Gardening Diary

This page has been included to provide the allotment gardeners with monthly view of the various tasks which should be carried out to ensure a steady supply of vegetables. There is also a Sowing and Harvesting guide at the foot of this page.

A Year in the Garden

JANUARY
A quiet time in the vegetable garden, but you can dig if the soil is not too wet. Rhubarb can be planted now. Cover established crowns with an upturned bucket to force an early crop. A few crops may be sown – leeks, onions for exhibition and tomatoes for a heated greenhouse are started this month under glass indoors – radishes can be sown outdoors under cloches.
MAY
A busy time in the vegetable garden – sowing,
planting and hoeing. Sow French beans, runner beans, beetroot, carrots, chicory, outdoor cucumber, kale, marrows, courgettes, main crop peas, mangetout, radishes, spinach and swedes. Finish sowing broad beans, leaf beet, summer and winter cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
It is planting time for a number of crops –
Brussels sprouts, celeriac, celery, capsicum, summer cabbage and tomatoes in a cold greenhouse. Prepare the planting sites for courgettes, marrows and outdoor cucumbers. Harvest early-sown lettuce and radishes.
SEPTEMBER
Many of the vegetables which could be gathered in August can also be harvested this
month, but there are additional ones – sweet corn, celery, autumn cauliflowers, Brussels
sprouts raised under cloches, early savoy, red cabbage and early leeks. Maincrop potatoes
and carrots are lifted for storage this month.
Pick tomatoes from outdoor plants and bring indoors for ripening. Plant spring cabbage.
FEBRUARY
A busier time than January, but frosty weather
may make outdoor work impossible. Peas, broad beans, radishes and turnips can be sown under clothes and greenhouse cucumbers are started indoors. Shallot planting can begin and now is the time to buy seed potatoes and set them in trays to encourage sprouting. Inspect plants for wind damage. Stake if necessary.
JUNE
June is an important planting month rather than a seed-sowing one, although
successional sowings of lettuces, French beans, radishes and peas continue. Finish sowing beetroot, carrots and swedes. Vegetables for planting out include broccoli,
early potatoes; Brussels sprouts, sweet corn, winter cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, leeks, courgettes, marrows and outdoor tomatoes and cucumbers – a lengthy list! Finish cutting asparagus. Begin picking early sown broad beans. Keep the plot
watered if a dry spell occurs. Keep watch for pest attacks. Damp down the floor and
staging of the greenhouse to maintain a moist atmosphere. Apply shading to the glass.
OCTOBER
Sow peas under cloches for May-June crop.
If you live in mild district you can sow lettuce under cloches for spring use. Finish planting spring cabbage.
October is the great harvest month. Finish
cropping French beans, runner beans, marrows, potatoes, summer cabbage, sweet corn, maincrop carrots, maincrop beetroot, greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers,
summer-sown lettuce, winter radishes and turnips. Start harvesting swedes, maincrop
turnips, Brussels sprouts an.d winter cabbage.
MARCH
The vegetable year starts in earnest this
month but do not rush to sow all the early-season vegetables if the soil is still very wet and cold. March is the peak time for sowing broad beans, Brussels sprouts, leeks, onions, parsnips, early peas and early turnips. It is also the month for sowing various crops under glass – capsicum. celeriac, celery, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Plant early potatoes and onion sets. Summer
cabbage can be sown under cloches and so can early carrots. Top dress spring cabbage with fertilizer. Plant tomato and cucumber seedlings in pots or grow bags in a heated greenhouse.
JULY
There are numerous vegetables to harvest this month – broad beans, early-sown French beans, beetroot, greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, courgettes, shallots, onions,
lettuce, peas, radishes, onions etc. Sow chicory, winter radishes and main-crop
turnips. Continue planting lettuce and peas. Finish planting broccoli, winter cabbage, cauliflower, kale and leeks. Hoe as necessary
– spray against cabbage white caterpillar and potato blight if attacks are seen. Water during
a dry spell. Feed with a liquid fertilizer. Pinch out side shoots on cordon tomato plants.
NOVEMBER
Cleaning up starts in earnest – begin digging. Sow broad beans in a sheltered spot and
lettuce under cloches. Force chicory and cut back globe artichokes.
Harvest Brussels sprouts, winter cabbage,
summer-sown carrots, celeriac, celery, leeks, parsnips, swedes and turnips. November is the last month for gathering leaf beet and autumn cauliflower. Put together your seed order for next year – don’t wait until the last minute.
APRIL
A peak month for sowing seed outdoors. Now is the time to put in broad beans, leaf beet, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, summer and winter cabbage, carrots, cauliflower,
lettuce, peas, lettuces. spiach and turnips. Finish sowing leeks, onions and parsnip.
In April complete the planting of potatoes, globe artichokes and asparagus – start cutting
asparagus on established beds. Sow French beans under cloches in the south and in warmer districts plant out tomato seedlings in a cold greenhouse. A number of vegetables can be harvested this month including late broccoli, turnip tops, spring cabbage and
rhubarb. Kale and leek harvesting come to an end this month.
AUGUST
Sow winter spinach, short-rooted carrots, lettuce for an early winter crop, Japanese
onions, winter radishes, maincrop turnips, salad onions and spring cabbage. There are lots of cultural jobs this month – watering, hoeing, spraying, blanching celery etc., but August is a peak month for gathering in the crops – broad beans, French beans, runner beans, leaf beet, beetroot, green broccoli, summer cabbage, capsicum, carrots, summer cauliflower, greenhouse and outdoor cucumbers and tomatoes, marrows, courgettes, onions, shallots, peas, early potatoes and globe artichokes.
DECEMBER
Continue digging if weather permits. Check over your tools and oil if necessary. In many gardens there is little to gather in December apart form Brussel Sprouts, but in the well-stocked plot, there are many vegetables to gather. These include summer-sown carrots, summer-sown lettuce under cloches, winter spinach, swedes, turnips, winter cabbage, savoy, celery, kale, chicory and leeks.


Sowing and Harvesting Chart

With grateful thanks to Dr D.G Hessayon. Extracted from his Expert Vegetable Notebook published by Transworld Publishers,