Mushrooms and Asparagus

Amie is sick (a cold, again) and home from preschool. She’s really bummed about it because these are the last weeks of school, and after Summer she’ll be going to a new one. Luckily it is sunny and warm again, today, so we spent a lot of time outside. She is great about letting me work in the garden, though she doesn’t have much energy to help. She did supervise the seeding of the 2,5 lbs of the Winecap – Stropheria rugoso annulatasawdust spawn that arrived in the mail last week.

Oh, it smelled divine: nutty, mushroomy.

2,5 lbs of sawdust spawn inoculates a 25 square foot bed of wood chips. That made for an 8.3 by 3 foot bed on the outside of our fence, in the most shady part of the garden. It’s on the edge of our property, in an area that can do with some clearing, as you can see. It’s also along the path we created by which our the neighbors cut through to the conservation land behind us. I’ll be curious to see their reaction to the mushrooms when they pop up!

On the rich forest floor duff I spread 4-5″ of wood chips (3 large wheelbarrows) that my neighbor, the tree guy, dumped for free in our depot area.  I forget now which tree it is from. I mixed this with half a barrow of  sawdust (from the same tree) and half a barrow of compost. I spread all the spawn on top of that and gently raked it in. I added 1 more inch of the wood chips/sawdust/compost mix and watered it. Then I topped it off with a mulch of pine needles, to trap the humidity. I’ll have to make sure it stays moist, not wet.


I also planted 18 asparagus crowns that I had ordered from Nourse and that were sitting in the crisper in the fridge for weeks. (I’ve 6 left: where to tuck them?) The picture shows the second furrow – the first has already been topped off. Usually asparagus need a 12-18″ spacing, with 3′ in between rows, but these, Purple Passion, only need 6-8″ in between. That’s how I fit 18 into an 8′ long bed.

This gives you a good idea of where the asparagus bed is:  about 6 feet away from the side of the beehive. The bees were as active  as I’ve seen them in the eleven days they’ve been with us. There were lots of them flying in and out of the entrance. Some buzzed around my ears as I dug and planted, but none bothered me.


I did the 10th day hive inspection today and found what I was looking for: capped brood! Also lots of eggs, uncapped larvae, nectar and pollen, and the queen. Very exciting!

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