Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mushrooms...and Not the Good Kind

Our Virginia weather has not been conducive to being out in the yard gardening. First we had cool super windy days (the kind that dried out the straw bales) and then nights with a possibility of frost. Now it's cool, cloudy and rainy. Which is great since it saves on the watering, but not so great for potting and setting out plants.

What is wonderful is watching some of the wintered-over plants green up. The top photo is the Provence Lavender. I wasn't sure it would come back this year since it had spent its third winter in the greenhouse, and all good things have to come to an end. But it has exploded with new growth and decided to take on another year.

Last weekend I potted up the patio tomatoes with a few basil plants - they've added almost 2" to their height already.

And the straw bales are growing mushrooms. Several different varieties, none of them edible or useful for any other activity. I'm no mushroom expert, but these were the most ethereal of the bunch.

The cauliflowers started from seed are adding an inch a day or so.

And the transplanted cauliflower is almost a foot tall, while the plants left in the greenhouse have 2" cauliflower heads.

Those 2" heads mean it's time to tie up the leaves around the heads. If you do this, just use regular jute twine. Tying the leaves around the baby heads protects them from insects, who will eat the whole head if you don't stop them, but apparently aren't smart enough to crawl in between the leaves. Just trust me, it works.

The differences in these plants tells me it's better to grow cauliflower in the greenhouse and have them produce earlier. But I'm hoping when the plants in the greenhouse are done, the transplants outside will come into season, and when they are done, the seed stock will be sporting heads. That's the plan anyway.

I have a whole bed of comfrey to plant -it's my new second-favorite herb (my first is any kind of basil- see below). I use comfrey to make salve, fertilizer water for the other plants, and as a mulch for my onions. Remember, once you plant this, it's hard to get rid of. I'm okay with that, since the more I have the happier I am.

The oregano in the greenhouse needs to be transplanted and if I don't get it done soon, I'll have to leave it where it is. I want beds of basil, marjoram, oregano and sage this year so I can make my own Italian seasoning. This may be one of those products that's just easier to buy, but I wanted to try and make my own. If nothing else, the yard will smell wonderful.

Baby basil, ready for transplanting. Is there any such thing as too much basil?

Boxwood basil, Lemon basil, Greek Columnar Basil, Purple Basil, Sweet basil, Genovese basil,Thai basil, Magical Basil (ha), Spicy Globe basil, Cinnamon basil, Purple Ruffled basil, Fino Verde basil, Licorice basil, Nufar basil, Mammoth basil, Osmin Purple basil, Red Rubin basil, Cuban basil, Dark Opal basil, Lime basil, Holy basil, Greek Bush basil, Dwarf basil, African Blue basil, Thai Lemon basil.....

Thank god it's one of the plants I'm not allergic to.


  1. how do you make the comfrey salve?

  2. Read this:

    Or better yet, just come over when its time and I'll show you.