Grow your own gardening calendar

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your garden or aiming to make the most of your outdoor space, award-winning seed supplier Dobies of Devon has produced this handy grow your own gardening calendar so you know exactly what to plant and when.

own gardening calendar

January

This is the month when your garden will likely experience some of the harshest weather of the year. Fortunately, the Winter Solstice will have passed and, as a result, plants will be trying to increase their growth rate to take into account the amount of light they receive.

Checklist for growing your own in January

  • Plant bare-root trees and bushes, as long as the soil isn’t frozen.
  • Use a mild area of the garden to sow broad beans.
  • Start sowing seeds indoors for early crops — cabbage, cauliflowers, lettuce, salad onions, spinach and turnip are all great for this.
  • Used a heated propagator to sow onion seeds.
  • Prune all of the following:
  • Apples
  • Autumn raspberries
  • Currants
  • Gooseberries
  • Medlars
  • Pears
  • Quinces
  • Harvest any citrus fruits, as long as they are mature.
  • Lift rhubarb crowns up using compost and transfer them to a cool greenhouse.
  • Plant garlic cloves in pots.

February

While the first signs of spring may peek through, frost and snow are still likely in February, so vulnerable plants will still need protecting. A gardener’s patience will be rewarded in the months to come.

Checklist for growing your own in February

  • Plant fruit trees, bushes, canes and vines,as long as the soil isn’t frozen.
  • Chit potato tubers, with the plan to plant them out around six weeks after.
  • Sow cucumber and tomato seeds from the middle of the month, ready for them to start growing in a greenhouse.
  • Plant out garlic and shallots but only in light soils at the moment.
  • Early beetroot, broad beans, bulb onions, carrots, lettuce, parsnips, peas, spinach and summer cabbages can be sowed outside under cloches this month, if you have light soil and live in a mild area of the UK.
  • Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
  • Use a garden fleece to cover strawberry plant so to encourage early fruiting.
  • Plant summer-fruiting raspberries.
  • Harvest Brussel sprouts, harvest leeks and sprouting broccoli.

March

The beginning of spring also represents the start of sowing in your garden. Just be aware of the unpredictable British weather — everything should be covered in fleece if you hear severe weather forecasts, to prevent your early spring work being undone.

Checklist for growing your own in March

  • Plant bare-root fruit trees — it’s the last chance to do so in the calendar year.
  • Prune any hardy fruit trees present in your garden.
  • If you want to have a fruit garden, plant cranberries, lingonberries and cold-stored strawberry runners. Seeds of alpine strawberries should also be sowed.
  • Force rhubarb.
  • When it comes to growing vegetables, plant asparagus crowns, garlic sets, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, onions and shallots.
  • Chit any early and maincrop potatoes.
  • Outdoors, all of the following seeds should be sowed but only in mild areas of the garden that have light soil:
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Carrots
  • Kohl rabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Salad leaves
  • Spinach
  • Summer cabbage
  • Summer cauliflower
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip
  • Indoors, all of the following seeds should be sowed:
  • Aubergines
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Globe artichokes
  • Salads
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • If you’re growing cherries, cooking apples, pears and plums, you should apply a standard nitrogen feed. A high nitrogen feed is recommended for blackcurrants.
  • All citrus trees should have a summer feed applied.
  • Feed any crops that have been standing in your garden throughout the winter months.

April

This is the month when the growing season truly gets underway. Get ready to see a raft of bulbs, shrubs and trees come into full bloom — winter will quickly seem like a distant memory.

Checklist for growing your own in April

  • Plant any fruit trees and bushes that are grown from pots.
  • Prune raspberry canes to six inches.
  • Look for any rotting fruit within fruit stores.
  • Plant asparagus crowns, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, onion sets and shallots.
  • Outside, all of the following seeds should be sowed, but only in well-prepared soil:
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Hamburg parsley
  • Kohl rabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Perpetual spinach
  • Pickling onions
  • Radish
  • Salsify
  • Scorzonera
  • Spring onions
  • Summer cauliflower
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip
  • Outside, all of the following should be sowed towards the end of the month, but only in very mild areas of the garden and under cloches or fleece:
  • Dwarf French beans
  • Sweetcorn
  • Indoors, all of the following should be sowed:
  • Aubergines
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumbers
  • Globe artichokes
  • Marrows
  • Pumpkins
  • Salads
  • Squash
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • During the first couple of weeks of April, chit and plant out second early potatoes.
  • During the last couple of weeks of April, chit and plant out maincrop potatoes.

May

It’s time to get outdoors as summer’s just around the corner. The warmer weather will mean that your garden will be full of colour; this is the time of year when a whole host of perennial flowers and shrubs look their best.

Checklist for growing your own in May

  • Plant out any alpine strawberry seedlings that were sown during the early months of spring.
  • Sow outdoor melons, but only in a heated propagator.
  • Outside and directly into prepared beds, all of the following should be sowed:
  • Cucumbers
  • French beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Runner beans
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn should be sowed outside in blocks with at least 45cm of spacing and two seeds per hole.
  • Sow cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli and witloof chicory.
  • So long as there is no lingering risk of frost, plant out artichokes, courgettes, pumpkins and self-blanching celery. All of these should have been sown under cover up to this point of the year.
  • Indoors, sow ridge cucumbers.
  • Once a fortnight, liquid feed any fruit trees that are growing in pots with a balanced feed.
  • Winter protection should be removed from fights and pruning carried out on the fruit.

June

It’s June, which hopefully means that your garden is packed with a colourful array of flowers and foliage, plants are experience excellent levels of growth and the weather is a lot warmer than the last few months. Just be on alert that weeds will be flourishing too and should be dealt with swiftly.

Checklist for growing your own in June

  • Move any forced strawberries outdoors.
  • Outside, all of the following should be sowed:
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans (directly into prepared beds)
  • Calabrese
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Courgettes (only in southern districts)
  • Cucumbers (directly into prepared beds)
  • French beans (directly into prepared beds)
  • Kohl rabi
  • Marrows (only in southern districts)
  • Pak choi
  • Peas (directly into prepared beds)
  • Pumpkins (only in southern districts)
  • Radish
  • Runner beans (directly into prepared beds)
  • Squash (directly into prepared beds)
  • Sweetcorn (directly into prepared beds)
  • Turnips
  • Treat potatoes and tomatoes against blight.
  • Plant out celeriac, celery, outdoor ridge cucumbers, sweet peppers, winter brassicas and any artichokes that were previously sown under cover.
  • Apply a high potassium liquid feed to any fruit grown from pots.
  • Apply a liquid tomato feed to ridge cucumbers.
  • Thin out any seedlings.

July

You can marvel in fruit and vegetables that are beginning to ripen throughout July, as well as enjoy seeing plants flower in magnificent fashion. Just be sure that all produce in your garden is getting enough water, as July tends to be among the hottest months of the year.

Checklist for growing your own in July

  • Sow all of the following:
  • Both autumn and winter salads
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Chicory
  • Fennel
  • French beans (only in southern districts)
  • Oriental vegetables
  • Runner beans (only in southern districts)
  • Turnips
  • Harvest all of the following:
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Bulb onions
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Coriander
  • Cucumber
  • Dwarf beans (only early varieties)
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Rhubarb
  • Rocket
  • Runner beans (only early varieties)
  • Spinach
  • Spring onions
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Plant out brassicas and leeks.
  • Complete the summer pruning of apple trees, gooseberries, kiwi fruit, pear trees, redcurrants and white currants.
  • Pick courgettes before they become marrows.
  • Mulch all fruit with organic matter — chopped leaves, compost and wood chipping will all work — so that water loss is reduced and weeds are suppressed.

August

The summer holidays are now in full swing but remember that this is often another hot month. Therefore, make sure you keep on watering produce throughout your garden — perhaps invest in an automatic watering system if you’re celebrating the holidays with a getaway, or at least ask a family member, friend or neighbour to help out.

Checklist for growing your own in August

  • Plant out rooted strawberry runners.
  • Sow all of the following:
  • Chicory (only in southern districts)
  • Crimson clover
  • Fennel (only in southern districts)
  • Italian ryegrass
  • Oriental vegetables (only in southern districts)
  • Overwintering onions (only in southern districts)
  • Radish (only in southern districts)
  • Rocket (only in southern districts)
  • Sorrel (only in southern districts)
  • Spring cabbage (only in southern districts)
  • Summer lettuce (only in southern districts)
  • Turnips (only in southern districts)
  • Summer prune restricted apples and pears, as well as any sideshoots on restricted trees.
  • Once they have fruited, prune apricots, nectarines and peaches.
  • After a harvest, prune damsons, gages and plums.
  • Prune out any fruited summer raspberry canes while tying in new varieties.
  • Treat tomatoes and potatoes from blight.

September

The summer may be over but there’s still plenty to do in the garden to get the space ready for the autumn months ahead. Harvesting will surely keep you occupied as the days get shorter too.

Checklist for growing your own in September

  • Plant new strawberry beds and overwintering onion sets.
  • Plant out any spring cabbages that were sown during August, covering them in either horticultural fleece or some netting to keep pigeons from shredding them.
  • Sow all of the following vegetables so that they are ready to mature next spring:
  • Oriental vegetables
  • Turnip
  • Spinach
  • Winter lettuce
  • Prune blackcurrants.
  • Harvest all of the following:
  • Apples
  • Haricot beans
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Store apples
  • After a harvest, spur prune kiwi fruit.
  • Following fruiting, cut back any old canes of blackberries and hybrid berries and tie in the new canes.
  • Get your orders in for any new cold stored strawberry runners, fruit bushes, fruit canes and fruit trees so that they can be delivered and set up in time for winter.
  • Cut down asparagus foliage once it turns brown, being sure to take care of their spines and giving them an adequate mulch after the proceedings.

October

You are sure to be feeling a chill in the air this month, though raking up all of those leaves is a task that could well work up a sweat. At least you can get on with the task while taking in the crisp autumn colours that make October so easy on the eyes.

Checklist for growing your own in October

  • Plant cranberries and lingonberries.
  • Take cuttings of blueberries, currants and gooseberries.
  • Dig up rooted layers of blackberries and hybrid berries.
  • Sow overwintering broad beans, but only in mild areas, and ensure you cover them with cloches or fleece so that they receive insulation and protection from pigeons.
  • Sow carrots and peas in cold frames, but only in mild areas.
  • Plant autumn onion sets and garlic cloves.
  • Trim over a cranberry bed.
  • Get your orders in for new raspberries, as well as any seeds that you plan to grow next year.
  • Dig up outdoor tomato plants, hanging them upside-down in a greenhouse so that the fruits are able to ripen. Don’t worry if some of the fruit doesn’t ripen — they can be used green in chutneys.
  • Harvest all of the following, with the first frost being your deadline to work towards:
  • Spring onions
  • Sweetcorn
  • Pot-up chives, mint and parsley so that they are ready for the winter months.

November

The cold snap will certainly have taken hold by now, so only plant any new fruit trees and bushes if the ground hasn’t been subjected to frost, or is dry enough. Spend any spare time in the garden ensuring that any birds that visit are well-fed.

Checklist for growing your own in November

  • So long as the ground isn’t frosted or too wet, plant any new fruit trees and fruit bushes.
  • Dig up chicory roots, remove any foliage, pot them up and then position them in a dark and warm location. Give it between three and six weeks and chicons should appear.
  • Sow over wintering broad beans, but only where the soil is well drained and in mild areas.
  • Prune all of the following:
  • Apples
  • Gooseberries
  • Medlars
  • Pears
  • Quinces
  • Redcurrants
  • White currants
  • Look out for any yellowed leaves on Brussel sprouts and other brassicas, being sure to remove these to stop the development of issues such as brassica downy mildew or grey mould.
  • Look out for any plant debris in a vegetable plot, being sure to remove these.

December

There’s not a lot of growing that can be done in the garden throughout the festive season. Instead, use this month to tidy up your garden if it’s subjected to harsh winter storms, and carry out maintenance of your gardening tools and machinery so that they are ready to use in the New Year.

Checklist for growing your own in December

  • So long as the ground isn’t frosted or too wet, plant any new fruit trees and fruit bushes.
  • Plant garlic and shallots, but only in mild areas and in well-drained soil.
  • Plant early varieties of vegetables in greenhouses.
  • Prune all of the following:
  • Apples
  • Autumn raspberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Medlars
  • Pears
  • Quinces
  • Redcurrants
  • White currants
  • Look out for any yellowed leaves on Brussels sprouts and other brassicas, being sure to remove these to stop the development of issues such as brassica downy mildew or grey mould.
  • Look out for any plant debris in a vegetable plot, being sure to remove these.

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