mushroom, brier & oak

As anticipated, the recent heavy rains kickstarted fungi activity in the woods.  Lots and lots of different mushrooms. The one above is for me the most attractive.  Here is a grouping of various ages. And yet another pic. Brier I last cleared the area between the house and the road in October 2012 and worked hard to remove the bramble and brier.  Three years was too long to wait and again my oak saplings were submerged below pines, poplars and snared with brambles.  And Read more [...]

some winter tasks

charging the Takeuchi After some cold nights (12 below freezing) my Takeuchi bobcat refused to start.  Cold and tired battery.  The best way to charge the battery is to pull the cab forward on its hinges and then you have direct access to the battery.  It is heavy and best done with an assistant.  In the past I had an anchor point in front of the Take and winched the cab forward.  However, there was no anchor point for the Take this time just a 2,400 gal rainwater tank.  The last time I Read more [...]

mushroom shelter – improved irrigation

In a recent post I mentioned that mushroom production in my mushroom shelter has been poor due to inadequate watering.  The system I installed had a 0.5" diameter water pipe run from a nearby slightly higher rainwater collection tank to the ceiling of the mushroom shelter from which the water flowed via bubblers onto the spawn impregnated logs.  Water flow was weak and the bubblers often clogged. I rectified this by replacing the 0.5" diameter pipe with a 1" pipe and by eliminating the bubblers Read more [...]

the Bermuda grass campaign ctd.

In my 9/21 post I described various tactics I am using to eradicate Bermuda grass organically and how I covered an area with 6mm thick commercial grade black plastic.  Bermuda grass likes heat and rather than try solarize it with clear plastic (and this would only have possibly worked if I had tried this before the onset of summer), I thought completely depriving it of light might be more effective. Today, some 3 months later, I decided I needed some of the covered area to plant out my remaining Read more [...]

tasks for Fall

I am preparing for winter. cover crops - I cleared the tomatoes and weeds, added compost and sowed winter rye and crimson clover.  A few years ago I used hairy vetch, which worked well and next year I will order more since the local supplier, who originally sold me the seed, no longer carries it. firewood - during the year I cut a new 5 foot wide route through the woods and I steered the path to avoid the larger trees.  I had to uproot and remove smaller trees and I cut their trunks Read more [...]

earthworks – terraces, contour ditches and tree trunks

My permaculture readings have focused me on developing an edible forest garden and earthworks figure prominently in my designs.  Although I already have a number of different fruit trees in my orchard I decided to expand the selection and expect, by the end of November, to receive 2 goumi, 2 pawpaw, 3 kiwi (2 female, 1 male), and a medlar, aronia, sour cherry, and juneberry.  With these pending arrivals I have been at work preparing their planting sites on the side of the hill. The earthworks Read more [...]

growing oyster mushrooms

The oyster mushroom is one of the easiest to grow.  Available free on the internet is a +300 page handbook on oyster mushroom cultivation which has as its central premise that: "Mushroom cultivation has been evaluated as an effective means for poverty alleviation in developing countries due to its possibility of low cost production, high profit and quick return".  A handy insight into mushroom growing around the world. I purchased grain spawn grey dove oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) in February Read more [...]

the beginnings of spring

The next couple of days I shall be at the Georgia Organics annual conference held this year in Columbus GA, south of Atlanta. This shall be my 5th year of attendance - my first few years I learned a lot and with each year there is less new information but I enjoy meeting other growers and learning from them. I was torn between doing a permaculture design course or the conference and have not ruled out a PDC for the future. Shiitake mushrooms I picked about 15 mushrooms today.  Just as well Read more [...]

fungi – growing mushrooms

My woodland has so many naturally occurring mushrooms that I am again inspired to grow my own mushrooms. I say again because when I first purchased the woodland it had no access road and I had to cut down a number of trees including oak trees to gain access to the interior where my tractor building now stands. At the time, I cut the trunk of one of the oak trees into 3ft logs and drilled and inserted shiitake mushroom plug spawn and placed the logs in a valley on the north side of a rise where it Read more [...]


The recent heavy rains and at times warm weather have transformed the appearance of the woodland - the trunks of the trees have assumed a variegated green appearance. On closer examination these are lichen -  a symbiotic alliance between photosynthesizing green alga and fungi.   Other growths are more intricate. And there are the long reaching arms. And finally some regular mushroom growths at work decomposing the end of a tree trunk.         Read more [...]