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Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:31 pm    Post subject: Mushroom compost  Reply with quote    

Not sure if this goes in land management or grow your own, but I've just spoken to our local mushroom farm - lovely chap called John.

Details for anyone local interested:

Agricultural Supply Co. (Fairford) Ltd
Welsh Way
Sunhill
Cirencester
Gloucestershire
GL7 5SY

Tel: (01285) 850292

He's giving me a few bags of compost to try and see how far it spreads, they normally charge 75p for 20kg bags, if you buy 11 or more. Is this good??

Right, how do I use it? Don't want to dig, and it's going to be the start of the new polytunnel plot beds at home. The polytunnels aren't coming till later in the year, but thought we'd get the ground ready.

This is what I'm thinking:

Take off the top layer of grass. Spread the compost into the beds, how deep should it be? will probably raise them a bit with a wooden frame (6"?)

Then cover with a black polythene sheet

Plant through the sheet when the time is right??

Does that seem about right, or have I got things the wrong way round???

Northern_Lad



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 14210
Location: Somewhere
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Mushroom compost Reply with quote    

Penny wrote:
Does that seem about right, or have I got things the wrong way round???


Sounds OK to me. However, you may end up with a warm, dark, moist environment with mushroom compost. You could end up with a harvest before you plant anything!

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We found that we didn't get terrible weed growth on the mushroom compost, we put on about 6" with no other barrier. At planting time just move it out of the way.

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
We found that we didn't get terrible weed growth on the mushroom compost, we put on about 6" with no other barrier. At planting time just move it out of the way.


But will it really be OK not to dig? And is this a good time of year to start getting the new plot ready - sorry, so many questions

And when you say move it out of the way, do you mean scrape it off the bed, or just plant through it?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What are you planting?

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
What are you planting?


Not quite sure yet - tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, onions, potatoes, sweetcorn, garlic, cabbages, brussels, lettuce, carrots, peas, beans - all the standard really, and maybe a few more odd bits that I think off along the way. Some won't be in the tunnels obviously And not all at once...

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Whats your soil like?

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
Whats your soil like?


Very stoney, we've not cultivated it before, so don't know too much. Apparently the chap who had the cottage before us had a very succesful vegetable plot, so it should be OK. Been under lawn for about six years or so now though. It's limestone round here, so don't know how that effects it?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Limestone and mushroom compost are a bad mix, limestone means that your soil pH is already high (best check first though), mushroom compost is also high pH. Very handy for me as my soil pH is 6.0.

A mix of manure and composted bark would probably be better for you (lot more dosh though).

Either way you have several options open to you:

1. lift turf, rotovate, mulch
Not too hard, there won't be too much weed seed under their so not loads of stuff to control.

2. lift turf, top dress, rotovate, mulch
We're doing this for the next bed we're creating, half the mushroom is going in and being rotovated, the other half will be mulch.

3. lift turf, mulch
Could work as long as you plant into it (not sow seeds)

Rather than cover with a barrier over winter I'd be tempted to sow thickly with fenugreek, just get a big pack from an asian store (or PM me), dirt cheap N fixing green manure.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

BTW when you do any of this life is so much easier if you hire a turfcutter and a wheeled rotovator (one thats got driven wheels). We had neither when we did the first phase, it was blinking hard.

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What does a turf cutter do - apart from cutting turf obviously How does it work? Sounds like the sort of thing I'll need as OH is out till very late every night with harvest, so the chances of him using his muscles this side of October are pretty slim. So it's either me or slave labour (child variety).

Is a turf cutter something that a petite, but fairly strong girly or an 11 year old boy, who's 5ft 4" could use??

I just picked up 4 bags for free, and he says I can have as much of the slighty older stuff, that the paying customers won't buy, for free too (it's just gone a little green round the edges, but it'll be perfickly good for me) There's five tons of it there He kept warning me that I may get mushrooms popping up - warning me! I can't wait!!!

He's checked the ph and it's neutral, and apparently fairly high in nitrogen too - is that good?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

http://www.mower-magic.co.uk/acatalog/Turf_Cutting_machine.html

The one you hire will be nothing like that you'll have to jump up and down on it to get the blade in to the turf and maybe even stand on the bugger while you're pushing it to make it cut anything but the top 1/4 inch. Also the hire shop will probably have it set at the highest setting so you'll need to adjust it (just a bolt).

Not easy but a LOT easier than doing it manually (trust me, I know).

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

There's a 4 wheel drive Husqvarna on there which should be a doddle, if you can find anywhere that hires it, its worth ringing everywhere possible including the manufacture to find one. They're normally undriven.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43953
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

And of course make sure you stack the turf somewhere to let it decompose to a nice topsoil.

mrutty



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1578

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 06 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What's the depth of soil like? If it's like my parents place then I'd just dump a thick layer over the top. The grass will stop it all leeching away, then I'd chuck a green manure on the top. In the spring the worms would have made it perfect.

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