I got my strawberries in the mail today. They had been in my mail box, which I am little concerned about. Not sure how long they were there. They did not look terrible, so I don’t think it was too long but still very warm in there!
I wanted to go ahead and plant them. As I looked around the house for a good pot, I noticed an old garbage can with some hole patterns going up the size. Well, it looked enough like a Strawberry pot that I decided that is what it would become! I cleaned it out really well. The bottom was turned into a self-watering system. I used hay to block up some of the sides and then poked the strawberries out the holes. Fingers crossed it is big enough for all the plants I put in it! I don’t think they need a lot of space given the DIY strawberry towers I have seen.
Currently, it will live on the porch. I think my porch has become my nursery for the newly planted plants and seeds. Hopefully, they will get established soon. I am sure it will be a few months until they start to produce.
** About a day or so after I planted these, I started to notice mold in the hay. I am not sure if this is actually a problem yet, but I am pretty bummed. It is REALLY wet in FL right now. We were having a drought, but now, it has been raining every day for about 4 days. The forecast has it raining for another week. So I am not sure if it is the weather or something in the hay. I hope the plants are already strong enough to handle the problem! I did spray the planter with Neems Oil, but with all the little holes and all the hay, I am not sure this will work.
***Two weeks later, I did not think the strawberries were getting enough light, so I moved them outside. 7/1 I brought them inside. about half of them on one side did not survive. Not sure what to make of it.
I started a Google sheet doc to track the information I find out about companion planting. There seems to be so much information out there but not necessarily all the information I want in the same place. I will continue to edit this doc as I find out information.
To find this doc, click here!
The cream sauce I use is always changing just a bit. The basic ingredients are:
½ cup yogurt
a squeeze of mayonnaise (for me, I use just a little as I am not a big mayo fan)
a couple of cloves of garlic (around 5/6)
Juice of a Lemon or Lime (can also use zest )
Salt and Pepper
Blend all these together in a magic bullet or blender until smooth. You might need to add just a little water or more juice if the mixture is not blending well.
At this point, I taste and adjust the seasoning.
This gives me the base for this sauce. I add herbs like cilantro, basil, or chives. Other ideas are onion, cucumber (salt and drain before adding), hot sauce, honey or anything that sounds good to me at the time. When adding new ingredients that I have never used in this, I add them slowly and blend. Taste to see if I want more of that flavor not. Adjust as needed.
My hope is that I am far more successful with my mushrooms than I was a few years ago! I am going to start listing my uses for these here!
- Pan Fried
- Coq Au Vin
- Stir Fry
- Hand Pies
- Mushroom soup
- Russian Mushrooms and Cream
- Mushroom Pasta Sauce
- Guinness Stew
- Chicken and Mushrooms
- Mushroom pizza
- Miso Soup
- Mushrooms and Parmesan Crepes
- Mushroom Toast
- Mushroom Bruschetta
- Marinated Mushrooms
These are so simple and so delicious. I have done this with both Blue and Pink Oyster Mushrooms.
Start heating up a good size frying pan on medium heat. I used my cast iron since I love cooking in that. In the pan, add a tablespoon or 2 of oil. Any oil will do: olive, safflower, canola or the like. You will want to make sure there is enough oil to cover the surface of the pan, but you do not want it to be too deep.
I like to cut the bigger mushrooms into smaller parts, so they lay flat in the pan. You will want to make sure they have good contact with the surface of the pan, so they get really nice and brown.
Lay the mushrooms in the pan in a single layer. Salt the mushrooms to taste.
Check the underside for browning and when there is a nice light brown color on the mushrooms flip them over to brown the other side. Once both sides are brown, you are done!
The number of mushrooms you are cooking might vary based on the number your cakes produce! If you are cooking a few mushroom caps, use less oil and salt. More caps, use more oil and salt. If you have a lot, then you might think about cooking in two batches.
So my first two zucchini have been a little misshapen. The very first was small in size, and the blossom end was narrower than the stem end. The Blossom end also started to rot as it started to change color indicating it was ripe. The second fruit did something of the same thing, but it was bigger in size. It was almost at the point where it would have turned an orangey/yellow color and started to get its markings. I noticed it was smaller at the blossom end and the end started to go bad. There were a few little gray bugs on the zucchini. I am not sure what they are, but they seem to live in the soil under the hay.
I think this is blossom end rot, but I am just not sure. I had some soil with egg shells in it, so I sprinkled some of that on there.
6/1 – I am pretty sure this is now Blossom End Rot. I looked up some DIY at home solutions for this. I read that TUMS can help with that. So I added both crushed egg shells and TUMS to the pot. From what I read, egg shells can take a while to break down, so they are a good long-term strategy. I add the TUMS as a short term strategy. Fingers crossed!
6/9 Still having problems with small fruit and Blossom End Rot but not as bad. It has also been raining EVERY DAY for over a week! In some of the research I have done, this can also contribute to this problem. 😦 I don’t think I will know what is truly going on until it stops raining but that does not seem like it will happen for another week.
Also, the zucchinis also stay pretty small. I have had really thin ones that get to be about 4 inches in length. Some suggestions I have seen only for this problem are lack of or insufficient pollination. Seems strange as I have bees and butterflies in the garden, but I guess it is possible. I will try hand pollination and see if that does anything. Will update as I try some things.
Update on my big box of mushrooms and hay. I have never done a big box like this before. I also had my mushrooms in plastic bags, and then once the bags looked good, I would transfer them to this bigger box. This time, I put the wet hay in the box and then added the mycelium. About a day after doing this, I realized I had an extra smaller basket that had slits in the side. I figure this would be a better basket since it would allow for airflow and provide the holes the mushrooms like.
When I check on this today and move the hay to the smaller bucket, the mycelium was spreading as expected, BUT little fruit flies had found the box and were starting to lay eggs in the hay.. NOOO!!! :(. The bugs can contaminate the hay! I decided to go ahead and move the hay to the smaller basket and then figure out what to do about the bugs. I might just have to let this one go and put it in the composter and start over.
I think my mistake was leaving the hay too wet. Might have to go back to my old way of doing this.
So I was looking at my two bags of mycelium and notice that there were little pins in the pink oyster mycelium. Eeek, I did not think they would start producing until I clipped the bag!
Well, I decided I should prep the bag and a spot for the pink oysters since they were growing! I draped the bag with plastic and have been spraying clean water around the holes I clipped. So far, they are doing well! Will post pictures.