Changes!

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

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