It’s Spring…Time to Plan Your Garden!

Stephanie Kelley

Emily Shapiro at the Women’s Day Fair at the Civic Centre

Emily Shapiro at the Women’s Day Fair at the Civic Centre

Falls Brook Centre had a booth set up at the Women’s Day event where Emily Shapiro was demonstrating a really nifty method to recycle old newspaper into totally biodegradable seedling pots to start your garden seeds in.
 
She was using a wine bottle with a “punt”, that big dimple that’s in the bottom of certain bottles. I immediately ran to get my sister Stacey from her booth at Rotten Grapes so she could see this technique for herself.
 

You start out with a sheet of newspaper cut into strips about 12 inches wide. Fold over one side about an inch or so, to reinforce the lip of your future pot, then roll the paper up in the bottle leaving a couple of inches of overhang at the bottom. When it’s rolled fairly firmly, tuck the overhang up into the punt, and voila!
 

You now have a seedling pot that you can plant directly into the soil when it’s time to move your baby plants outside. The newspaper will disintegrate into the soil, and earthworms love the stuff! Emily had a big bin of dirt on hand as well as packets of seeds, so that folks could make a pot for themselves and then fill it and plant it with the seeds of their choice. Stacey planted hers with a few basil seeds to get a jump on her herb garden.
 

Emily shows Stacey how to make your own biodegradable seedling pots from rolled up newspaper wrapped around a wine bottle

Emily shows Stacey how to make your own biodegradable seedling pots from rolled up newspaper wrapped around a wine bottle

I’ve always wanted to learn how to grow culinary mushrooms for myself, and now Falls Brook Centre is offering a workshop to teach people just how to do it, and it’s a lot easier than you might think!
 

Something new for your garden – Mushrooms!
Are you getting tired of the same old peas and carrots in the garden? Add a twist to your garden and your diet with the wonderful world of gourmet Shiitake mushrooms! They add great flavor to all kinds of dishes, they’re chock full of minerals and nutrients, and they’re easy to grow.
 

Interested? Falls Brook Centre is hosting our annual Grow-Your-Own Shiitake Mushroom Workshop on Saturday May 10th, from 10am until 4pm. Spend the morning learning about different types of edible mushrooms from oyster, to lion’s main, to reishi and shiitake with Mycologist David Boyle. Then put your new found knowledge to work by creating your own mushroom growing log in the afternoon.
 

Until recently shiitake mushrooms (pronounced shee-taw-kee) were hard to find in New Brunswick grocery stores, but are becoming more and more popular because of their high nutritional and immunity-boosting properties. It is no coincidence that in their homeland of Japan, the shiitake mushroom is known as the elixir of life. Shiitakes have extremely high levels of protein, potassium, niacin and B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, not to mention all essential amino acids. Shiitakes have natural antiviral properties and can be used to fight viruses, lower cholesterol, and regulate blood pressure. If there ever were a “magic” mushroom, this must be it.
 

After rolling the paper tuck the end up into the punt for the bottom

After rolling the paper tuck the end up into the punt for the bottom

At the Grow-Your-Own Shiitake Mushroom workshop in May, participants will “inoculate” hardwood logs with shiitake by drilling holes in the log and filling the holes with sawdust that houses the spawn. Shiitake means oak mushroom, but they grow well in maple, birch, ash and even those cankerous beech. Once full, holes are sealed with a mix of beeswax, paraffin and mineral oil. The logs are then set aside in a moist, shady area (think of where mushrooms grow naturally in the woods) for one year.
 

To learn more you’ll have to join us in West Glassville for the workshop. The cost to attend in $60 per adult and $10 for children 10 and under. The fee includes a delicious home-cooked dinner and an inoculated shiitake log to take home. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information please call Emily at 246-1114 or email emily@fallsbrookcentre.ca.
 

Stacey and I will be going to this event to learn more about growing our own edible mushrooms. You can also easily grow oyster mushrooms and lion’s mane mushrooms on inoculated logs as well, and these logs will produce mushrooms for years to come. In one case, Emily knew of a log that was still sprouting after 20 years, but normally they will last at least 5 years.
The Perth-Andover Community Garden will hold its next meeting on Tuesday evening, May 13th at 7 pm at the Perth-Andover Baptist Church. Everyone is welcome to attend. We plan to show the documentary “Food Inc.” which will really make you want to grow your own! (The next scheduled meeting will be June 10th at 7 pm)
 

Finished seedling pots ready to be filled and planted

Finished seedling pots ready to be filled and planted

The garden is located off Legion Street behind the bandstand. A shed will soon be available for tool storage and the village has made a water faucet available close by to irrigate the garden.
 

Keep Growing… It’s the best gift we can give to Mother Earth!

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