Jobs Each Month

Jobs for December

December is a great month to finish tidying, tackle repairs to structures and generally plan and look forward to the coming growing season!

Some jobs for December:

  • Spread a thick layer of well-rotted manure or fresh compost on empty beds – feed your soil!
  • Harvest Brussels sprouts from the bottom up
  • Harvest parsnips after a hard frost, they’ll be sweeter for it
  • Plant garlic if you can work the soil, otherwise use small pots and plant out once rooted
  • Drool at seed catalogues and plan your veg planting for next year
autumn sow broad beans
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for November

Fading light conditions can make time for the garden almost impossible if you’re busy, now is the time to get motivated to put the garden to bed for the winter. However, there are planting possibilities for milder areas of the UK to be getting on with. It’s well worth removing weeds and spreading manure or organic compost if you can. Being productive now should save time come spring – and your soil will love you for it.

autumn sow broad beans

Some jobs for November:

  • Make a leaf bin and start collecting fallen leaves to make leaf mould
  • Plant autumn garlic and winter onion sets
  • Prune apple and pear trees
  • Prune soft fruit bushes
  • Cover frost tender plants at night with horticultural fleece, don’t forget greenhouse plants!
  • Plant new bare-root fruit trees, bushes and canes
  • Make a note of what your grew and where, include successes and failures – it will help you plan crop rotation for next year
  • Continue tidying and harvesting the last crops
  • Rhubarb is now dormant, propagate established plants or plant new sets
  • Sow hardy broad beans (Aquadulce Claudia) and peas (Meteor) for an early crop late spring
  • Make or buy bug boxes or ‘hotels’ to help beneficial insects survive the winter
  • Check water butts/barrels and drain if necessary
  • Remove fallen leaves from the surface of wildlife ponds
  • Plant spring bulbs for a splash of colour
  • Order seed catalogues
  • Don’t forget to bring frost tender potted plants inside before the first frost arrives!
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for October

Clocks go back, days are drawing in quick and the threat of the first frost looms. Cold biting winds, falling leaves and dreary weather are signalling the end of the gardening year, take a moment to look around you and marvel at October’s autumn colour palette. It sure is beautiful, especially when the sun shines. There are still jobs to be getting on with in the vegetable garden, so don’t put your tools away just yet!

Some jobs for October:

  • Keep picking those courgettes and beans before the first frost arrives
  • Sow green manures
  • Tidy the strawberry bed, pot up stray runners and overwinter in a greenhouse or well-lit shed
  • Make a leaf bin and start collecting fallen leaves to make leaf mould
  • Start planting garlic at the end of the month
  • Keep picking cut flowers for the house before the first frosts
  • Harvest and carve pumpkins for Halloween/Samhain celebrations
  • Autumn sow hardy broad beans (Aquadulce Claudia) and peas (Meteor) for an early crop late spring
  • Start the autumn garden tidy up, try not to be overly tidy though, leave messy areas for wildlife
  • Leave sunflower heads for birds to enjoy
  • Make or buy bug boxes or ‘hotels’ to help beneficial insects survive the winter
  • Plant spring bulbs for a splash of colour
  • Don’t forget to bring frost tender potted plants inside before the first frost arrives!
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for September

Summer is holding on by a thread and nights are definitely drawing in. There’s still plenty to harvest this month including beans and courgettes, autumn raspberries and other berries should be plentiful too. Pumpkins should be swelling nicely, deepening in colour ready for harvesting from next month onwards.

green tomatoes

Some jobs for September:

  • Keep picking courgettes, aim to get them small before they become big and watery
  • Turn your compost heap
  • Pick green tomatoes that show no sign of ripening by the end of the month, bring them indoors to ripen or use them green in chutney
  • Sow green manures
  • Harvest the first apples and pears
  • Keep harvesting main crop potatoes as needed
  • Earth up brassicas to prevent them toppling over
  • Pick autumn raspberries
  • Check stakes and ties for giant sunflower varieties, as the flower heads produce seeds they become heavier. Leave them in place for the wild birds.
  • Earth up leeks
  • Sweet corn cobs should be ready for picking, check by peeling a layer back and piercing the cobs with your finger nail, if the juice is milky they’re ready!
  • Harvest the last of the onions, allow to dry before storing
  • Propagate strawberries by gently pushing rooted runners into the soil or small pots of soil. Sever the runner from the adult plant as the runners put on growth and develop a stronger root system.
  • Place bricks or plastic trays underneath swelling pumpkins to prevent them from rotting on wet ground.
  • Harvest regularly and enjoy!
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for August

All the hard work is starting to pay off, the vegetable garden is producing plenty to take back to the kitchen. Beans and courgettes will need picking daily; blanche and freeze beans to avoid a glut or waste, try to pick courgettes before they become too big and watery. As space becomes available, over wintering crops such as leek, kale and purple sprouting broccoli can be planted out.

runner beans

Some jobs for August:

  • Keep watering tomatoes (especially greenhouse varieties), pinch out side shoots as they appear and growing tips once 4 or 5 trusses have formed. Keep feeding. For ripening tomatoes, tie in main stems to extra canes to support heavy trusses.
  • Cut to the ground all the summer fruiting raspberry canes that have borne fruit, tie in the new green canes for next years fruit.
  • Pick courgette flowers for stuffing or frying
  • Keep sowing salad leaves, radish and lettuce
  • Sow or transplant spring cabbages
  • Plant out the last of kale and purple sprouting broccoli
  • Sow Pak Choi
  • Harvest main crop potatoes, keep earthing up rows to prevent tubers turning green
  • Earth up sweet corn and brassicas to prevent them toppling over
  • Keep cutting sweet pea flowers to bring indoors, remove seed pods to encourage more flowers
  • Ventilate the greenhouse
  • Water regularly
  • Harvest the last of the garlic, allow to dry before stringing
  • Harvest onions if ready, allow to dry before storing
  • Propagate strawberries by gently pushing rooted runners into the soil or small pots of soil. Sever the runner from the adult plant as the runners put on growth and develop a stronger root system.
  • For larger pumpkins, feed once a week with organic tomato feed, in damp weather lift fruits clear of the ground and place onto bricks or plastic trays to prevent rotting.
  • Pinch out the tops of climbing beans to prevent them becoming top-heavy and to encourage new growth lower down
  • Harvest regularly and enjoy!
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for July

 

sunflower

Some jobs for July:

  • If you haven’t done so already, plant out or sow runner beans, French beans and courgettes
  • Plant out Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli for a crop next spring
  • Keep feeding tomatoes weekly, pinch out side shoots on cordon varieties
  • Snap off onion and garlic scape (flower spikes) as they appear
  • Keep the hoe and watering can busy!
  • If you have the space, keep sowing beetroot, kohl rabi, radish, spring onions, lettuce, peas and carrots
  • Keep picking soft fruits such as strawberries, currants, raspberries, hybrid berries and gooseberries
  • Pinch out the growing tips of broad beans once the pods start to form to discourage black fly
  • Begin harvesting main crop potatoes
  • Cut sweet pea flowers to bring indoors, remove seed pods to encourage more flowers
  • Tie in Runner Beans and sunflowers as they grow
  • Ventilate the greenhouse
  • Transplant or ‘dib in’ leek seedlings once they’re the width of a pencil
  • Begin harvesting garlic and onions if ready, lay garlic bulbs out to dry on racks in a well ventilated greenhouse or shed, lay onions on the ground in the sun (or the greenhouse if the weather is bad)
  • Prevent heads of white cauliflowers turning yellow in the sun by pulling the nearest large leaves over and snapping into place
  • Begin propagating strawberries using runners
  • Harvest crops when ready and enjoy!

 

Jobs Each Month

Jobs for June

I love the month of June. The weather is starting to warm, everything is growing quicker, the risk of frost diminishes and interesting looking crops such as coloured beans and squash can be planted out or sown. You may even be harvesting potatoes, broad beans and peas along with salad leaves and ripening summer strawberries.

IMG_3674peas

Some jobs for June:

  • Plant out or sow runner and French beans (if you haven’t done so already), courgettes and squash
  • Plant out sweetcorn, pumpkins, kale and purple sprouting broccoli
  • Start feeding tomatoes, pinch out side shoots on cordon varieties
  • Snap off onion and garlic scape (flower spikes) as they appear
  • Keep the hoe and watering can busy!
  • Keep sowing carrots, beets, salad crops, spring onion and radish
  • Make June the last month to harvest your rhubarb, allowing it to rest
  • Pinch out the growing tips of broad beans once the pods start to form to discourage black fly
  • Harvest peas, early and second early potatoes, autumn sown broad beans, salad crops and strawberries
  • Tie in Runner Beans as they grow
  • Sow Florence fennel where they’re to crop
  • Plant a herb bed
  • Ventilate the greenhouse
  • Transplant or ‘dib in’ leek seedlings once they’re the width of a pencil.
  • Keep sowing beetroot, kohl rabi, radish, spring onions, lettuce and peas every two weeks
  • Weed in-between onions and garlic
  • Plant the last of your seed potatoes
  • Cut out flower spikes from the middle of rhubarb crowns
  • Check support for summer raspberries, blackberries and other hybrid berries, tie in canes.
  • Thin out crowded raspberry canes if you didn’t do it last month
  • Plant out sunflowers and other half-hardy flowering annuals
  • Thin carrot seedlings and consider sowing more rows
  • Plant out sweet pea if you haven’t done so already
  • Harvest crops when ready and enjoy!
peas growing on chicken wire support
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for May

May is the month when seed sowing is in full swing, space in the greenhouse is filling up fast with seed trays and pots. Hardier crops started earlier in the year should be hardened off during the day before planting into their final positions. Tender crops such as beans and squashes can be sown undercover now. If the weather is particularly fine, sow beans direct where they are to crop.

peas growing on chicken wire support

Some jobs for May:

  • Sow French and runner beans either in pots (undercover) or direct, depending on weather conditions
  • Harvest asparagus spears
  • Check growth of greenhouse seedlings and water as necessary. If the weather is warm ventilate the greenhouse.
  • Sow sweet corn under glass or indoors using small pots or toilet roll tubes
  • Continue hardening off crops before planting out
  • Transplant or ‘dib in’ leek seedlings once they’re the width of a pencil.
  • Sow beetroot, kohl rabi and Swiss chard direct (depending on weather conditions). Beetroot will benefit from cloche protection.
  • Sow cucumber, pumpkins, courgettes and other squashes under glass or indoors for successful germination.
  • Plant out Brussels sprouts, summer cabbages and summer sprouting broccoli once risk of frost is over
  • Sow early purple sprouting broccoli direct or undercover depending on weather conditions
  • Keep the hoe busy!
  • Keep sowing radish, spring onions, lettuce and peas every two weeks
  • Remove weeds around onions, shallots and garlic
  • Support autumn sowings of tall variety broad beans with canes and string between each row
  • Plant the last of your seed potatoes
  • Cut out flower spikes from the middle of rhubarb crowns
  • Check support for summer raspberries, blackberries and other hybrid berries, tie in canes.
  • Thin out crowded raspberry canes
  • Earth up second early and main crop potatoes, cover rows with pieces of thick cardboard for extra protection if severe frost threatens
  • Plant out sunflowers and other half-hardy flowering annuals raised in pots at the end of the month (weather permitting) otherwise wait until next month
  • Thin carrot seedlings and consider sowing more rows
  • Plant out sweet pea once hardened off, pinch out the growing tips if you haven’t done so already
  • Keep a roll of horticultural fleece to hand, cover outdoor peas and greenhouse seedlings at night if very cold or frost threatens
  • Succession sow herbs such as coriander, dill and parsley. Undercover if necessary.
  • Check developing gooseberry fruit for signs of mildew.
Jobs Each Month

Jobs for April

April can be a mixed bag of weather and often unpredictable, making visits to the allotment (or garden) difficult if you don’t have a shed or greenhouse in which to retreat. Nights are chilly and frosts are still troublesome so don’t risk planting out anything tender. There’s plenty of things that you can be getting on with this month, such as sowing or planting hardy crops outside. If it’s particularly chilly where you are, try covering the areas of soil where you want to sow with cloches. Warm soil makes for successful germination. Keep a roll of horticultural fleece to hand, you never know when you may need it.

More jobs that can be tackled this month:

  • Harvest the first asparagus spears of the year
  • Plant asparagus crowns in a well prepared trench or sow seed indoors
  • Sow parsnip, carrots and broad beans direct outside if the soil is warm
  • Get areas of soil ready for sowing by covering with cloches
  • Erect runner bean poles
  • Plant second early or main crop potatoes
  • Pot on tomato and chilli seedlings
  • Keep sowing crops such as peas, spring onions, radish and salad crops for a continuous harvest
  • Harden off young plants raised indoors before planting out. Move them outside during warm days and then back in at night
  • Keep the hoe busy!
  • Make the bees happy – sow wildflower seed mix direct where they are to flower
  • Harvest established early rhubarb for those warming crumbles
  • Plant out onion sets if you didn’t do it last month
  • Sow some flowers such as sunflowers and other half-hardy annuals indoors

 

Jobs Each Month

Jobs for March

March is an exciting and busy time for the vegetable gardener. Seed sowing can really begin now but always keep an eye on weather conditions and try to plan ahead, far better to follow the weather than the calendar.

Jobs that can be tackled this month, depending on weather conditions:

  • Sow early peas in guttering, modules or direct if the soil is warm enough
  • Sow chillies and tomatoes, keeping the trays on a warm sunny windowsill indoors
  • Plant early potatoes
  • Sow sweetcorn into individual pots towards the middle of the month, put them in a greenhouse or place on a sunny windowsill and keep the pots warm
  • Sow sweet peas (for their lovely flowers and perfume)
  • Plant raspberry canes
  • Sow brassicas under cover
  • Beetroot can be started early in modules inside the greenhouse, plant seedlings out once conditions are right
  • Plant asparagus crowns
  • Sow lettuce and radish in a cold frame or under cloches
  • Carrots and turnips can be sown outdoors under cloches
  • Plant strawberries

Depending on the weather, some of these jobs may not be possible to carry out, but can be tackled another time once conditions are right.

Jobs Each Month

Jobs for February

February is the month of love and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t love your garden this time of year despite the weather being bitterly cold. Snow may be on the ground making gardening difficult, but venturing outside and spotting signs that the garden is beginning to wake from its winter slumber should cheer you up no end. Spring bulbs are pushing through and that’s something to smile about. It’s too early to get sowing really underway, although some crops can be started off this month along with those that benefit from a long growing season. A heated propagator or greenhouse will be invaluable to get seeds off to a flying start, but light levels can be a problem resulting in spindly seedlings. If your fingers are itching to get started then have a go at a few early sowings, it’s not the end of the world if you fail – just try again.

Some jobs that can be tackled this month:

  • If the ground is not frozen sow hardy broad beans direct such as Aquadulce Claudia, do give them a head start by warming the ground with a tunnel cloche and keep covered until they germinate, sow in pots if conditions are a problem and plant out once the weather warms.
  • Plant dormant bare-root fruit trees and bushes if conditions allow
  • Chit seed potatoes
  • Plant shallot sets and more garlic
  • Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers direct outside, keep in mind that once established it can be difficult to clear the ground they’ve occupied of tubers, the plants grow well over 6 ft high and can create shade. Chose the planting site carefully.
  • Force established rhubarb
  • Sow onion seed
  • Start early sowings of brassicas such as summer cabbages and Brussel sprouts under cover
  • Sow long season crops such as leeks tomatoes and chillies
  • Sow winter salad in a cold frame
  • Sow sweet pea in root trainers
  • Finish winter pruning apple and pear trees
  • Cut autumn raspberry canes to ground level

Depending on the weather, some of these jobs may not be possible to carry out, but can be tackled another time once conditions are right.

Jobs Each Month

Jobs for January

January is usually a cold month, if the weather is particularly severe there may be little to do in the vegetable garden, but now is the perfect time to plan for the busy year ahead. Browse seed catalogues and plan what you’re going to grow and where, drawing a plan of your plot can help. If you’re a busy person, think about how much time you can realistically spend in your garden or at your allotment, try to plan accordingly, avoiding the mistake of growing too much all at once. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially if you’re a beginner, far better to choose crops that you enjoy eating or find easy to grow. Add more to your list as your confidence grows.

Some jobs that can be tackled in January:

  • Order seed potatoes for chitting this month or next
  • Force established rhubarb
  • Sow broad beans if you didn’t get around to it during autumn
  • Prune blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes
  • Top up empty beds with organic matter (if you haven’t already) before snow arrives
  • Make a runner bean trench
  • Clean the greenhouse including pots and trays
  • Plant fruit trees if weather allows
  • Order or buy onion sets
  • Cut autumn fruiting raspberry canes to just above ground level this month or next

I will be posting jobs each month for the veg and fruit garden. Depending on the weather, some of these jobs may not be possible to carry out, but can be tackled another time once conditions are right.