Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi, I am new to gardening in the ground and so far all my efforts in pots either turned up diseased, dead, or overrun by pests.

My husband's helped to allocate a new plot in our backyard in a U-shape and we will be putting in mushroom compost tomorrow so that it can settle over the next week or so. We have put a weed mat under a layer of normal soil which will be below the mushroom compost. I am getting the compost from Western Landscaping Supplies.

I really would like this to go well so I would love advice on how to make that possible.

I've read about companion planting and rotation planting so I am deciding to try planting spinach, lettuce and zucchini surrounded with marigold, rosemary and lemon balm in the cracks of the bricks surrounding the plot. I have a few questions:

1) I had originally wanted to try with cauliflower but I wasn't sure if rotation planting is ok if they are all in the same plot and there's no separation but they are quite far from each other (separate ends of the U). Can that work too?

2) Also, I normally get seedlings from Bunnings but I was wondering if there were other places that I could potentially go to (not on Sunday though) to get good plants. 

3) Can I plant within a week of putting the compost in or do I have to wait two weeks?

4) What can I do to ensure that these guys will be healthy and safe from birds and possums plus all the insect pests?

Even recently, my Pentas plant was almost chewed into non existence by 10 large caterpillars and it's struggling to survive now. So I don't think I have a very green thumb to begin with.

I appreciate any advice given. Thank you very much.

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https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/fruit-and-vegetables/specialty-cr...

Arthropods

A variety of small fly and midge species are pests of mushrooms. The larvae feed on the fungal mycelium in the compost, but may also tunnel into the fruiting bodies.

A range of mite species may affect the mushroom crop. Some directly damage the fruiting bodies, some may attack the mycelium and some mites are predatory on other mites, fly eggs, nematodes or bacteria. Mite damage on the fruiting bodies often shows up as small cavities in the stem and cap similar in appearance to bacterial pit disease. Mycelium-eating mites can cause high yield losses. Mites are very small and easily transported on clothing and tools.

Springtails are commonly associated with compost and can damage the crop if present in high enough numbers. Slaters and millipedes may also cause damage to the fruiting bodies.

Nematodes

Nematodes will cause a loss in yield and brown, watery mushrooms and, in extreme cases, a soggy, smelly compost. Peat is a common source for nematodes and should be treated before use.

Diseases of mushrooms

Fungal diseases

Even though the mushroom itself is a fungus, it can in turn be affected by a range of fungal pathogens,

Oh I see ... thank you Jeff. Btw, the link above gives a 404 yet I found the info by searching on the site :-\.

Yvonne - I am currently reading a marvellous book which I would highly recommend to a beginner or advanced gardener by a local expert (Flaxton) JEFFREY HODGES called THE ORGANIC GARDEN. Brilliantly simple and easy to follow it has advise on preparation, design, choosing plants and heaps more.

You can buy copies from various places (google search) or borrow from BOGI or your local library. I have ordered a quality second hand copy from eBay for $20.

Thanks for that Lissa! I'll keep an eye out for it in the library :) 

Yvonne,

The earth worms that you want to see in your garden soil are not the same as the ones in a worm farm. The ones in worm farms are compost worms (very small or thin and suited to being kept in a container, away from the sun and they are fed with kitchen scraps or manure). They will not survive in a garden situation for any appreciable time.

Earth worms are big, fat garden worms which appear and survive in the garden when the garden is kept moist(ish) and has plenty of organic matter incorporated, which they will continually eat and transport throughout the garden bed. They often come if you've added any manure or good soil to the garden. They may even be around your garden already in leaf litter, etc. They will make their way to your garden bed once you have made the conditions in the bed to their liking.

I don't bother with keeping compost worms, as all of my vege scraps that I would need to feed to the worms go into my compost bin. I could feed them using horse manure, but I'd rather put this on the garden for the REAL earthworms to digest. (It's also called laziness). 

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