Monthly Archives: March 2012

While we loved the idea of using logs to control the japanese knotweed, we agreed the feat was nearly impossible.  Jess and student teacher Dan suggested we check out the area behind Saul.  I think we’ve found our ideal location.  The area is a natural drainage basin at the bottom of a hill.  A spring is gurgling out of the hill adjacent to where the logs will be, and the ravine will carry rainwater down in periodic bursts.  This mixture of constant and variable moisture is what we need to keep the logs happy and fruitful.  With so much natural water available, we should need very little from the tap.  Didn’t think it could get any greener!  Once the beech and oaks leaf out, we will have close to 100% shade.

Pics coming soon.

We want to help HGC and Saul with the knotweed, so we’re currently brainstorming other strategies.  One thought is to start a compost heap.  This should boost temperatures above the 55 degrees celsius necessary to kill the roots.  More work for the students, but from what I’ve seen, they’re up for it!

We are also entertaining the idea of expanding the mushroom project to include a spawn generation component.  Spawn (mycelium colonizing in this case sawdust) of Stropharia Rugoso-annulata (King Stropharia) seriously boosts the yield of certain crops, so it would be a huge boon to local farms.  Since I usually don’t see this species come up til the warmer days of summer, I’ve ordered some spawn from fungi-perfecti (Paul Stamets’ website) which we will use to innoculate more spawn and start a patch of supercharged corn.

Stropharia Rugoso-annulata is a multitalented species.  Not only can it double crop production when present in soil, possibly more for corn.  It is a highly efficient consumer of bacteria and even nematodes, meaning it’s perfect for down-stream filtration of animal waste.  But wait, there’s more… bees are attracted to the sweet mycelium and are regularly seen feeding off of exposed spawn.  It’s a handsome mushroom, and tasty too.  Like a portabello, but better.  In all, it’s a farmer’s best friend.

Thanks for checking in


Last Monday I was joined by Jess’s (Miss Mac’s) sophomore AP class from Saul at the farm.  We spent a good chunk of the balmy afternoon clearing the land around our shade tree, which is overrun by the infamously tenacious invasive species, Japanese Knotweed.  This species is a true survivor.  We pulled up a heap of roots, but we can be sure it will be back because it can sprout from small root fragments, and there’s no way to get it all out of the ground.  We hope that once the logs are in place, they will keep a damper on the knotweed, but a few survivors are welcome because they will provide some localized shade to the fungus.  Also, the roots are loaded with resveratrol (the good stuff in red wine).  If you want some roots let me know!

The previous week I met with Marc Wilkens and Fred Hubbard at the Recycling center.  There was one giant oak log filled with chicken mushroom mycelium and one log that is teeming with leftover oyster mushroom fruitbodies from the winter.  Once the land is cleared, we can start bringing the logs to their new home!

Heard back from Marc today.  He spoke with Fred Hubbard, the Fairmount Recycling Center Manager, who pledged to help us get the logs that we need.

This is a big step.  We all know how tight the city budget is, so to be in a position to receive FREE resources and work from the city is very fortunate.  Now, we will be able to get some of the logs we need locally- some from HGC/Saul’s backyard, making the project that much more outrageously green.

If you aren’t familiar with the Fairmount Recycling Center, check it out.  It’s a great resource for compost, mulch, manure, as well as a drop-off point for your own organic waste (from your property, that is).  It’s tucked in the middle of Fairmount Park, the largest city park in the country.