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Archive for March, 2011

Composting

Yesterday we transferred the espresso Oyster mushrooms to the compost.  The first step was to layer the compost with cardboard and newspaper.

Then we spread coffee grounds over this.  I have been collecting them from Dunkin Donuts.  On top of this we transferred the mycelium covered grounds we have been growing in the buckets on top of this.  The buckets did not seem to take too well.  I think this was because I mixed in vegetable matter and other compost into them, as well as I think there was not adequate drainage. 

Then we added another layer of cardboard and then hay on top of this.  Now we will continue to water and monitor and see what comes up.

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Shiitake Plugs

Today I decided to go out and and plug a few oak stumps in the back.  Using a 5/16″ drill I made holes in the stumps about 4″ apart 2″ deep  and then hammered the shiitake inpregnated dowels into the stumps.

I used a rubber hammer then in some cases used the drill bit to hammer them in a bit further.  It is recommened to use wax to seal the holes but I stuffed the drilled out shavings into the holes.   We will see how they take.

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My inspiration

My parents are such an inspiration to me.  Here is a picture of their house down in VA on the Chesapeake bay.  You can see on the left of the dock some of their floating oyster floats.  They have 15 acres allocated for oyster farming.  I am nuts about oysters and these are so big and delicious, they have a wonderful salty taste and I can eat them to my heart’s content whenever I visit.  1 oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day!  THey are so good for the environment.  My parents have been helping to seed the bay with them by taking breeder seedlings, growing them to maturity then putting them on reefs at the mouth of the bay to help populate and germinate the Chesapeake bay. 

Last year my father installed his own hot water solar system.  He has been helping out the neighbors install their own systems, as well as my sister Loren in NJ.  He is convinced that solar water heating is the way to go. 

After 3 years they have started to make their own wine. 

My parents have been such an inspiration to me with their amazing orchard and garden, bees and chickens, hunting and crabing.  It delights me to see them so happy and living so well.  To see my mother’s gourd business taking off and my father doing the things he loves and making a difference in this world.

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Germinating Spores

With the mushrooms I have been growingI want to try and germinate them myself.  So I am trying a number of different ways to do this.  One way is just taking the “roots” or bottom of the mushrooms I have been harvesting and planting them in coffee grounds or moist cardboard.  I have discovered that mycilium love newspaper and corregated cardboard.  I soak the cardboard in hot water and separate one layer to expose the corrigation then put the spores or stems on this and see if they take.  I have been placing them in lasagna trays with the plastic tops I get from Ocean State for $0.90 

The first thing you need to do to germinate spores is to collect them.  I used a mushroom field guide to figure out that oyster mushrooms have a cream colored spore print.  Thus I used a black piece of construction paper.  Cutting off a nice fresh pearl oyster mushroom I left it on the paper for 1 day and look at these results!  The spores were almost a 1/16″ thick on the paper.  With these spores me and Josh decided to use Paul Stamet’s nutified water – from Mycelium Running.  We used a 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar.  I used boiled water as I have found that my mushrooms die when I use water straight out of the tap.  I have recently been watering my mycellium with pond water – we’ll see how this works.  So we scraped off the spores with a razor blade and put it in a soda bottle.  It is looking pretty good, we have not trasfered it yet to a substrate but it is looking pretty cloudy in there today.

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OK this is kinda gross so you may want to skip this one…

So you want to make your own liquid fertilizer eh?  Well here’s an idea I took from mother earth news: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homemade-fertilizer-tea-recipes-zm0z11zkon.aspx 
First I went to visit the girls.  I had to fence in my chickens like fort knox to keep out all the critters.  I had an old dog kennel I converted for my coop.  Was a tough winter for the girls I only have 4 left… the numbers vary all the time but I love raising chickens…  anyway more on them later.  I took my trusty shovel and collected their poop and put it in a 5 gallon bucket  – 1/5 as it says in the recipe.  Filled this up with water for 3 days.  then dumped it out over some screening and cheese cloth collected the lovely smelling tea.  For good measure well I have been urinating in the buckets… ya that was pleasant!

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Mushroom Journal

I started keeping a journal in the basement where I started to grow my mushrooms with Josh…  Unfortunately, we became too excited to keep track of all the experiments and well it kind of fell to the wayside. 

I started on 2/6/11.  I got some mushromm kits from www.fungi.com .  If you want to know how to do all this stuff, well you need to get the book Mycellium Running by Paul Stamets.  I got my copy out of the Westfield Anteneum https://wmars.cwmars.org/ Ya I have been checking it out for 3 months now so back off!  You can always purchase it from fungi perfecti linked above.  I will have to bite the bullet and buy a copy myself. 

 Here is the current state of my mushroom farm/lab in my basement…  Ya my wife really does love me 🙂  I have a Shitake mushroom patch, a pearl oyster mushroom patch and a pearl oyster mushroom patch.  The buckets are filled with coffee grounds inoculated with espresso oyster spawn.  I will discuss a bit later what I am finding works and doesn’t work. 

First I want to go into why mushrooms?  well check out Paul Stamet’s talk on Ted.com and tell me what you think…

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html

BTW if you haven’t been to www.ted.com you are missing ou.

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Tartufe

Tartufe is a blog about growing mushrooms in my basement.  I have been so excited by this that I felt it was time to share what I learned with the world. 

I think my interest started with my heritige – first generation Italian.  My Nona would scour the woods to find mushrooms in the Alps near Milan and on the coast in Ravenna.  She was able to keep the family alive during WWII by feeding her family with wild mushrooms and herbs she found.  I was able to spend some time with her and it was amazing that she would make us stop the car to pick dandilion, poppies and mushrooms she spotted as we drove by. 

I live in Western MA – Westfield and found that my woods are full of wild mushrooms.  I have been educating myself on how to pick wild mushrooms – and I have to say I am a bit hesitant to eat any of them…  So I started growing them in my basement this year. 

This site’s intent is to show what I learned as well as share some stories on sustainability and other things I find of interest. 

Thank you for visiting – Gianca

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