This is the fourth draft of my guide to growing an abundance of vegetables all year round, especially in the so called Hungry Gap.  The "jobs for the month" sections have been expanded in this version.

<aside> 💡 If you want to see information on what I personally sowed and planted in each month, along with progress videos, then you can find those in the reference information section of the book.


Alternative guides

There are some alternative guides out there that I highly recommend.  Charles Dowding has a very useful one that covers a few more varieties than mine, his is distilled from a very humbling (for me) 36 years of experience, his guide though is very market gardening focused!  The Garden Focused web site allows you to build a bare bones guide completely customised to your needs, which is really fantastic.

Detailed guides

I now have monthly detailed guides, that include these overviews, but go into much more detail. These guides include overviews of all of the successional sowings that I recommend for each month, links to all of the relevant growing guides and much more.

You can find these monthly guides in the section of my book, titled Monthly Detailed Growing Guides, or just click the link.

General advice

  1. Observe your plants, keep on the lookout for greenfly, whitefly and other pests. Look for plants doing well or suffering and try to figure out why. Walk around allotment sites and look for anything that's growing well at this time of year, maybe consider growing it too.
  2. Research things that you observe, try understand what you are seeing and why.
  3. Experiment with different varieties, different timings, different amendments, keep learning
  4. Diversify your plantings, don't just plant a single variety in one bed at the same time. It's much more resilient to sow several batches of different varieties and plant in different places, it helps with successional harvests too
  5. Relax, if you read gardening books they can be over-whelming, listing hundreds of pests and diseases. You could go a little crazy trying to protect against them all and most of it would be unnecessary. Instead take basic precautions like a good quality net and try and grow healthy plants with minimum amendments (just 1-2" of compost and a bit of blood fish and bone). Then observe, research and experiment to solve the particular problems that YOU have in your environment.
  6. Try interplanting but be cautious. It's easy for one plant to overwhelm another, or for one to finish leaving a bed under utilised while you wait for the other to mature.
  7. Keep productive plants and living roots in the soil for as much of the year as you can, when plants finish leave the roots in the soil to decay and replant.
  8. Keep soil covered with a mulch of compost, manure or wood-chip, try not to bring soil to the surface, it will be full of weed seeds. Don't disturb the soil and don't dig unless you have to. When planting dib a hole with a spade/fork handle, or push a trowel into the soil and pull it towards you to make a hole. See Charles Dowding's web site for obsessive advice on this topic, but don’t just accept the hype.

Usage notes


Jobs: Prune grapesfruit bushes, apple and pear trees.  Put down new wood chip on the paths, before the weeds get started and while there’s not much else to do.  Start chitting those potatoes, although if you want super-early ones start in December.  Give everything a good clean and tidy while you still have time!

I don’t recommend sowing seeds in January, but there are some specific circumstances where it might be worthwhile.