January 11, 2013
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We haven’t posted in a while… it’s winter here so there isn’t much growing, but there’s still a lot going on. We’ve gotten a lot done since our last post on November 1. Here are some of the highlights: Eric spotted some wild oyster mushrooms living on an oak tree in early December. We harvested about 4 pounds of them, leaving some behind. We used the Missouri Department of Conservation’s book Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms to make sure we identified the mushrooms correctly. Just for fun we also made a spore print by placing a mushroom gills-down on a piece of paper (we did one black and one white sheet of paper) and letting it sit overnight. The spores are naturally released and create a colored print on the paper below; matching the color of the spores lets you positively identify your mushroom. The oyster’s spores were a milky lavender hue. We ate our fill of mushrooms, shared them with friends and family, and still had about 2 pounds extra, which we sold. They were some of the best mushrooms I’ve ever eaten, so much meatier and nuttier than cultivated oysters, and absolutely delicious raw. Meanwhile, our inoculated mushroom logs are showing signs of mycelium growth- the logs are being colonized. We’ll have our own mushrooms this spring! We harvested a late crop of dried beans from our Iowa Ave. garden in early November. This was our first year growing varieties of beans that are meant to be dried, and we didn’t devote too much space to it. We were pleased to have enough of these black beans to save some for seed and we cooked the ones pictured above for burritos. This fall we also dug up the ginger we had planted. Another great experiment! We used some for cooking but are saving some to replant next year.
Our other big experiment this year was growing peanuts. We finally dug up our crop and ended up with a nice harvest. Definitely something to try on a larger scale someday.
Also not pictured is our sweet potato harvest from Iowa Ave and our newer garden space. Both harvests went well, and we’ve got a big box of ’em stashed away in our basement for use this winter. In preparation for cold weather, we also re-covered our half hoop house in the side yard, with the same plastic sheeting we used last year. It hasn’t gotten terribly cold yet, but it’ll be useful this spring to house our tomato seedlings. In Sunset Hills, we mulched our new garlic bed in mid-November, before it got too cold. We’ve also been keeping busy (and paying the bills) with some landscaping projects. We custom-designed this for a neighbor who loved our original herb spiral, and included a large paver patio, whimsical reclaimed brick pathway, and free city mulch. This spring we’ll plant the herb spiral and landscape the surrounding area with native perennials and whatever else she might want. In our free time we’ve also been doing a lot of crafting, including these wooden gnome doors. Before the holidays we exhibited at some local craft fairs, and we started our own Etsy shop. When we’re stuck inside over the winter we like having a creative outlet, and the extra income doesn’t hurt.
I’ve also made a bunch of miniature morel mushrooms to accessorize our gnome doors, as well as jewelry and wallets made out of discarded bike tubes.
Suffice it to say, we’ve been staying busy! And now seed catalogs are pouring in… can’t wait to get back into the soil in 2013!