The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

Episode 16# – Spring/Summer/Autumn 2021 approaches and brings us blank canvas’s too!

When l first started the Doin’ The Dirt series it was in the Spring of 2018 – the very first episode was simply titled … Doin’ The Dirt … Eh? – A Funny thing happened on the way … 2017 – May 2018. At the time l had the use of a much bigger garden than l have today, and l was living in Kingsdown in Kent, roughly just over 8 miles away from here. The house there had a huge grassed garden that Suze and l mainly decided to take on board for Scrappy … however as said the space out the back was enormous and so l decided to start both gardening and composting.

Regulars to the series will know all too well that my true love is not so much the ‘green fingered’ side to gardening but the ‘brown fingered’ side aka ‘composting’. It is a subject l am deeply fascinated with and truly love and enjoy and it was in fact Suze that really was inspired by the gardening side as in mainly the ‘ornamental’ path … l was interested in this also, but only really for the ‘nature side’ – what would bring wildlife into the garden is what l loved.

The garden there had enough debris in and out of season to maintain and manage a compost pile easily … but composting just for the sake of it seemed a bit pointless. I could produce more than Suze would ever need for the ‘pretty side’ to the garden and being typically me – as in a man with a complete lack of moderation – l never did my composting small. Therefore when l composted l did so to produce the Jesus Loaves as in there was always way too much for the garden. I managed to give some away to the next door neighbours … but l decided that in addition to nature and ornamental gardening, the best way to utilise the compost being produced and harvested was to grow vegetables….

That was the target for the spring of 2018 – to produce a workable compost to act as a superb growing medium for the vegetables Suze and l would grow for the table … and so that is what we did … but of course as with gardening, life is no different it comes complete with obstacles and challenges and wants and desires evolve and adapt. You learn what works and what fails. The first 3 seasons [2018 – 2019] were relatively good seasons, but true learning curves …. of course it wasn’t helped that for most of 2019 l had a ruptured shoulder and this placed an awful amount of pressure on Suze.

By the time Season 4 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh arrived – 366 Days of Gardening things were very different – growing vegetables wise and composting alike, the garden was in full swing and l was back in action ready to rock and roll properly – but of course Season 4 started in January 2020 – the year of plenty for sure! Who could have seen everything that unfolded ….. certainly not l! So 2020 enjoyed 31 weeks of a gardening season only and not a full 366 days … the season was cut short with house moves and upheaval and the very last episode was published on July 31st.

Season 5 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh – Summer/Autumn/Winter 202005/08/2020 – 01/03/2021The Dug Out’s Secret Garden is the current season, and you can see that has a month left before the new season begins.

Season 6 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh – Spring/Summer/Autumn 2021 will comprise of three series 1] The Dug Out’s Secret Garden! 2] A – Z Gardening Compendium and 3] The Compost Bin [including the Wormery]

Over the last couple of weeks l have been making ready the necessary preparations to begin the season of growing vegetables. It’s too early for seeds and seedlings to be planted or sown – l mean it’s not, you could start certain plants off now, but l have done that in the past and learned by my overeagerness there is no need. What needs to be performed now is gearing the garden and the growing mediums up ready for when seeds and seedlings are to be planted out.

This year, it’ll not be just my garden l am working with but also Suze’s .. which had been somewhat neglected sadly due to the arrival of the throat cancer in Suze’s life last year – she is on the mend and her scan to see if the cancer has gone for good is on the 8th March – so fingers crossed there – however l have said l will help her to rebuild her garden. Mine is a good garden, it could easily take care of itself with very low maintenance. Whereas Suze’s was a nightmare to begin with and is still a nightmare – or alternatively as l keep saying to her … ‘not a nightmare, but a blank canvas!’

I am still to order some compost in for both gardens which l will do this week with a view to it being delivered at the end of next week if possible. I know Suze is planning on planting seeds and seedlings this March where as l going to plant seed and tape direct. Strangely enough, with the very first lockdown last year, March 23rd. I had placed orders with two gardening suppliers in January and February – long before the lockdown and yet 75% of my orders got caught up in that gardening madness. I therefore paid for products that l never received … in the right time frames … and yet despite everything, no refunds were ever issued … because as far as the manufacturers were concerned, everyone was going to get everything they ordered ……….. on time, later than time or long past season time!! I received seeds l ordered for delivery in March of last year, last month!

Seeds and seed tapes is something l am most assuredly not short of! When Suze and l were moving into different houses, l spent a good period of time breaking down and dividing up all the gardening stuff we had and we both ‘already’ had then vast amounts of seeds. but of course, what was being grown for a couple is no longer the case as two singles and whilst even last year when l had some experimental plantings ongoing – this year, l am not opting for that way anymore – this year l am growing specifically for the table.

Total seeds on the left, seeds to be planted on the right for this year.

Over the weekend, l worked with the pots and last week, l worked with the growing mediums inside those pots and beds and fed the soils ready for later March, April and May time. Earlier today l had a looksee at all the seed packets l have and there are a fair number and sorted through what l plan to grow this year – vegetable, herb, flowers and fruit wise.

Here’s my growing list for this season ….

VegetablesHerbsFlowersFruit
Sweet PepperComfreyMarigoldTrailing Strawberry
RocketGiant ParsleyNasturtiumCape Gooseberry
Leaf SaladCurly ParsleyLupinCucamelon
KaleBorage
[Herb/Vegetable]
SunflowersRaspberry
Rainbow Swiss ChardMintXXXX
Pak ChoiChivesXXXX
RadishHorseradishXXXX
Spring OnionXXXXXX

The garden here also has much already planted, l am seeing bulbs springing up through the beds – no idea what they are – but that’s always the fun. It’s a courtyard garden and many of the plants were planted out by the original owners. I know l have climbing rose varieties here, a bay, a wandering Rosemary and a few others l am yet to identify and name properly. But the list above is purely set for the containers, boxes, pots and the raised beds.

What l don’t grow, Suze will, so we can barter and trade with each other – we pledged to not grow the same things and that way we could then have a very wide range of vegetables and so on between us.

In the next episode l’ll go into more detail with regards my Seasonal Growing List, however till then – thanks for reading.

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

  1. The new garden and the trade between you and Suze is such a sensible idea. So glad that she is doing well and fingers crossed for her results in March. I hope the seeds you received (so late understandably ) are good for this year and next. (I was fortunate no issue with seeds from my local grower/ supplier. It is the time of year for you when it is so easy to get carried away. Las year my trial at planting seeds in a new way may have worked if I had not done it so early. I am using tulle for my fruit trees and that helped heaps to keep insects, birds and possums out of my fruit. Harder with berries as they flower for longer and continuously. A lovely garden for summer.

    I have had my first success growing borage in my containers, not in my veggie area as yet. Though my neighbour up the road is very successful.
    Happy preparation Rory.

    1. Well done on getting borage in the containers Tazzie … l had great success with it in the garden last year, but terrible in the containers the previous year.

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