Brown gills in a ring – the perils of mushroom compost

This year the raised beds are all about circles. Last year I mixed the flowers and veg in triangles and straight lines but this year I have decided to go round in circles. So I made a template just over 1m in diameter and used that to mark circles in sand on the prepared soil. Beetroot is being used to mark most of these circles but because there are eight beds with two circles each and 14 more in the two larger beds eight have been planted with parsley. The beet was sown direct because the seeds are large enough to space-sow but I must say that germination has been a bit erratic so far and so I may have to resow some. Its a numbers game with all these beds. I am encircling the circles with more circles or curving lines and that needs 400 antirrhinums and another 400 marigolds – all growing well so far and the antirrhinums have been planted out.

mushroomsBut the dominant feature of the beds is the crop of mushrooms which is the result of digging in the mushroom compost throughout winter. I suppose this is a tasty bonus and the mushrooms are great if they are picked as soon as they push through the soil. It is just annoying when they push through the soil where the beet are sown.

lettuce sweetheart

As well as the more permanent flowers and beet the gaps and the inside of the circles will be planted with other flowers and veg that can be cropped and replanted. Here the first lettuce (‘Sweetheart’) have been planted a week ago.

beans circle

Last year I bought two pots of Oxalis triangularis and in autumn I saved the scaly tubers and planted them in cell trays this spring. Putting two or three of these in each cell (in six-cell trays) I produced 72 ‘plants’ which I am using outside in the beds. The rich purple leaves and pink flowers will make an interesting contrast to the veg.


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