How To Grow Shiitake Logs In A Home Garden

Shiitake logs that are grown at home have superior taste along with appearance and texture when compared with the commercially available products. With a bit of knowledge about growing logs and effort, you can grow this product in the home garden. Depending on the capability and need you can start the plan of growing logs. In the beginning, you need a space that is allocated for this purpose. The cultivation of logs is one of the most important things to know for which you need logs of specific sizes. To make the log moist you must allow staying them in the water for a few days.

Identifying the log

This is another important step that comprises the process of growing shiitake. For Shiitake Logs you have to identify the best and get them from hardwood trees that are freshly cut. While the specifications of logs can change, you can cut them into suitable sizes to achieve your target. There are different trees from which you can cut sections of logs for Shiitake Spawns but make sure that you consult a professional with adequate experience to know the things in entirety. Buying mushroom logs for sale is another idea on which you can rely to enhance the production. It is the quality of the log that can boost the growth of mushroom. Once you have finished the process of getting the Shiitake Mushroom Logs you will be able to grow mushrooms on them for a long time. Logs need to be left for some time to allow the fungicides to die before you move on to the next step.

Buying and stuffing the spawn

Next is the step to get shiitake mushroom spawn whether in the form of sawdust, plugs or thimbles. There are a lot of online portals selling spawns needed for shiitake mushrooms offering different strains and varied characteristics. For each log, you will need a certain number of spawns. After this, you will need to drill holes in the logs and the entire thing is to be done around the circumference of the log. You have to plug spawn in the holes. After filling the holes with spawns you have to cover them with good quality wax which is food grade such as beeswax to avoid contamination.

Keeping the logs

You have to stack the logs against something or lay them on the ground, preferably on a bed of straw. Ideally, the place in which the logs are placed must be shady. However, air circulation must be proper and if there is scanty rainfall in the area, you can keep the logs moist. As a matter of fact, this is the trickiest part of growing shiitake mushroom on the logs. You might have to go through a few steps of trial and error before getting it right.

Growth of mushroom

Finally, the shiitake mushrooms will grow on the logs within a period of six to twelve months. If you are lucky enough the production can continue until springtime. You can expect the growth for about three to four years until the cellulose of the log is consumed fully and prepare for commercial selling if you want.

Build a Rain Garden

There’s a new garden in town. It is (mostly) easy to install, looks good year-round, requires almost no maintenance and has a terrifically upbeat impact on the environment. No wonder rain gardens are such a great new gardening trend!

Storm water runoff can be a big problem in summer during heavy thunderstorms. As the water rushes across roofs and driveways, it picks up oil and other pollutants. Municipal storm water treatment plants often can’t handle the deluge of water, and in many locations the untreated water ends up in natural waterways. The EPA estimates as much as 70 percent of the pollution in our streams, rivers, and lakes is carried there by storm water! By taking responsibility for the rainwater that falls on your own roof and driveway, you’ll be helping to protect our rivers, streams and lakes from stormwater pollution.

To reduce the excess water runoff, many towns are encouraging businesses and homeowners to install rain gardens in their yards. Rain gardens are specially constructed gardens located in low areas of a yard where storm water can collect. The idea is to have the water naturally funnel to this garden. The rain garden collects water runoff and stores and filters it until it can be slowly absorbed by the soil. Rather than rushing off into a storm sewer or a local waterway, the rainwater can collect in a garden where it will be naturally filtered by plants and soil.

Installing a rain garden is easy.

You simply dig a shallow depression in your yard and plant it with native grasses and wildflowers; things that are easy to grow and maintain in your area.

What makes a garden a rain garden?

First, the garden will be designed with a low spot in the middle to collect and absorb rain water and snow melt. This depression can range from a few inches in a small garden, to an excavated trough that’s several feet deep. Second, rain gardens are usually located where they’ll catch the runoff from impermeable surfaces like sidewalks and driveways, or from gutters and roof valleys. Third, rain gardens are usually planted with native wildflowers and grasses that will thrive in tough growing conditions. Finally, rain gardens are designed to channel heavy rains to another rain garden or to another part of the garden.

Your rain garden should be located at least 10 feet from the house. The garden’s size and location depends on the yard. The ideal situation would be to locate the garden in a natural depression. You also can funnel water from downspouts on gutters into the garden. The soil should be well drained so the water doesn’t sit in the garden for more than two days. A special “rain garden” soil mix of 50 to 60 percent sand, 20 to 30 percent topsoil, and 20 to 30 percent compost is recommended. You can dig this mixture into the soil to depth of 2 feet before planting.

Once you’ve identified the new garden’s location, remove the sod and dig a shallow depression approximately 6-inches deep. Slope the sides gradually from the outside edge to the deepest area. Use the soil that you remove to build up a slightly raised area on the lowest side of the garden. This berm will help contain the stormwater and allow it to percolate slowly through the rain garden.

If your rain garden is no more than about 6-inches deep, stormwater will usually be absorbed within a one- to seven-day period. Because mosquitoes require seven to 10 days to lay and hatch their eggs, this will help you avoid mosquito problems.

Your downspout or sump pump outlet should be directed toward your rain garden depression. This can be accomplished by a natural slope, by digging a shallow swale, or by piping the runoff directly to the garden through a buried 4″ diameter plastic drain tile.

Plant Selection… The final touch.

The most difficult part of building a rain garden (if it can even be called that) can be plant selection. Plants need to be tough enough to withstand periodic flooding, yet attractive enough to look good in the garden. Deep-rooted, low-care native plants, such as asters, and tough non-natives, such as daylilies, are best. If properly designed, the rain garden can consist of a blend of attractive shrubs, perennials, trees, and ground covers. Planting strips of grass around the garden and using mulch also can help filter the water.

New plants should be watered every other day for the first two weeks or so. Once they are well established, your garden should thrive without additional watering. Fertilizers will not be necessary, and only minimal weeding will be needed after the first summer of growth.

Gardening For Personal Growth

One of the hottest jobs to emerge during the past few years is coaching, already a booming business before the economic downturn. Recently, the recession has been driving the market toward personal and career coaching, but the newest big idea to hit this type of paid mentoring is meaning coaching. Because meaning originates from inside ourselves, not from the outside world, the ability to construct a meaningful life depends upon our capacity and willingness to take positive actions to incorporate into our lives those aspects of life that we personally value, including gardening.

By connecting the transformational power of gardening to the choices that gardeners make, a gardener-centric coach can help them create personal spaces that are not only beautiful and healthy, but also provide a sanctuary from the world that speaks to their souls.

Making our own meaning encompasses the thought, energy, emotion, time, money, and commitment we’re willing to expend in the service of bringing our own dreams into reality. In the context of gardening, this means tuning in to why we feel our view of gardening is important and asserting that to be a sufficient reason to garden in our own way.

For example, one gardener gave herself no credit for the multitude of gardening decisions she had made over the course of 30 years. After a tour of the garden and some discussion with a gardener coach, her view of her garden and her place within it had completely changed, in half an hour. Within three months, her ability to stick to her own priorities skyrocketed.

Similarly, a person who cares deeply about the impact of chemicals on groundwater will not be comfortable having a lawn service spray pesticides on a regular schedule, if at all. A vegan who is growing her own vegetables will want to know the exact source and composition of any compost she uses.

Gardener coaching is different from garden coaching

Garden coaches made a big splash when they came on the scene about five years ago. They’ve been covered by The New York Times and other national newspapers, and radio and television networks. Garden coaching concentrates on horticultural knowledge and the mechanical skills of growing plants.

Gardener coaching focuses instead on the personal growth of gardeners in order to help them reach a mental space that allows them to develop an intimate, holistic relationship with their land. Through a series of personalized assignments and exercises gardeners can learn how to rediscover and focus on the things that really matter to them about their gardens, restore meaning to their gardening efforts, and revitalize a cherished pastime.

Garden coaching is by its nature local, so that the coach can physically go to the garden. But a gardener coach can work with anyone anywhere in the world. All clients need is a mode of communication and some pictures of their garden. Computers and digital cameras make it all very easy.

Medical practitioners and landscape designers have been dancing around the link between plants and people for decades. Research shows that having hospital rooms that face a garden quickens patient recovery, so hospitals construct them that way because it works. But such patients are passive onlookers; not participants. Instead, hospitals need to open an avenue through which patients, staff, and visitors can interact with the garden on terms that are meaningful to them. This is somewhat different from horticultural therapy programs in which gardening is used as the means to accomplish specific physical or mental therapy goals.

Similarly, landscape designers understand that some people experience a spiritual boost in gardens that are intended to evoke a certain mood. Gardeners will react to the design in their own distinctive ways. But not every gardener will have a similar reaction to a specific design, because ‘spiritual’ means different things to different people.

The secret to opening this path to everyone is to approach it by involving people in an intimate and meaningful way from the very beginning.

When can gardener-centric coaching help?T

here are different milestones in gardeners’ lives when gardener-focused coaching can breathe new life into an established hobby, regardless of the gardener’s level of expertise:

  • To bring another perspective to experienced gardeners who have gotten stuck in their progress.
  • When gardeners want to learn how to better express their own creativity and personality through gardening.
  • To build confidence in shaping the direction taken by professionals they employ.
  • When they want someone who will hold them accountable for working towards their goals on a regular basis.
  • For assistance in figuring out themes, periods, styles, etc., that match the gardener’s personality and values.
  • To inject new vitality when gardening starts to feel dull and uninteresting, and
  • For novice gardeners who often don’t know where to start.

We all want to believe we can do things on our own, but it’s a whole lot easier when someone else takes us out of our normal mental and physical space and helps us see with new eyes.

Lois is a regional field editor and location scout for Better Homes and Gardens, Special Interest Media, a garden writer, and a gardener-centric meaning coach who enjoys visiting other people’s gardens, as well as working in her own. Lois’ articles have appeared in Nature’s Garden, Garden Rooms, Garden, Deck and Landscape, Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living, Horticulture, and Do It Yourself magazines. She was a contributing editor to Decorating Solutions for four years and her articles have also appeared in trade, in-house corporate, specialty news, and professional publications. Lois is a member of Garden Writers of America.

While executive director of The Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council, she launched the council’s countywide Town & Country Garden Tour and wrote a local newspaper column, Culturally Conscious. She served on her local environmental commission for nine years, on the planning board for four years, and on the open space committee for three. Through her work, she advocates gardening and land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth.

Creating Ambiance With Gardens

During his 40-year career as a garden writer and photographer, Derek Fell has designed numerous garden spaces, many involving his wife Carolyn. The best example of their work can be seen at their home, historic Cedaridge Farm, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There, they have designed more than twenty theme areas, including shade gardens, sunny perennial borders, tapestry gardens involving trees and shrubs, a cottage garden, herb garden, cutting garden and an ambitious water garden.

Derek worked as a consultant on garden design to the White House during the Gerald Ford Administration. Derek designed Ford’s ‘Win’ garden, following his ‘Win Speech’, advising the nation ten ways to fight inflation.

Many garden designs by Derek Fell have been implemented without inspecting the site. The great late architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed beautiful homes for his clients, entirely from photographs without the need for a site inspection.

Fell’s garden spaces have been featured in newspapers, magazines, books and also on television, including Architectural Digest, Gardens Illustrated, The Garden (the magazine of the Royal Horticultural Society), Country Gardens, HGTV, QVC and PBS.

Derek has authored more than sixty books and garden calendars, including 550 Home Landscaping Ideas (Simon & Schuster), The Encyclopedia of Garden Design (Firefly Books), The Complete Garden Planning Manual (Friedman), Garden Accents (Henry Holt) and Home Landscaping (Simon & Schuster).

Curb appeal and ambiance are important to brighten up your propoerty or prepare it for sale. Feel free to ask Derek any garden related questions regardless of how big or small.

SOME GARDEN TYPES

Water Garden. Water is the music of nature. It can be tricked over stones, cascaded from a great height so its crashes onto rocks. It can fall in a solid sheet or as silver threads. A beautiful water garden with waterfalls and stepping stones can be located in sunlight or shade. The water garden shown here is located at Cedaridge Farm. It includes a pool for dipping, and it features both a collection of koi and hardy water lilies. A popular water garden design features a koi pool fed by a series of waterfalls, and the water re-circulated through filters to keep the water clear.

Sunny Perennial Border. This can be formal or informal, square, rectangular, round and kidney shaped, in the form of an island bed or backed against a decorative hedge, wall or fence. Plants can be chosen to produce a parade of color through all the seasons, or concentrated for a particular season. Color themes can be polychromatic like a rainbow, monochromatic (for example all white – perfect for a wedding), or it can feature an Impressionist color harmony, such as yellow and purple; orange and blue; red, pink and silver; blue, pink and white; even black and white or black and orange (one of Monet’s favorites). A popular perennial garden design is two parallel border with a grass path leading to a focal point such as a sculpture or gazebo.

Tropical Garden. You do not need to live in a frost-free area to have a beautiful tropical garden. At Cedaridge Farm we have two – one is a tribute to the design philosophy of the late Roberto Burle Marx, who designed dramatic tropical gardens around Rio. It is in a lightly shaded area and features plants that are hardy (like ‘Sum & Substance’ hosta) but look tropical and tender plants that are tender (like banana trees and tree ferns) that either need moving indoors during winter or can be discarded like annuals at the end of the season. Our second tropical space is a patio with tropical plants grown in containers.

Shade Gardens. We design two kinds of shade gardens – one where the plants provide mostly foliage interest (like ferns, hostas, heuchera and hakone grass), and plants that flower well (like impatiens, coleus, and lilies), or a combination of the two.

Woodland Garden. Whether you have existing woodland or you need to create a woodland from scratch, the result can be sensational. Decide whether you want deciduous trees that provide fall color or evergreens that stay green all winter, or a mixture. At Cedaridge we made a ‘cathedral’ garden where the existing trees are trimmed high so the trunks look like the columns of a cathedral, and the branches arch out to meet overhead like the vaulted ceiling of a cathedral. Below, we provide two more layers of interest, at ground level and the under-story.

Vegetable Garden. We can design you an easy-care garden of raised beds where vegetables are planted in blocks or an edible landscape where edibles are grown for ornamental effect. We can provide the plan for a garden that was approved for the White house during the Ford Administration where Derek Fell worked as a garden consultant. Derek Fell’s book, “Vegetables – How to Select, Grow & Enjoy”, won a best book award from the Garden Writers Association.

Herb Garden. The herb garden at Cedaridge Farm is a ‘quadrant design’, feature in numerous calendars and books, including Derek Fell’s ‘Herb Gardening for Beginners.’ We can also provide a cartwheel design or a parterre herb garden for bountiful harvests of fresh herbs. The Herb Garden can also do double-duty as a vegetable garden.

Cutting Garden. The cutting garden at Cedaridge Farm features bulbs such as tulips and daffodils for spring, and ever-blooming annuals to follow the bulbs so armloads of flowers can be harvested from April through October.

Victorian Garden. A garden with romantic overtones! Imagine a white gazebo framed by mostly white flowers for a wedding in the family. Or choose from among several color harmonies, such as yellow and blue, red, pink and silver, or blue, pink and white.

Cottage Garden. You don’t need a cottage to have a cottage garden. But if you do, such as a guest cottage, why not wrap it in shrub roses and climbers, plus those delightful English cottage garden plants like poppies, sunflowers and pinks. We also like to include plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Stream Garden. Lucky you if you have an existing stream to be landscaped. At Cedaridge Farm we have a stream, but when we moved here it was overgrown with poison ivy and brambles. Today it is criss-crossed with bridges, and beds of moisture-loving plants like astilbe and water iris. If you don’t have a stream, but would like one, we can create a design where the water is re-circulated along one that’s man-made but looks natural.

Orchard. You don’t need a lot of space for a productive orchard. By making the right choices, fruit trees can be grown in containers or espaliered against fences and walls to save space. Peaches and apples can be trained over arbors. Just a few plants of small fruits like strawberries and raspberries can be highly productive.

Bog Garden. Ideal for soils that tend to remain moist all season, bog gardens can be extremely colorful and highly imaginative, incorporating stepping stones and bridges to cross wet areas, and growing some of nature’s most diverse plant families, such as water iris, Japanese primroses, astilbe and waterlilies.

Japanese Garden. The problem with many Japanese gardens is a tendency to use pseudo-Japanese elements such as Chinese dragons. Derek Fell has twice traveled to Japan, has written award-winning articles about Japanese garden design, and has the experience to design authentic-looking spaces in the Japanese tradition using elements of Zen or Feng Shui, or a combination of the two disciplines to create a magical space.

Italian Garden. Although Italian gardens can be highly ostentatious, requiring steep slopes to achieve the best effect, like the Villa d’Este, near Rome, small spaces can achieve the aura of an Italian garden. Derek Fell has not only visited some of the finest Italian Gardens, such as La Mortola on the Italian coast, and Boboli overlooking Florence, he has toured and photographed the Vatican Gardens.

French Formal Garden. The elaborate style of Versailles Palace and Vaux le Vicompte, may be beyond your means, but elements of French garden design, such as a parterre garden, can be incorporated in small spaces.

Monet’s Garden. This beautiful artist’s garden north of Paris contains more than a hundred special planting ideas to create what Monet considered his greatest work of art. Moreover, his planting ideas have undoubtedly inspired more new garden design than any other garden. Monet’s arched bridge, his waterlily pond, his arches leading to the entrance of his house, and his color harmonies are just some examples of Monet’s innovation that people today like to emulate.

Tapestry Garden (Trees & Shrubs). The great French Impressionist artist, Paul Cezanne’s garden, in Provence, is composed mostly of trees and shrubs, not only as a labor saving device, but to provide a tapestry of color from leaf colors, leaf texture and leaf shapes. What could be more appealing than to look out of a window of your home at a rich foliage panorama, including all shades of green from light green to dark-green, plus blue, silver, gold, bronze?

Hillside Garden. Even dry hillsides can make beautiful rock gardens, with paths twisting and turning in a zig-zag to create a visual adventure from the top of the slope to the bottom. They can be terraced and threaded with streams to create waterfalls and planted with some of nature’s most beautiful plant forms. Bridges, benches and belvedere are some of the structural elements that can add interest to a hillside.

How to Deal With Dandelions

History:

Dandelions are herbs and have been around for millions of years. The Chinese mention this herb in the early 7th century and the Arabian doctors did not get around to the Dandelions until the 10th century. The dandelion is classed as an herb and for centuries was part of herb gardens.

Soil Type:

Dandelions need sun and light soil to grow well, however they will grow in any type of soil partially recently disturbed soil. So, having deserted the herb garden you will find them everywhere and how they relish it.

How they spread:

After they flower, they produce a seed head that blows on the wind or even a slight breeze. It has been estimated that a seed will travel up to a hundred miles. How they worked that one out, I have no idea. What I do know is that last autumn we had sand on our cars here in Oxford that had blown over from North Africa, so anything is possible. Dandelions are a master of endurance and you may be dismayed of never getting rid of them. However, they are ways of controlling them.

Iron Resolve

Getting rid of Dandelions must be treated as warfare with its goal: total annihilation of the plant. You must approach the task with a harshness and iron will, ferociously obliterating the Dandelion in your garden

How To Control Dandelions:

If they are in your lawn, you may think to your self: I will mow them to death. However, what happens is the dandelion just grow shorter. Keeps it head down, in other words. It was Darwin himself who first noticed this. So mowing is a no goer.

If you are into spraying chemicals, “Roundup” is the best. However, do be aware that “Roundup” will kill any thing that it touches and that includes Oak trees. So when you use it make sure that they is no wind at all.

Pouring boiling water will kill dandelions. You must make sure that you have enough boiling water to soak the plant, root and all. You should see results of this within four hours. The leaves will start to go brown.

Make a mixture of Isopropyl alcohol, that is rubbing alcohol, which can be bought at your local pharmacies. Mix two tablespoons of alcohol with two pints of water: put it in a spray bottle and spray until the Dandelion is dripping wet. The best time of the day to do this is midday on a hot afternoon. The plant will show signs of withering within two hours.

I use a mixture of vinegar and water. The mixture is: two pints of vinegar with a dash of liquid soap and two tablespoons of lemon juice. I put this in a hand help spray bottle and spray dandelions when ever I see them. The plant will die, never to return. However, others will spring up else where in the garden.

Dandelion are very easy to dig out.

The main way of controlling Dandelions is to never let the flowers turn into seed heads.

It Is Not All Bad:

Like every plant, Dandelion does have many uses, none of which I have tried.

Apart from using the leaves in salad one of the more useful ones in my view is extracting rubber from the plant to make tires for motor cars. Yes, you read it right:

Dandelions contain rubber, however before you rush out to your garden you may want to know that British plants do not contain enough to make it worth while. It is the Dandelion grown in Russian that contain the rubber.The milky sap is found in the root of the plant.

Two Perfect Additions To Your Garden

Not only are these native plants a beautiful addition to any garden, they provide a sense of place. Below you will find two perfect additions to your garden:

Byrsonima Lucida (Locust Berry)

Locust Berry is a Florida native small tree or shrub, typically 5 – 15 feet tall, but can grow taller. It has an irregular, rounded or flat-topped, moderately dense crown.

Trunks are usually short, with numerous ascending branches; bark thin, pale brown. Often a host to epiphytes.

Leaves are green or blue-green, evergreen, opposite or sub opposite, leathery, smooth, glossy above but dull below and 1 – 1 1/2 inches long.

Flowers borne in clusters, showy blooms change color from white to pink to crimson, and attract butterflies.

Fruits are round, 1/2 inch long, pea-sized, fleshy, green ripening to red and attract birds. Fruits are edible and persist on the tree.

The plant is grown from seed. Bark and fruits have medicinal use. Locust berry is adapted to different types of well-drained soils; it benefits from pruning. Usually not affected by pests.

In addition to its value as a land reclamation plant, locust berry’s handsome foliage, flowers and fruits, make it effective as specimen plant, screen, border planting and native plant species for parks and gardens. It is threatened in the wild in Florida because of habitat loss.

Coccothrinax Argentata (Florida Silver Palm, Silver Thatch Palm)

The Florida Silver Palm is but one of about 50 species of coccothrinax palms originating from the west Indian region. The species name argentata means silvery.

Its native habitat is pine rock lands and coastal hammocks; wild palms are threatened and rare in the wild in florida.

This palm is typically 8 feet or less in height, but it can reach 30 feet under ideal conditions. The slender trunk has its upper portion covered with webbed fibers. It has an open crown of large deeply divided fan-shaped leaves, up to 3 feet wide, with drooping segments.

Leaves are dark green above and silvery white below, presenting a striking appearance when they move in the wind.

Fragrant flowers are borne in white clusters, producing purple to black fruits about 3/8 inch in diameter, eaten by birds.

It can be grown from seed. This palm does well in poorer soils providing they are well-drained and prefers open sites

Leaves can be used to weave baskets. In landscapes, the palm is a handsome accent or specimen plant and can withstand coastal exposure to salt and wind.