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 2 December 2020

This Month in Your Garden - December

‘Christmas is a time of little time. How we get there is a mystery.’ Nicholas Gordon

Shopping, cooking, wrapping. Will there be time for another gerund: digging in December? We don’t generally think of this month as one to do much in the garden. And yet if you’re inclined, or you feel the need for the exercise and the ground is not too hard, it’s not a bad time to improve the soil. Digging in a peat substitute or lime-free compost to alkaline soil, and hydrated lime to acid soil will set you up for spring planting. 

The Lawncare Guide - December

 To mow, or not to mow? That is the question.

It’s unlikely you will need to mow in December but grass still grows in temperatures above 5ºC (41ºF) so there is a chance in milder areas you need a final cut. If that is the case, don’t cut too short, just a trim to neaten it is all that’s needed. You can lightly aerate with a fork or solid tines, if the soil is not too wet, to aid winter drainage in heavy or prolonged rainfall. 

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q.  In September I treated the lawn for moss and raked it out, but it is back and worse. What can I do?

A. After treatment, moss should be left for around three weeks to die because raking it can spread the spores. In spring apply calcinated sulphate of iron or lawn sand containing iron sulphate. Scarifying and aerating will help. 

The Vegetable Plot - December

 Feast on your Christmas veggies

The keen vegetable gardener should be enjoying an abundance of seasonal crops from Brussels sprouts to cauliflower, leeks, parsnips, celery and celeriac to Jerusalem artichokes, Savoy cabbage and kale. Winter doesn’t stop you growing onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, radishes and rhubarb. In the greenhouse or on a windowsill you can grow herbs such as mint, basil, chives and dill. Winter hardy salad leaves can be grown under cover. 

The Big Glut Recipe - December


A vegan take on the beef version from BBC Food.


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (around 375g/13oz), peeled and cut into roughly 2cm/¾in chunks
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 leek (around 200g/7oz), trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 100g/3½oz young spinach leaves
  • 125g/4½oz fresh, or frozen and thawed, cranberries
  • 75g/2½oz pecan nuts, roughly broken
  • 180g/6oz cooked and peeled vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly crumbled
  • 1 large orange, finely grated zest
  • 4 large Portobello or flat mushrooms, each roughly 9cm/3½in in diameter 
  • 375g/13oz ready-rolled puff pastry (vegan-friendly)
  • 2 tbsp soy milk, or other plant-based ‘milk’
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper