The Hungry Gap and Mushroom Composting Part Two

As we enter this time of year when the end of last winter’s crops has come, and most of the crops you’ve been busy sowing and planting aren’t quite ready, I like to remind myself of how lucky we are that we can buy vegetables from further afield or cultivate them under polytunnel plastic and glass.

The period of May till mid June known as the hungry gap is characterised nowadays with oriental salad mix, radish, spinach, spring onions and spring greens (small cabbages you plant late, that are harvested before they bulk up to heads). These will all most likely have had some kind of modern equipment employed such as a polyester fleece cover, plastic cover or even a heated glasshouse to get them to crop now. Even the spring greens have a woven enviromesh cover to stop the hungry pigeons from getting at them.

Traditionaly we’d be wild foraging, something that’s quite fashionable now and a lot of restaurants are keen to use these often strong flavours in clever ways. During my time spent in Wales I’d often go for walks on my days off and had a copy of Richard Maybey’s Food For Free in my rucksack. I’d tried all the usual suspects, as well as Sweet cicley which is an interesting flavour thats quite aniseeed, but not to the extent that Alexanders is, which is best eaten when it first emerges and steamed like you would Asparagus. You’ve got to be certain that you’ve got the right plant though, as some species are very toxic and can look very similar to others, so always do your research and check with an experienced forager. Interesting and highly nutritious as these fresh new shoots can be, they definitely don’t fill your belly up like a plate of mashed potato does!

I’ve got to stage two of my grand cardboard mushroom composting plan, the small cardboard rolls that I’d inoculated in the first post on the subject have spread in the fridge and ready to go, as well as the remaining oyster mushroom spawn that’s looking a bit past ready for sprinkling and using.
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Here’s the grain spawn that I had left over, and below I cleaned out a wheelie bin we’ve got on hand for watering purposes. I then set about filling it with cardboard and water, as the mushroom mycelium need plenty of moisture in order to colonise the growing media/packing waste.

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I am using some plastic covering we had leftover to form a barrier to keep other competing bacteria and moulds out from infecting my growing media and ruining my as you say ‘spawn run’. I’ve unfurled the cardboard rolls and placed them apart so I can get a quick layer of mycelium forming below the rest of the wet cardboard.

I then sprinkled the rest of the mushroom spawn on the above layers and fingers crossed will have a mushrooming wet pile of cardboard in a few months time!

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