Dahlias, Old Spading Fork with a Twist and a Mushroom

Three years ago I bought a bag of dahlia bulbs at a chain department store.  They grew very large and bright flowers all summer long.  Here in New England the winters are too cold for the bulbs to be left in the garden so they have to be dug up and stored for the next season.  I thought my cellar was too damp and warm for a successful winter storage so I did something else.  Beside my garage foundation I dug a hole in the soft back-fill about 18 inches deep, buried the bulbs and covered the dirt with a small pile of fall leaves.  When I dug them up in the spring most of them were fine.  I still bury them beside the garage foundation but I put them in a 5-gallon pail with the wire handle standing straight up, so the top of the handle is just above the top of the dirt.  This is a much easier way to find the bulbs in the spring and to retrieve them without damaging them with your shovel.  I dug them up this weekend, split the large ones into two bulbs and planted them.

5-gallon pail with dahlia bulbs  5/12/13

5-gallon pail with dahlia bulbs 5/12/13

dahlia bulbs 5/12/13

dahlia bulbs 5/12/13

My original spading fork after digging in New England soil, ROCKY soil, for many years and bending one tine back too many times, broke.  A three tined fork just didn’t work as well.  I didn’t throw it out, it might be useful somehow, someday.  Well 2 years ago when my back was screaming at me for too much digging and spading in the garden I thought about one of those T-handled digging tools that turned your garden by twisting the T-handle.  Being a “frugal yankee”  I took my old spading fork, put a broom handle through the fork handle and gave it a try.  It worked rather well, had to be wired into place but it worked.  Well, it did until the fork handle twisted off of the fork.  No problem, I bolted a heavier T-handle to the old wooden fork.  This worked all through last year and a little of this season.     Then the old wooden fork handle split with all of the twisting.  I needed something stronger.  An old piece of 3/4 pipe, some bending and a new T-handle and we are good to go.  This reused spading fork works great.  It has long tines so it loosens the soil to a nice depth and is very easy on my back.

old spading fork with a twist

old spading fork with a twist

Now the mushroom.  Three or four years ago I bought 3 types of mushroom plug spawn from Fungi Perfecti;  Maitake, Shiitake and Pearl Oyster.  The Shiitake and Pearl Oyster produced mushrooms for a couple of years and then slowed to a stop.  Or so I thought.  I found this Shiitake growing on one of my larger logs this weekend.  It’s going on the grill this week .

Shiitake mushroom 5/12/13

Shiitake mushroom 5/12/13

Shiitake mushroom, gill side 5/12/13

Shiitake mushroom, gill side 5/12/13

I grilled this shiitake mushroom for supper tonight.  Marinated it briefly in vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Ten minutes gill side down , flipped and added slices of mozzarella cheese. Removed from grill when cheese started to melt, cut in half and made 2 sandwiches. A very nice evening supper.



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