First attempt at growing oyster mushrooms

My first mushroom bed.

Mushroom Bed

Mushroom Bed

Date of spreading spawn: April 13th 2021.

I bought the spawn from Serbia on ebay.

I don’t have any idea so I have followed the websites recommended by Baruch

A very good website is :

A good place to buy spawn is here

Many mushroom growing websites show you how to grow mushrooms outside. Once the mycelium has become well established it is possible to grow mushrooms for years.
I very much like this simple way of growing mushrooms.

I have used the lasagna method of layering the substrate and spawn.
I have used Encina (Holm Oak) leaves in various states of decomposition.

The area is very shady and happens to have an irrigation tube going past.
I used about 250 grams of spawn on about 80cm squared.

The area will be irrigated every night.







Silver Broom – Adenocarpus decorticans

Silver Broom – Adenocarpus decorticans

It is April and there is lots of Silver Broom – Adenocarpus decorticans around the surrounding hills. It grows in full sun and shady places.  It is  monoecious having both  male and female reproductive organs in the same individual i.e.  hermaphrodite. Pollination is crossed (it occurs between different plants and not between flowers on  a single plant) . Pollination is and aided by insects (entomophil).  The seeds are in pods and are spread by explosive force when the seed pod dries. It is related to the sweet pea.

Adenocarpus decorticans

Adenocarpus decorticans

This plant is very attractive and I intend to grow some from seed.

The meaning of the name:
Adeno = relating to a gland or glands
Carpus = fruited.
Decorticans = is derived from the Latin word decorticans meaning “without bark” referring to the peeling bark on the smaller branches.

Silver Broom

Silver Broom

This is about 2 weeks before full blooming. It is very spectacular against a blue sky.  This is a wild bush and it tolerates extreme heat (35C)  and dryness in the summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. (-15C)

The Spanish name for this plant is Rascavieja

Mulch versus Non mulch

The purpose of this post is just to compare the effects of mulching some broad beans versus not mulching them.

I planted the broad beans in the field in January. I rotovated the field beforehand to get rid of the surface weeds. I made holes with a broomstick about 10cm deep and threw the broad bean seeds into the holes before raking over to fill up the holes. I used dried broad beans for eating from the supermarket. 

On half of them I put a covering of about 3cm of chipped olive branches from my wood chipper. You can see the results in the photos below. 

Broad beans planted with a mulch

Broad beans planted with a mulch

Broad beans planted without a mulch

Broad beans planted without a mulch


The mulch does a very good job of suppressing the weeds. I am influenced by the idea of no dig gardening. In strict no dig gardening there would be no use of a rotovator and the mulch would be well rotted compost rather than freshly chipped vegetable matter but for me this method works well. The use of a rotovator is abhorrent to some purists but many people don’t realize that they only just scratch over the surface.

Wood chipper

The wood chipper

I used to burn all the prunings from the olive trees. They burn very well because the leaves contain oil however it seemed a waste of a useful resource and the carbon dioxide was released into the air.  With the wood chipper I use all the shredded vegetable matter as mulch. This reduces the amount of time weeding and the vegetable matter improves the soil quality and increases the worm population. I imagine that is locks up the carbon the the soil for a while which is probably a good thing. There is more info and a video of the shredder here









Using Sun Dried Tomatoes

Reconstituting Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun Dried tomatoes in a salad.

Method 2 Sun dried tomatoes in a salad. (the jar method)

OK so you have lots of sun dried tomatoes but they are useless unless you know what to do with them. The obvious thing to do is to add them to stews and anything you are cooking. In this post I want to tell you how to reconstitute them so that they can be used in salads etc as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in the months that fresh tomatoes are not available.

Method 1
Put some tomatoes on a deep plate.  Cover them with boiling water. Cover with an upturned plate. Leave for 15 minutes or until they are soft. Pour off the water. Sprinkle on some salt and drizzle some olive oil over them. They can be served as a tomato salad just on their own.  As you can see some of the sun dried tomatoes can go a bit black but they taste the same so I don’t care. 

Sun Dried Tomatoes in a salad

Method 1 Sun Dried Tomatoes in a salad

Method 2
Cram some dried tomatoes into a glass jar. Add a small teaspoonful of sugar to the jar. Fill the jar up with a mixture of water and vinegar. The ratio is according to taste and how strong the vinegar is. Leave for 24 hours. Use within 3 days because they will start to ferment. I tend to use these tomatoes as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in winter salads. 

The tomatoes on this page were dried in my solar drier. Click here to see it