The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

The Dug Out’s Secret Garden Directory!

Series Introduction …

Episode 11# – Will there be a Season 6?

I received an email last night from a friend of the blog asking if there will be a Season 6 Doin’ The Dirt – Gardening? The answer is … yes. This current series happens to be Season 5 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh – Summer/Autumn/Winter 2020 and its job was to cover the move from the last garden and see me through until Spring 2021. This Season is more of an interim stop gap series as a way of introducing the new garden to the readership and the blog. It also helps me to study the garden’s behaviors and see how it fares through some of the seasons.

Garden Update

I don’t currently having any real fruit/veg growers with the approach of Winter looming, and yet having said that … l do have two indoor pepper plants that are being allowed to just stay as they are in preparations for early crop next year.

Outside and in the gallery above you can see a huge pot of Cape Gooseberry, they originally transferred from the Hillyfields garden in three smaller pots and l transferred them to one large pot and allowed them to grow and die off naturally, so they too will start the next season early.

Aside from that l have a pot of mixed parsley and a pot of horseradish. All the other growing medium and pots etc, have been fed and turned, mulched and covered for the Winter itself. They will be turned and fed again in early March and mulched in prep for the later Spring season and early summer season plantings.

I haven’t clearly defined nor decided to myself what l shall be growing fruit and vegetable wise aside from crops already mentioned for next year. l will be more aware of that in the next few months.

I do know the names of the series that will be running inside Season 6 and at least one of the new designs is available, the other two are being worked on. However the 3 new mini series within the actual season will be:

Season 6 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh

The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!
A – Z Gardening Compendium
The Compost Bin
The Worm Bin

The ‘Bins’ will probably not interest everyone but will cover in depth the ins and outs of both worm farming and composting. Whilst the A – Z Compendium will look at specifics and share hints and tips about the fruits, vegetables, herbs and ornamentals being grown whilst the Secret Garden will look at the garden in an overview style.

Compost Bin Update

Once every 12 days or so l check the contents of the composters. I am currently working a cold compost unit which is half filled with my garden debris and l will be asking my neighbours next door and across the road if they would be able to award me their garden wastes? The courtyard garden as you can clearly see from the photographs is quite small, but comprises mostly of branch and shrubbery waste materials and very small quantities of weeds with occasionally windfalls of leaves.

The latter however l have been tending to allow to be swept back into the ornamental garden beds and stay there to serve as a a covering mulch for the later autumn and winter months. They will gradually break down into a compost for the soils, but before that happens they will leechate valuable nutrients for all the microorganisms in the garden soils themselves.

When Suze’s garden is a bit more active also, there may be some more garden waste – but neither of our new gardens produce large quanties like before.

I will be writing a fair bit about composting’ from next year as l know this is of interest to many gardeners.

Worm Bin Update

I know that Ruth of Don’t Eat It was quite interested in the progress of the worm farm, so here it is.

Like the composter above, l check the worm bin once every 12 – 15 days. The last time they were checked, turned, fed, turned and covered was Thursday 22nd October and the worm population was thriving. I feed the bins properly once a month with the Bokashi bin mixture as you can see below and it is then dug into the bin itself.

Once this is done, l turn the soil back into the bin so as to completely cover the food, rake the top and spread fresh egg carton boxes and shredded papers across the top to act as a protector and an insulator.

The bin isn’t just filled with worms, although they are by far 95% the main resident – it also shares with 5% assorted microorganisms, wood lice and slugs – all of which are excellent soil enrichers and decompostion experts.

Worms do escape, that is unavoidable considering it is an open air system, however they are never far from the main unit, and are usually found underneath pots and plants and if not there, l have noticed the top 3″ in surrounding soils in the ornamental beds has a thriving worm culture.

Worms that are not enriching the soils composition and pH are predated upon by smaller birds such as the thrushes, robins and blackbirds which l have healthy numbers of here. Spilled suet from the bird feeders also is fed on by worms in the soil who are then fed on by predators or they enrich the soil further – so everything is a huge win.

Bokashi Feed, turned and fresh bedding added 22/10/20

Checked, fresh bedding added 07/11/20

Overall, l am impressed with the progress of the worm farm. It is now four months of age since it was first established back in July this year, and we have thousands upon thousand of worms thriving in the community. I have checked the quality of their top soil and it is wonderfully rich and filled with worm casts and nutrients which when required to work as a top soil mulcher layer for the growing soils themselves will be excellent.

The real challenge will be presented next year when it comes that the soils will have to be sieved without causing unnecessary injury to the breeding stocks – however l think l may have found the solution to this in the form of bananas and l will try that experiment this week and show you the results.

Anyway, l hope this helps solve the question of is there is to be a season 6 and if so what will it be about and when will it start. But to recap ..

Season 6?Yes
Starts When?March 1st 2021
Covering?Overall gardening, variation of growing, worm farm and compost bins and an A – Z Compendium.

Welcome to the Secret Garden folks, thanks for reading and see you next time!

9 thoughts on “The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

  1. A couple of ways to remove most of the worms from the castings:
    –pour the load onto a table and mound it. Worms don’t like light so they go to the bottom. Wipe away at the top until you reach the mass of worms.
    –similar principle: open the lid of the worm farm, remove the coverings, wait until the worms hide down the bottom, wipe away at the top.
    –banana peels, avo skins, anything that forms a cup shape and is sweet (to worms, that is) as long as it’s not citrus. Halved cucumbers, pepper tops, pumpkin skins (larger is better), etc. The worms will congregate there and make the above options much easier.
    –if it’s a bath or the type of farm where you can move all the material to one side (or most), then put the fresh food on the empty side as a temptation so the worms go there and you can wipe off from the top of the mound.

    It’s still hard work, but it leaves more of the worms in the worm farm.

    1. Hey Cage, absolutely excellent points – l have tried the first mounded method and know that works, although l have found it is better in the warmer months when the worms are more awake – they still move from the light in winter but tend to be quite slow.

      The method l use will have to be fast otherwise l will have a problem with birds swooping in for tasty snacks.

      The half fruits and veggies l was shown earlier this year by a friend but never had the opportunity to practice it, but will be working on it this week as a trial with the bananas 🙂

      1. Maybe you could set up a bright light near the mound. It’s light they hide from, rather than heat, so maybe that’s why they’re sluggish (worms, I’ve read, are a bit fussy in their likings: 25C for best work/production, descending from there until the temp is less than 9C, wherein all work comes to a halt until someone arcs up environment until the working conditions meet expectations).

        1. The heat is fine in the bin Cage. If the conditions were not right, they wouldn’t keep breeding. I remember years ago keeping an actual wormery and having major problems with it because the conditions were not optimum.

          Come December/January time l will make a harvest of the top 3” soil as a trial.

          However, when it comes to the actual sieving off time it’ll be spring/summer early anyway – so their overall sluggishness will be minimal.

          Currently the base temperature in the bin is around 60 degrees F which is around the 15 degrees C mark, so that’s about right. Any higher say 80 F and l would have a major issue with killing them off with heat. But even in the summer that wasn’t an issue. I keep the cube moist without being too wet and have sufficient bedding in them to regulate various heats.

          Feeding once a month has and is proving effective as the food is gone by the next feed and if anything, there are mere traces. I had to be careful to not over feed which could have been an issue feeding every week, so opted for the month feeding and they are getting through it very well. It is also a completely soft mix as in l don’t have any major hard product in there as they can make the bin smell and take too long to break down.

          I turn the entire bin over through a series of soft digs and this mixes the castings in with the content that was there when l set the bin up.

          It’s a live and learn experiment, so all good points and as l head into winter – reflective of course upon the type of winter we experience as in if it is too cold or mild will determine many other factors. But l will keep you informed … setting up a light that far down the garden could be an issue as it would involve a long extension cable and a battery operated light might drain out quickly, we will see l guess. The closest power points are 10 feet in from the patio doors so l would have to have 50 feet of cable running down the garden which could prove tricky and for a clumsy guy, dangerous.

          I will give the light ratio a fresh experiment this week also with the weather good Cage – and running that with the Bananas should be able to get a clear idea as to which overall will be best/better option 🙂

    1. Hey Renard, many thanks – hope you are keeping well and thank you backatcha buddy here’s wishing you a great Saturday evening and Sunday too 🙂

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