Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's new?

I think all of my posts should be titled "Catching Up"... So much happens, so little time to blog!!!
Let's see... We planted potatoes last Friday morning:) Gloria and Anna came out to help me. Keep your fingers crossed that they will grow and sometime in midsummer we will harvest a ton of potatoes!!!
Here's a tater in it's hole:) I had bought seed of Red Pontiac, and Irish Cobbler from Weston's Feed and Seed , cut them up in halves or quarters and let them dry for almost a week before planting. As a daughter of a potato farmer (among other things my dad grew) it has taken me a while to learn to grow potatoes this way... We always saved our own seed (just the right size, smallish blemish free potatoes), they never got cut up, and the fields were prepared with a tractor. It usually took us a few days to plant the taters. Here, in NC, I learned that to stretch the $ you can buy the seed, and cut the potatoes, to double or maybe even triple the amount of seed you have. And instead of planting in hilled rows, you can dig a hole, and throughout the growing season add more soil around the plant. Actually, last summer I neglected to hill at all, and still harvested a nice size crop.

Another fun thing I tried this year, was to grow oyster mushrooms in a toilet paper roll... During one of our mushroom workshops I grabbed a roll of toilet paper, and filled it with spawn, wet it and wrapped it in plastic. You're supposed to sterilize the roll first, and take out center, so all you have is soft tissue. Well. I did neither of those things.
After about 3 weeks the toilet paper roll started looking funky inside the plastic - shriveled up a bit, and got covered with white mycelium. I was antsy and put it in the fridge for 2 days, then took it out and uncovered, and waited... nothing happened. Well, except that the mycelium kept growing and eating up the cellulose in the toilet paper roll. I watered it... waited... then put it in the fridge again...
took it out... waited, still nothing.
So finally about 4 days ago I decided that it was too dry. I placed it on a plate and poured some water on the plate. It was thirsty! I had to fill it back up a few times.
And what do you know! The next day I saw a tiny, almost unnoticeable gray spot in the center - like a cluster of pin cushion needles... SO EXCITING! I'm telling you - it's like having a pet! Sometimes I just stand there for a few minutes looking at this miracle - and I swear I can see them grow in front of my eyes!
Here's the evidence:
Aren't they just perfect? There is 19 or 20 individual mushrooms in that cluster. Can you see the mycelium web between the cardboard and tissue paper? Totally awesome! I'll keep you updated with the progress, and the recipe they end up in:)

One more thing!
Troy Farmer's Market is opening this Thursday, the 7th of April at 3PM. (till 6PM)
It is promising to be a great event, so come by after work, or after getting the kids from school, meet your local farmers and get some goodies for your family's dinner table, or garden! STARworks Garden will be there this Thursday!