Backwards And Forwards Planning ~ That Would Be Gardening Then


The gardener travels hopefully, always looking ahead. It is the only way to go. But then there are also always ‘the now’ activities, the planning, preparing, nurturing, harvesting, recycling, whichever is appropriate at any given point in the cycle of things.

Knowledge gained from past endeavours – the successes, failures and ‘could-do-betters’ – also informs the way forward.  There can be neuroses too prodding you along – is now the right time to sow for the best mid-summer crop? Will this variety or that one provide the best tasting produce/be easier to grow/need staking or otherwise managing? Is it warm enough/too wet/too cold to plant the seed potatoes? What can I do this year to fend off pea moth/allium beetle/slugs/pigeons/carrot fly? What measures can be taken in case of drought/flood/heat wave? What else can be grown to extend the cropping season? What will best dry/freeze/be otherwise preserved over the winter? Shouldn’t I be making more compost/collecting more leaves/maintaining a cycle of green manure growing/weeding? What would the bees, bugs and butterflies like?

So much to think about for the coming year. And while I’m busy doing that, here are some ‘back-to-the-future’ successes from last summer that are spurring me onwards. Remembrance of things to come…

Lens-Artists: Future  This week Ann-Christine gives us ‘the future’ as her very thoughtful challenge. Please call in to see her evocative double-exposure images. You’ll be glad you did.

63 thoughts on “Backwards And Forwards Planning ~ That Would Be Gardening Then

  1. Once I’d have been content gazing at your delicious images for ages Tish, but I’m finally beginning to understand what you say as well. Though without the knowledge of past year’s endeavours, I’m both more at sea and more confident — unaware of exactly how many things can happen in my garden.

    1. Lots of trial and error, Su – it never stops, but if there’s one single recommendation I would pass on, it’s mulch, mulch and more mulch. Covering the soil seems to have multiple advantages, the key one being restoring soil health, but apart from that it adds protection from downpours, drought, heat and weeds. And it looks nice!

      1. Thank you Tish. I have bought mulch this year, and it is definitely helping in the drought. Next project has to be making it. I guess I could suggest buying a wood chipper to get the Big T enthusiastic. 🤣

      2. Oh yes! Even I could get excited by a woodchipper, though they are noisy critters. We are currently trying out a hot composting bin which eats household food waste with quite a lot of shredded cardboard and a small amount of wood chippings. Even starting it off in October, it’s already produced several big bags of stuff suitable for mulching – a bit on the gunky sided admittedly, but I don’t think that matters once it’s spread on the garden. I shall probably be posting about it, once we’ve got to grips with it.

      3. Ooh. Yes, please do post about it sometime. I’m thinking I need to go and do a compost workshop. The council seems to organise free ones here, and I just need the time and place stars to align.
        An old friend of mine bought a woodchipper a while ago and gets quite excited about it, so perhaps I need to take T to visit her.

  2. Ah, you are such a prolific gardener, Tish! I wish I could be more energetic …But I so enjoy your garden – and your future garden. There is much planning before it gets as beautiful as in your photos…I am glad you share your endeavors and successes with us too. Excellent photographs – those blue flowers do so well in monochrome! I used to grow them our first years in the house, some eternelle, isn’t it? I forget the name!

  3. Ooh, that monochrome Nigella photo is a fabulous pattern! Your garden and allotment are so prolific, I envy your food growing skills. An excellent post for the challenge.

    1. Thanks, Jude. The Nigella goes all ghostly in monochrome and slightly luminous too which is a bit odd, though I think I took the photo in low sunset light when flowers do seem to loom more.

  4. Delicious photos and I love that first one. I’ll have to learn new sorts of gardening when we move to Arizona, a very different climate. Interesting times, especially as we’ll be in a rental house, so planting may have to be done in pots. But we’ll see.


      1. I know of an olive farm that makes oil and sells olives as well as a place that grinds grain, so I have a couple places to start. 🙂 And then there are farmer’s markets, of course.

  5. Your allotment pics always make me envious. But they always spur me on and I am determined to provide enough veggies to feed us.So far I am up to providing taters for lunch and enough beans to ensure we are obliged to open the windows.

    And talking of neuroses ….
    I read the other day that, when pruning roses or fruit trees painting that ”stuff” over the cut might not be such a good thing after all as it inhibits the plant’s natural healing ability.

    1. Oh, you! Neuroses indeed. But great to hear you’re forging ahead with the spud and bean production. You’ve made me wonder though how much ground one would need to be self-sufficient in veg. (A Charles Dowding sized garden?) We’ve just got to the end of our spud crop (from July), likewise the onions; also have frozen beans and peas, but we still buy an awful lot of other veg – exotics like sweet potatoes, peppers etc.

      1. Since July? That is impressive. I should be so fortunate.
        I have worked out approx how many kilos we need and I am nowhere near that yet.
        Still juggling between using buckets, raised beds and simply bunging the seedlings in the ground.
        Each method has had varying degrees of success, but I want to forge ahead with the buckets and raised beds.
        I’ve got sweet potatoes in the ground, lettuces coming out my ears for some reason, and cabbages. Also a varied crop of peppers on the go and a few tomato plants.

        Garlic is next and onions, which I have struggled with for some reason.Same with peas and carrots.
        We had a pretty good squash return this year. You saw the butternut!
        We will be reworking the veggie garden at the end of the season and incorporate some vertical gardening and see how that turns out.
        It’s going to be fun, that’s for sure.

      2. It all sounds v. exciting, Ark. I’d forgotten that you’d mentioned vertical gardening. Do you get wooden builder’s pallets over there. Am thinking they might be useful for vertical planting schemes. As to the spuds – they’re not really a mainstay, probably eat them 2 or 3 times a week at most, hence lasting us so long.

      3. We are going to us something similar to what the Americans call cattle panels. They are tough wire mesh which we will secure in raised beds then bend into an arch to create a tunnel.
        We found a local hardware place that has what we’re after
        I will post pics once we get cracking.
        I’ll be redoing the veggie garden soon – leveling and wotnot.

      1. Ah, the true Kenyan spirit, to work the land. This is reminding me of when we were in Nairobi and the electricity meter reader took our fuses away while we were upcountry. After about 2 weeks without power, 2 engineers turned up, and I had quite a battle to tear their eyes away from some kale I’d grown. It was a European variety that they had not seen before, and for them it was love at first sight. They did eventually make us some new fuses.

  6. Such a productive plot you have produced with all your pondering and planning Tish. I particularly like the first photo in the gallery. Is that your allotment? My word that is a big area and looks so healthy and bursting with goodness.

    1. The pic is indeed my longest rented half plot. It doesn’t go right to the top. I think it’s thirty five odd feet long by twelve wide. Then I have another half plot – which is the same length but a bit wider. This has my shed and polytunnel on it, and also a fellow allotmenteer’s polytunnel, and the ground in between is mostly raised beds. My thought has been to eventually scale down to the polytunnel plot only, but then the soil on the other plot is probably better as I’ve been working it for a dozen or so years. Decisions, decisions. Perhaps when I’ve improved the soil on the polytunnel plot…

      1. Goodness Tish I cant imagine how many hours you must spend keeping the 2 plots productive and then your home garden as well. That is dedication and love of gardening. But I have heard gardening is so good for fitness, healthy ageing and mental health too.

      2. It probably is a lot of hours, Pauline. Perhaps too many, though I am trying to scale up the compost making in hopes of eventually reducing labour with all ‘no dig’ beds. But then as you well know, you need space to make compost.

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