The Journey Thus Far …

Season 8 Doin’ The Dirt … Eh – Autumn 2021
A Social Gardening We Shall Go Directory!
E05# – 16/10/21
Welcome to The Social Gardener

This new styled approach to the series is more of a social musing in the garden as well as covering some of the changes, without it being an ‘actual gardening’ series.

The autumn garden work has started. You may recall in the last episode where l explained that the two gardens [Suze’s and Willow’s] merged to become one twinned back garden and that there were plans ahead to make the garden into a really nice courtyard garden for spring 2022. There were boxes to go up and so on, well that is still to go ahead, in fact Jeremy is here on November 2nd and then he will secure to the walls the bat and bird boxes and the hanging baskets and so on.

Suze pondering on how best to tackle the pruning on the rose bushes.

Last Wednesday Suze and l started work on the first stage of the autumn cut back and trim down. One of the tasks l did want to get done sooner rather than later was to prune down the roses … with the cut as it was – it meant that we will probably not enjoy a good blossom next year in the spring but see a better second blossom in the later summer with a much healthier bloom in the spring of 2023. I am fine with that, it had to be done.

Suze carried that pruning out and was a little hesitant – l told her not to worry about it – it had to be done. Once they do start to grow back, then the plans are to pin them to the walls properly in a fashion that is more in line with being able to train them. The beauty is that roses are actually way hardier than people think they are.

The cream rose bush [above the mini hotbin] pruned right back. The pink rose [can’t be seen clearly] near to the wall mounted crockery pot also cut right back. We found out when cutting them that they are in fact old fashioned roses as in own scented as opposed to new rose varieties that carry no true scent but look pretty.

If l opt to include a trellis arch or two, it would be sited in front of the cream rose and sit inbetween the hotbin and the worm bin and in front of the bird feeder and arc over the gravel path – the potential second arch will be sited mid path. It would serve as a wonderful feature and aid the avian wildlife in the garden as well.

An arch is still in the thought process, but that is on hold for the time being whilst we start to cut back the garden in the first stage. The biggest problem is that the previous tenants to me were not avid gardeners and simply allowed the two main rose bushes to grow in an abstract fashion and this meant that they were allowed to splay out in all directions. I am also debating whether to have trellis secured to the walls behind them as this will encourage side lateral growth as opposed to upward spurting only. But also, an idea floating is a combined arch and trellis format too. This would allow for the back cream rose bush to grow both straight up and be directly trained to the trellis as well as forward growth to be trained to entwine the stemmed growth around a trellised arch over the path.

In addition to all the gardening plans there is a lot going on in my life at present and l am continually adding more to my schedules to maximise the absolute most from my time windows. I am taking the marketing course for the business blog, as well as the Thrive course and l have also just started a new free soil science course to learn more thoroughly about the world beneath our feet with a view to this helping the worm business. But also, l have just joined ESB better known as The Earthworm Society of Britain and hopefully sometime soon, l can take an online course that they have regarding earthworms. Their website has a wealth of information available to members. I am working on the new business blog and tweaking that to get it just right and then l can start to plan the posts and series features l wish to write for that.

I have a mixed bag of plans for the garden here in Willow to make it a joyous place for wildlife to visit – be this birds, butterflies and bees and other insects too. All the plans are in stages and l shall write a post to support most of the thoughts in my head as l start on each phase – be this the introduction of coloured gravels to the line up of the plantings. I am working the compost units to produce worm dirt’s and compost for the plants here and really studying the behaviours of the three wormeries here too. There is just so much going on, which is great. Never mind researching what the courtyard will need in so far as the planting schedule for this year and next. Lisa and l have plans to create a new range of eco-organic topical tee shirts for my Redbubble business.

Plus, l also am at the reserve for one day a week. I was doing more days, but as my time at home got busier l had to cut back as l simply don’t have the time for everything.

Worms aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but with environmental issues everyone usually has a favoured area over that of another, l think a person could go insane if not simply become overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to keep up with everything going on – there are too many concerns globally and we each can only do so much efficiently and effectively.

I busied myself with digging over the twin composter, as well as digging them out to 1] clean them thoroughly and 2] to relay the bases with fresh cardboard floors and 3] to sieve out some of the recently cleaned soils from Suze’s garden from a few weeks ago and finally 4] to distribute some of the newly sieved soils into the two newer smaller worm composters. I was able to see how healthy the actual compost worm populations were and as you can see above, they are in wonderful condition. I have ordered a fresh 2kg quantity of compost worms to add to the units which should be here next week, they will help to thoroughly clean the soils quicker in the compost units and will bolster the breeding as well.

With all the green from the garden being pruned and trimmed, l set the shredder up and mulched everything up and added it to the compost as well. I prefer to shred the greens that l add to the compost as it just amkes the whole process a little bit faster in the decomposition phases.

When greens are added in bulk to the compost, whilst they will break down ‘over time’, when shredded they break more quickly with each fresh turn. I turn the compost units over once a week and whilst this isn’t a typical ‘hot composting process’ it is still faster than a cold composting process.

A full hot compost pile is turned frequently – daily to thrice weekly – whilst a cold compost pile is either hardly ever turned or perhaps only once every two months or when fresh material is thrown on top. My process is in the middle with four to six turns a month.

I have plans also to move the wheely bins which hold the household rubbish to the outside lane or passage which runs along the back of the garden. i haven’t used it before because l thought it was a frequently used alleyway, but recently discovered no one uses it aside from the local pussycat, so this means that l can free up the central space in between the two small worm bins and therefore this will allow for some other crockery pots to be sited here as well as encourage plants with upward growth [as in utilising the courtyard walled space].

I also decided to move the Bokashi bins which are inside the utility room in the house [downstairs shower room] to sit stacked on top of each other inside the green wheely bin. this is a much better idea. Bokashi is great BUT every time you open it to add fresh kitchen scraps in, it has the potential of stinking out the house with the fermentation scent and with a month old bin, that scent is no longer heavenly!! If the bins are outside inside another box, they will still be warmer than if being left outside to the elements and they will be protected from any wandering rats who might be tempted to chew through the softer plastic to get to the household content.

Over the weekend l also plan to have a looksee in the mini hotbin composter. Some of you may recall the absolute disaster l encountered last year when l opened it up and discovered that it couldn’t cope with the bokashi materials because it became a globby goop …. a huge lesson learned – so this year, l cleaned it out fresh in February and then only threw in greens and browns from the garden and just didn’t even look at it. I saw that on occasion it heated up to some incredible temperatures, so it should be interesting to see how well it has fared thus far!

Mini hotbin composter in the foreground and green and black wheelie bins in the centre on the left hand side of image.

I have a fair bit of gardening to still do this weekend, but at least it is now underway – next time l write, l will be discussing the plants and so on, l intend to plant out and so until then – thanks for reading – see you in episode 6.

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13 thoughts on “The Journey Thus Far …

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of work, Rory! I’m exhausted just reading about it. Rain prevented my gardening efforts today. I have a terrible infestation of citrus psyllids on my orange and lemon trees. I need to chop of all the infected leaves then spray, spray, spray with Bioneem.

  2. I do not like roses with no scent! Flowers that just look pretty? The may as well be silk. Roses should smell pretty too!

    I’m harvesting pecans. I pick a pocket-full every couple days. Maybe I should say a “pouch-full” since I’m usually wearing a hoodie and that’s a pouch-like pocket😂🤔

    I will be trimming the tree after it drops all the leaves. I’ve kept a hands off approach since it’s a wild tree, but it’s gotten leggy, like your roses. I have no idea if that will affect the harvest next year. I guess I’ll find out, right?😂 I’m actually surprised at the abundance of the harvest this year since it was so dry.


    1. Hey Gramma, l totally agree – roses should carry a scent. I am very lucky the ones in the garden here do. Also many of the roses from the previous garden did as well. But many roses today sadly do not, the scent has been bred out of them .

      Dang, but that is a lot of pecans! Especially as every couple of days, a real bounty crop 🙂

      Yes, a good cut now would be good, but if in doubt, YouTube the best advice and how to cut it, some fruit trees [including nut varieties] can still produce a crop if cut right 🙂

  3. A discovery I made with worms and how they increase rapidly (aside from the best food getting the whizz from a old blender) — if you leave the eggshells in halves, they lay eggs in there (same goes with avo skins). Maybe it’s protection for the eggs, but whatever it is, the population exploded. I gave away several ice-cream containers of worms after that period (and used a single eggshell in the next bin to create a solid population).

    1. I use a blender also, have done for a few years now. Worms suck their food, so moister and smaller the better.

      An interesting discovery and good to know. I don’t have any problems with breeding thankfully, but after a discussion with another worm farmer, l opted to purchase additional stocks to my own, so that l had worms from outside sources to ensure l had an excellent breeding outlay of ‘hybrid varieties’.

      Because of the way l have my worm farms, l am not looking at creating worm castings and only just worms so l have a good range of worm species to sell on.

      I am not just using one species in the farms so l have surface dweller, shallow burrowers and also deep burrowers – the advisor said to have as broad a selection as l could and so far everything is working very well indeed.

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