5 JUNE 2020
‘M’ can stand for ‘Mushrooms’ or ‘Mum’. Today I planned to apply the casing to the mushroom beds. The spawn was sown about three weeks ago and covered with damp newspaper to wait for the mycelium to run – little white threads come out of the spawn into the ‘well rotted’ manure. The casing is 45% peat/peat substitute, 45% loam and 10% chalk/lime. This stage requires the newspaper to be removed, the beds sprinkled with water and the casing to be mixed and applied about an inch deep. Before this job I was needed in my ‘mum’ capacity by one of my daughters, who required my help/support with an issue she is presently facing. I then did some watering despite the fact that we should be getting some rain. During the day there were some short bursts of rain, but it needs to keep going in order to soak deeper into the soil, it is not enough to stop my rudbeckia wilting!
I then go down into the mushroom house and carefully remove the newspaper and water the beds thoroughly. James also installs my new thermostatically controlled eco-heater to keep the temperature at a constant 16 degrees, which is required for mushroom growth.
I am then called away to answer the phone, a call from the hospital, we are still trying to establish what is happening next with Jean’s care. Then I am required again by my daughter. I do not get back to my mushroom house for nearly four hours and now I have to mix the casing. I do this in a wheelbarrow and it is hard work, like making a giant crumble mix but much heavier. I have to mix eight barrows of casing, apply it and then water again. It is nearly 9pm by the time that I am finished. I hope I have done it correctly… only time will tell.