|Season 6 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh – Spring/Summer 2021|
|Episode 02# – 09/03/2021|
|This Year This Garden is my Garden!|
Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday l spent in the garden. Considering it’s not the biggest garden in the world l was a little surprised at just how much work l managed to find to occupy me for six – seven hours each day. Kept me busy and active and as they say in Fitbit, every little step helps!
I had a lot of small jobs and tasks to achieve before this week’s change in the weather occured. The forecasters said this week would be continuous heavy rains from Tuesday through to Sunday and yet already here we are on Tuesday and apart from a light rain shower last night, there has been nothing more. The weather is supposed to break from tomorrow … with heavy rains, then some more rain on Thursday but with sunshine, then Friday is light rain and sunny spells and then Saturday ….. blah and more blah of ‘Well Gees we don’t really know what’s going to happen folks! It might be a bit wet, a bit dry and a bit windy too!!”
Not truly helpful really, the forecasters seemingly have gotten worse with the arrival of the pandemic also…. it matters not, because l managed to get my jobs done anyway. It would just be nice knowing what is what over that of what is not what! You know?
The tasks l had to achieve last week were numerous and many …
|Monthly feed and dig over of the wormery|
Digging over and portioning out the rough compost
|Digging out and relaying the raised beds|
Increasing the number of raised beds from 2 Deeps – 3 @ 1 Deep and 2 Shallows
Refreshing all the growing crocks
|Weeding the entire garden|
Planting out early crops
Cleaning out all the bird feeders ready for the coming month’s visitors
|Clearing out and tidying up the garden shed|
Cleaning all the gardening tools
|Rearranging the garden layout to be more efficient ….|
… and creating an additional space for the delivery of the composts.
The shed or tall boy coal shute as it was once called and used for is a very small space that you couldn’t swing a cat in and for the record just in case you ever wondered like l did … that phrase doesn’t come from trialling the practice of swinging a cat in a small room – but more so from the likes of punishments with the cat o’ nine tails which was a whip that 16th Century sailors would receive, and because of the cramped quarters below deck, they were whipped above deck. So now you know, that no cats were swung during the cleaning of this space! It’s tall, but it is narrow and not that deep. From the door to the back is just under four feet. But l tend to pack it, like it is Dr Who’s Tardis!
|From this ……||…. to this!|
But that shed space was first on the books for being cleared out and spruced up. I needed everything in there to be more efficient this year, as this is the year that this garden starts being my garden. Like l did way back in winter 2019, you may recall … l, back then cleaned all the tools ready for spring 2020, and last week was no different. It was easier in fact because many of the tools hadn’t really been that dirty on account of last year, l didn’t do that much gardening here.
I said last month that the wormery has been responding more favourably since l opted to cover the top layer of the wormery with a depth of 6″ of shredded paper. Since doing that, l have no escapees what so ever and an increased breeding rate – l mean the increases are astronomical. What l have taken to doing is every month when l feed the wormery, l now move perhaps 300 larger worms into the rough compost unit every time l perform a new feed and they help to bring that material down much quicker it appears, as well as they also breed in there, just slower than the main breeding unit.
|For the worm enthusiasts – you can see clearly that the breeding is off the charts with success since l increased the overall thickness of the mulch that covers the top soil layer. I also use cardboard egg cartons which the worms utilise as housing and safe areas too. The food scraps are dug into three pockets once the top paper layers are removed – left, right and middle. I am now digging down to a depth of perhaps 14″ to drop the scraps into. I move the worms around a bit to encourage them to travel to the new food sources.|
I also now deliberately feed my bokashi bin to the breeding wormery and now that Suze’s bokashi bin is back in the mix , l feed that to the rough composter. The compost being produced in there is serving as a base layer of material to all my growing containers and beds and when l lay these up, l introduce a nice healthy worm culture to the pots and so on. My food scraps are shredded down and better served in the breeding farm, whilst Suze’s kitchen scraps are not and they work their magic more suitably inside the actual composting bin. I am pretty impressed with the results of this worm farm, so far – when l first moved here from Hillyfields in July, l had about 400 worms which were the original breeders to what you see above. So in 9 months l have no idea how many there are in there … but that’s not really the problem. No. The problem is … what do l do with them ….. time will tell l feel, it always does!
The major job of the three days was to increase the number of raised beds l have. I had already two raised beds with a depth each of 16″. In truth, l do actually have four raised beds here anyway each with a depth of 8″, but l don’t have the space for 4 side by side 8″ depth beds, but l do have the space for 2 @ 8″ and 1 @ 16″ – so that is what l managed to achieve.
|I dug each bed out and stored the soils in rubbish bins, relaid them with a fresh rough and worm cultured compost base, and additionally layered them with a shedded paper and rough bark chipped middle mulch, relaid the compost soils and then fed them volcanic dust and watered them down before covering again. These beds will be sown into at the end of this month.|
Rather surprisingly was this tub of bulbs that decided to sprout even though they hadn’t been watered .. l guess the condensation from the plastic was tempting enough. I don’t know what they are … but l am pretty sure they came out of the garden here last year when l was digging out the crockery pots. So l kept half and stuck them into my half Boston/Belfast sink and gave the other half of the tub to Suze … whatever they are and turn out to be, l think they’ll be a nice splash of colour. I will have to wait and see l guess…
I have planted out some seed tapes of Pak Choy, Radish, Spring Onions and Carrots into some crockery long pots and the stone free carrot box. They are early crop growers and should start to seed up and be ready for harvest sometime in May. I covered them with triple lined netting, l didn’t have any fleece, but l have used the net before, so know it works the same way. It’ll offer them some protection against any last frosts.
|Carrot Box = Rows of Pak Choy, Carrots and Radish with the Long Crocks holding Radish.|
50% of the bird feeders were cleaned out and washed with a diluted bleach solution [9 parts water to 1 part bleach], scrubbed, rinsed and dried off. Ready for the new season’s visitors. I just have the suet feeders left to clean sometime this week.
Once the main bulk of the tasks were completed, my final stage was to create space for the seedlings to be grown, which this year will be in my conservatory. It is the best place for them, it’s away from the main part of the house in a very sunny location with lots of light all day, which is ideal for seedlings to begin their life in. They will also share space with the other plants in the house. Although there are no new images of Ava the Avacado here, she is still holding her own. I had to give her a hard cut back at the start of this year. She still has new growth and still fights off the blight – but l think, that is the plight she must live with sadly. You’ll see her soon enough.
The other aspect of ‘fresh space to create’ was in the garden. I have an order with a company to deliver composts and soils next week, and l needed garden to accomodate the goods and so, l cleared the space next to the back gate beside the worm farm and moved various bits around the garden. It might not be a huge garden, but it is an easy garden to move around and manipulate to your advantage.
|Back area near gate now clear ready for garden compost delivery.|
I moved the mini hot composter from the back to the middle … this will be its second season for use. You may recall, at the end of last season, we lost the harvest due to the fact that it simply couldn’t compost the bokashi, which is why the bokashi content was then fed entirely to the worm farm, who could do much more with it. The hot composter was then retired for the remainder of the season. That will be recommenced this spring and summer time and we shall see if it copes better this time with just greens and browns.
|Mini Hot Composter/Stakes bin relocated to mid garden.|
The final job for Sunday was to take down the old hanging baskets and replace with two newer ones. I managed to purchase four baskets, l gave Suze 2 and kept 2. These are made from a recycled plastic and are fairly durable and were reasonably priced. They’ll be planted up in the next two weeks or so. But the older ones that were here before l arrived had perished and were l think held together by spit and good luck! The surviving plants inside were mere husks and so the whole lot was broken down, binned and composted.
All in all, it was a good few days worth of work and l have very little to do now, except await the delivery of the soils. The main plant sowings will begin sometime between the end of this month and up to mid April and l am sooo looking forwards to this year being my year in the garden.
Thanks for reading, catch you next time!