Friday, 11 May 2018

Growing mushrooms, and the triffids....

I have made a start with growing things.
Beetroot in one seed tray, lettuce, and kohl rabi in the others.
What I ended up growing, though, were mushrooms!
Leggy, spindly things they were, definitely not harvestable.

...... they also grew in pots of cuttings I was experimenting with...

I don't know what the red cuttings are from as they were 'borrowed' from a neighbour's hedge, but the green ones are lavender, taken from a plant which became neglected to the point when only one small branch was still alive, so I thought I would say sorry for my miserable treatment of it by growing on some new plants taken from it,  and try and make a better effort to look after them. 

As for the mushrooms, I think the compost must be s**t. 
It is to be rehomed and definitely not used for growing seedlings again. 
Maybe not to grow from seed this year, then, but to buy already established plants.

As for the raised beds, after a slow start with them last year they did finish up the year doing well. 
 But everything that was growing was left to grow on, because I went 'off ' gardening because it was winter and it was wet and it was cold, and I was getting over my hospital experience, 
and excuses, excuses, excuses.....!!!
Anyway, in a brief spell of dry weather mid April 2018 I did an inspection of things. 

.... and all had carried on growing, so I decided to let them carry on then harvest the seed heads when they arrived. I had it on my mind to try seed saving thinking that any plants which had done well here would make for strong and sturdy plants in the future. 
It was a good idea. 
However......four weeks on and things have gone manic here. No flowers have arrived, therefore no seeds are available to be saved. The plants are growing bigger and bigger though.....

...... and the plants are now so big that they are sucking the life out of the raised beds they are in, 
so...... they will have to come out and the seed saving activity will have to wait until another time.
Sometimes one has to take control. 
I shall harden my heart.
I need the space. 
But why do I need the space! I have nothing to put in it. I did buy ten lettuce plants from the market but they were set upon by a bunch of now dead snails..... I am having a go with egg shells as a deterrent rather than slug pellets. 
I would like to save the five lettuce that are left. 
I would like to do it sympathetically to the soil.

And while I am on the subject of things eating our food,
we have 'lost' three of our laying hens. Not sure where they have gone, but possibly down the throat of feral cats, of which there are quite a few round here. We know this because Maz, our rottweiller girl, has developed a new passion for chasing them up trees when she sees them. 

The chickens are not fussed with their new regime. They are not allowed out of their pen until we get the grass cut on the farm so that the stalking activities of the cats are reduced. It might take a while. Lester is very busy, and my only lawn mowing appliance is my little push along which can hardly cope with the lawn in the courtyard, let alone the rough pasture grass on the rest of the farm. 
I do have my scythe, though, and that will probably be what I end up using. 
...... so I suppose I had better go sharpen it!

So, bye for now,



minwks said...

Good Morning Vera, You seem discouraged today. I do hope the sun will shine and the pleasure of watching your animals enjoying the freedom the warmer weather will will lighten your mood.
Disappointing about the seed trays. Mix for potting seedlings is usually very light and what you have used looks very dense.
Most likely mushroom manure?
Re the slugs eating the seedling lettuce. Collars - even toilet paper tubes set into the ground with the seedling planted into it will give them a safer start. B made collars from 2 litre plastic bottles that were even better. I do not like using plastic but recovered them from neighbours recycling bin and they made little green houses almost.

I don’t have a ready supply of egg shells but I have used a blender to purée shells with water to pour around plants.

Just planted my tomatoes ( only 4) indeterminate plants and threw a handful of bonemeal, alfalfa pellets and Epsom salts in the planting hole. I find that is enough plants to feed us and extended family and make green tomato chutney in the Fall.

We are having some lovely sunny days here near Vancouver, BC after a very wet extended winter.
Thinking of you,
Regards Janine

Vera said...

JANINE, I am not feeling down at all, just things not going along as they usually do. But you are right about the compost....we did not buy it as mushroom compost but I think that it was definitely in the mix.
The collars are a good idea. I have a bag of empty loo rolls that are waiting to be used as well plus some prepped plastic bottles left over from last year.

All in all, things are good here, but thanks for your concern.

Mama Pea said...

Think of the start of this gardening season as just a phase of the learning curve. (And don't we all have to climb the old learning curve over and over again!) Sure, things are "different" right now, but I'm betting you're observing and storing away information for the next time around, right?

I'm not doing so well on my started plants this year either. No mushrooms growing, but lots of seeds having been planted two or three times that are just not doing well. Why? Darned if I know. I've tried different seeds, different starting mediums. But most of my starts are looking okay. Nothing set out yet as we're still waking up to frosts over night. Grrrr.

Vera said...

MAMA PEA, thank you for your inspirational words. I did very well with growing veg plants last year, and our overall harvest was very good. By comparison, this year is the exact opposite. But there are good reasons why this is so, and I think I should follow through with my instinct to concentrate on cleaning up neglected patches of the farm and start again next year with the veg plots.

Hope you can get your starts outside soon. Our weather has not been in its usual pattern since February....

northsider dave said...

Slugs and snails are a nuisance for us too. Would you not get a strimmer for the long grass? I even cut the lawns with ours. Good luck with the veg this year. My potatoes have only just started pushing their stalks up through the soil.

Vera said...

DAVE, the scythe is quicker to use than the strimmer, but the strimmer is better on enclosed spaces..... so we do have a strimmer but Lester uses it because it is too heavy for me to use.
Meanwhile I zoom along with the scythe!

I don't think we shall be doing much in regards to veg.....Lester is too busy working on the computer at the moment, and I want to get the place tidied up.......lots of wild places starting to establish themselves!

Janice said...

It sounds like Lester working has really made an impact on the farm, but I'm sure the income makes up for it. Just have to priorities, which I think you already have by not doing the veggies this year. I'm sure you'll feel a lot better for it when you've got the place tidied up, I know I would.

Vera said...

JANICE, blackberries, spindle bushes/trees, blackthorn, and various other types of hedge plants / bushes/trees have become rampant while we have been concentrating on getting the house renovated and the veg, fruit, and animals sorted out so we can feed ourselves. The house is more or less finished downstairs, and the smallholding did well last year, .....time to catch up with the things we didn't want to grow!

DUTA said...

You've mentioned 'triffids' in the title of your post. I hope you have none in your garden. Triffids, as far as I know, are carnivorous and have venomous stings.
Have you, by the way, heard about "The Day of the Triffids? I haven't read the novel, as I don't like to read science fiction.

Jean said...

We find growing veg hard work these days, so we grow much less. It's a case of weighing the joy of eating something home grown agaist the amount of work required to produce food that's ready when it's cheapest in the shops. But I did take enormous pleasure in eating a salad of home grown lettuce leaves the other day and some frozen broad beans from last year. Which makes me think it's definitely worth some effort, especially here in France where things grow so well compared with how we struggled in the UK.

Vera said...

DUTA, I read the book 'Day of the Triffids' and also saw the film years ago. I don't read much science fiction either, but the book and film were popular at the time so I connected with them, which is why 'triffid' came into my vocabulary!

JEAN, I do agree with you, it is easy to be seduced into buying from shops, but doing so removes the pleasure of actually harvesting and eating the better quality of produce which is achieved by growing your own. Despite the temperature fluctuations we suffer from here in SW France, we shall continue to 'grow our own' and I suspect that you will too!

Coco said...

It´s amazing how everything wants to go back to jungle, isn´t it? DH spent every evening last week cutting the grass. It looks much better now.

I´m going to the market for peas, courgette and pepper starts. I managed to roast the 2 pepper seedlings I had by leaving them in the ¨greenhouse¨ on a sunny day. I need a better method for this seed starting business.

Enjoy your scything. I do some occasionally, but the grass always looks like a blind burro went after it when I´m done.

Vera said...

COCO, I can't say that my scything is perfect either, particularly if I have been cutting grass!

I think I shall buy in a few veg plants this year. The effort of trying to get seeds started seems too much for me at the moment, probably because of the not so good weather we have been having since Christmas which does not encourage me to want to go outside and do garden related jobs!

Rhodesia said...

Huh, I tried mushrooms and nothing grew at all!!! Our garden is way behind thanks to all the rain we have had 500mm now this year. Too muddy to dig!
I will be away most of next week so I am going to be even further behind!!! I am not taking the laptop with me so no blogs!!! Take care and enjoy your week Diane