oz) frozen peas
  • 75g (3oz) walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 x 400 g tins lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 100g (3 ½oz) Stilton, crumbled
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 50g (2oz) rocket

Thursday, 2 January 2020

This Month in Your Garden - January

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."  -  Bill Vaughan, American author  


However you see in the New Year, climate change scientists are forecasting an average temperature of 3.9C for January to February in central England. But we gardeners are hardy and hardened to the pessimism of below-average temperatures and our famous talking point takes a back seat when it comes to the garden.

The Lawncare Guide - January

The Lawn in Winter


Lawn care in January very much depends of course on whether or not you can even see your lawn. Snow and frost defer working when there’s a blanket of the former and deter walking on it when the latter occurs. However, new turf can be laid and repair to edges done in milder spells and when it’s not too wet.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. My lawn has become uneven in places, is there anything I can do now to even it up?

The Vegetable Plot - January

Brassy brassicas and lush lettuce


Many vegetables at this time of the year come from abroad, so if you have grown and stored your own your pocket and ecology will benefit. Onions, carrots, turnips, potatoes, swedes and shallots stored in autumn should be checked for any rot which might spread. Leeks and parsnips can be harvested now along with Brussels sprouts, cabbages, spinach beet, celery and Jerusalem artichokes if the ground is not too frosty and hard.

The Big Glut Recipe - January

Venison and parsnip tagine with buttered herb couscous


Spice up January with a hearty, warming touch of the Middle East for 4-6 people. A Delicious Magazine recipe.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1kg diced venison
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 6 parsnips, chopped into chunks
  • 8 dried figs, peeled, quartered
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml fresh beef stock, plus extra to loosen
  • Pomegranate molasses to serve