Finaly Met the Mushroom Man

Mulching with spent mushroom compost

There is a farm in Horam down Laundry Lane, it is on the corner of a tight bend and is of little interest to most. For years, possibly 20 or more I have come to this farm and I have never seen any sign of life. Each time we drive the car into the farm and back it up to the big mound of blue plastic sacks full of spent mushroom compost. We pile in as many bags as we can and then put some money through the letter box of a long shed, the letter box has a strong spring which nearly takes you hand off each year. The price for these blue bags, just 50p when I started going, now up to 90p. That is inflation for you over the many years, but it is still a good deal.

I once went to a chain garden centre and just casually asked if they had any bags of spent mushroom compost. The 16 year old sales assistant looked at…. and called for someone who was able to actually speak. A more mature woman came and told me that they didn’t have any and in actual fact why did I want it as it really didn’t do that much for a garden. In a way, she was probably right in a way as for “compost” value it is already mostly spent by the mushrooms that were grown in it. But as a waste product it is a cheap and makes a great mulch. Plus, it smells really earthy and nice.

Back to this year, the end of February to the beginning of March I normally apply a layer of spent mushroom compost as a mulch for the year. It seems strange and a bit silly as looking at the ground at the moment it could not be much more water logged – but it is all good stuff. We drove to the farm today, in the rain, and prepared to load the car up with the blue plastic bags full of the compost.

The big thing here this time was that, there was a person at the farm! For 20 years, if not slightly more, I have been to the farm and never seen another living being. As the friendly/wet bloke loaded my car up we talked. While I had not seen anyone on the farm for the last 20 years, he had been bagging up spent mushroom compost up for 30 years and had never seen a customer, just the tell tale signs of visitors with the money dropped onto the door mat, through the finger snapping letter box, on the shed. It was a bit like a reunion.

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