Updated: Our Mushroom Garden is Born – Science–Earth Science-Mushroom Garden, Digging Ponds & Making Leaf Mold

We are so blessed to have invested in a mushroom crop that is sure to please! We received our order of 10 varieties of scrumptious mushrooms.

Nameko

Tiger Sawgill

Turkey Tail

Chicken of the Woods

“Iceman” Polypore

Brick Top

Black Poplar “Pioppino”

Brown Oyster

Brown Shimeji

Today we spent a few hours out on the land inoculating our first 4 logs with “Chicken of the Woods”(Laetiporus persicinus). Our logs are all about 4 feet long, and for each log we are drilling around 25 holes in a diamond pattern at a 6” spread all over the log, hammering in the inoculated dowels, and sealing the holes with wax.

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The boys helped us take our choice logs and put them up on smaller logs to get them up off the ground, in nice neat rows. This helps limit competitive wild fungus from taking over the log before our inoculated dowels have a chance to dominate the log. The boys were having a lot of fun helping to carry the smaller support logs from a nearby pile, Paul would lift the bigger logs so the Gage could push the small log underneath getting our selected logs off the ground. They made a great team, they helped us enthusiastically the whole time Tim and I worked on this project. They really liked teaming up on drilling and hammering. Tim would help Gage drill the holes, then Tim would use a hammer and pound the top of the drilled hole with a big allen-wrench to open up a little notch for the melted wax to seal it off, giving our desired mycelium a good chance to take the log from the inside and be able to inoculate the log for productive fruiting in 6 to 9 months. I love setting up these long term projects that we put a lot of effort into the beginning, only to let nature do Her thing and then with minimal effort thereafter in the form of watering and quarterly soaking and for our efforts are rewarded for years and years to come with 3 to 4 abundant fruitings per year. Knowing that we will learn a whole lot from this, and only get better at it and grow, gives me feelings of gratitude and pride in our choice to include these aspects into our dynamically diverse farm. It’s fun to see how much the boys enjoy this project with us, they were a great help, and adorable. I am looking forward to seeing them enjoy helping us more tomorrow.

We also plan to soon start the first step in our web-of-ponds that catch rain and irrigate our mushroom garden and hugelkultur gardens. With all this rain has come a great blessing as we have been watching where the water runs, and how it moves on the land, so we know where and how to enhance the natural potential of the land. Plus we have been talking about making a super absorbent soil amendment with all the fallen leaves called leaf mold, its much like peat moss. To make it is ridiculously easy, it just takes raking them into piles, or send them through a multcher and pile them up, and leave them sit for 2 to 3 years. It breaks down into a pleasant earthy smelling spongy material that you add to mineral rich compost and it helps keep the compost wet longer.

 

*Update* 2014-04-03

We left the logs laying on the smaller logs all summer and winter, and this spring we have begun digging holes about a foot deep and burying the log about a quarter of the way, to have it standing vertical (except the piopinno, these will be partially buried horizontally) to absorb water from the ground and begin fruiting. Here are some recent pictures of our progress. 19 down, 22 more to go from the 2013 inoculation. Then we just received our new order of dowels to inoculate more logs down by the wet weather creek. We’ll be getting started on those soon. We are going to add some fungus to our garden collection, more Brown Oyster (as seen above), Reishi, Shitake and Maitake.

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