We've had an allotment for a few years, and despite much effort going into it- it always looks a mess and has never produced much. But this year I shall put enough effort in! Honest!
So it was a bit covered in weeds. In the 'forest garden' section of the allotment, with many fruit trees, I put down a thick layer of cardboard.
And 3 inches of woodchip
To try and keep the weeds at bay.
The other half of the allotment was meant to be for annual beds.
Also covered in weeds. I did plant some potatoes and onions here last year, but never saw them again.
After a lot of digging beds were formed!
Didn't dig out all the weeds, so most of the beds were covered in black plastic for now.
It looks beautiful now, even if there are some massive weedy bits just covered in carpet because I haven't sorted them out yet... Can I keep it like this?
Plants growing from last year include the garlic (the raspberry canes are to try and stop the cats and squirrels from digging everything up!)
And this years seedlings have been started! Brassicas and lettuce leaves in the greenhouse.
Chillis, tomatoes and cucumbers in the house still.
The exotic seeds haven't faired too well, though all the papayas sprouted they don't seem to like the conditions and only 4 out of the 10 now remain. The passionflowers- not many sprouted but they're all looking good.
I'm rubbish at growing mushrooms, I've never been very successful.
I've tried various cheap button mushroom kits, that usually required a mix of well rotted manure and straw, then the spawn and a casing layer of soil. None of them ever grew, both kept inside the house, outside and in the greenhouse.
I've tried 3 lots of oyster and shitaki logs. One was a purchased one- that produced a few flushes of shitaki mushrooms, but you have to be quick to beat the slugs and the chickens to them! The logs I made myself from freshly cut oak and maple, as in this post, never produced anything. I don't think I kept the logs damp enough.
One last try! And I shall follow instructions to the letter!
So I built a wine-cap bed. This is an area in the garden that I cleared, edged with old oak flooring and layered with cardboard and woodchip, and a final layer of straw.
I purchased some proper mycobags and filled with woodchip from the centre of a very large and hot pile of composting woodchip. I also tried pasteurised bags of woodchip and straw, and woodchip and sawdust. Pasteurised meant pouring a few litres of boiling water into each and leaving for a few hours, before draining and (when cool- which took about 12 hours) mixing in the oyster spawn. These are kept indoors whilst the mycelium colonises, at which point they can go outside to fruit once the weather is a bit warmer.
And a final go at shitaki mushrooms, this time on alder logs. I put slightly more mushroom dowels in than the instructions, trying to ensure I get colonisation. Not being entirely sure where is best to keep the logs but they're currently on a pallet by the water butts- sheltered under the canopy of a tree and where I can water them easily to keep the logs damp.