My seed order arrived this week, yay. I didn't need loads this year, but chose a decent selection, including some new varieties of squash. Onion sets and seed potatoes will arrive later.
I needed to make up a few pounds to get free delivery so thought I'd try a small bag of wool pellets, which are supposed to deter slugs. I lost a lot of seedlings and young plants to slugs this year, so it's worth a shot. I'll use it around my more valuable (in terms of time/energy/cash invested) plants such as squash.
And onto the mushrooms......to recap, I was kindly given a mushroom kit for my birthday recently. The kit includes a bag crammed with spent coffee grounds that now have mushroom mycelium (root system) growing through them. Next they just need a bit of moisture to encourage the fruit (the bit we eat) to form.
First, cut along the cross using a knife (There's an outer bag here too, which I removed when I realised it wasn't needed).
Then soak for 12 hours...it's very buoyant and needs weighing down.
Then drain off the excess water
Pop it back in the box and spray with water twice a day (a nozzle is provided). This was Day 5 (last Monday).
They quickly put on growth...here's Day 6
Day 11 (yesterday)...wow! Now, checking against the photos on the Espresso Mushroom website, we probably should actually have harvested these the day before....I misread the instructions and was waiting for the edges to turn up, but it's the Pink ones which do that.
They're still pretty good though
We picked them yesterday morning (cut the whole lot off at once) and stored them in the fridge until tonight, when I made a curry loosely based on one suggested on the Espresso Mushroom website. My photos don't do it justice really, but in addition to the mushrooms, I also included other home grown veggies - courgette from the freezer and kale picked from the allotment a couple of days ago, plus other bought bits and bobs. The mushrooms have a nice flavour, with a springy texture.
It's suggested you leave the mushroom bag to rest for about 10 days, before starting the process again to get a second crop, and there's even a possibility of a third crop. And after that, as a bonus, the mushroomy coffee grounds can be used as compost, brill. I think there are other brands of kits too, so not sure how they compare, but this one has worked for us nicely. Apparently there's the equivalent of the grounds from 100 espressos in just one of these bags, so it's a great way to re-use them.
Other things happening this week....to try and diversify the winter harvests, I ordered some new alfalfa seeds, along with my main allotment order, to sprout in the kitchen. The seeds are tiny, and after a few hours soaking and draining, only take two or three days before they're ready to eat, yum (plus remember to rinse them with water twice a day too ).
Makes winter sarnies a bit more interesting, here with some baby beetroot I recently brought home from the plot (they weren't actually meant to be baby, they just didn't get very big), plus a homemade hummus and red cabbage slaw (not homegrown unfortunately). I'm sprouting some green lentils too.
At the weekend we had our first Christmassy get together, round a friends....Jan made a roasted butternut squash salad (still two butternuts left!) that included more beetroot and kale, plus carrot, mushrooms, lettuce, chickpeas etc....it was very nice and good to have a lighter option, on top of all the tasty Christmas baked treats.
On the allotment this week I spied a few Brussels sprouts which look about ready to pick, so it must really be nearly Christmas! Oh, I have a sneaky addition, I forgot the curly kale I picked this week too....about three times this much, nice lightly steamed and drizzled with cider vinegar.
Thanks for reading, I'm linking in with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.