I feel like I may have not articulated the question very well. I want to ask: when "they" say that there is (x ammount) of (nutrient y) in 100g of (vegetable z), how do they account for the differences between vegetables grown on one farm as opposed to another?
Reading Plowmans Folly and the author seemed to contradict himself by saying plowing is bad but also talking about how he disked a field the recompacted a few strips to reestablish capliary and transpalnt tomatoes into. I thought disking IS plowing so I did some Google research.
Let me make sure that I understand this correctly by using comparisons to tools I do understand. A molboard plow would be like using a spade to invert soil. A chisel plow would be like using a broadfork to loosen up the soil without inverting it. Disking would be like breaking up clods with a hoe. Do i understand these correctly?
Next question: at what point does it stop being "no til"? I read that chisel plows are used prior to planting in no til farms. Does that mean that no til draws the line at inverting soil and everything else is fair game?
Susan Doyon wrote:Do not put your goat on a rope unless you will stay with it to protect it . is is a sad thing to loose a goat to a coyote or dog, takes only a moment for a predetor to hamstring a goat or sheep . They rely on you to protect them, use livestock panels move them as the goat clears an area .
It is always nice to have an experienced permie help us to head off a problem before it occurs. thank you, Susan.
Rose Pinder wrote:What is crimping? Any idea what the weeds were? eg invasive perennial grasses with runners?
Glad you asked. Crimping is simply breaking the stem without severing it. Think about a plastic straw. It bends only so much until it crimps. For most annual plants, crimping their stems is enough to kill them. I highly recommend the link i provided for learning more details about this method. They did a really good job describing it and provided some pretty clear pictures. That is, in fact, the site where I learned to make a hand crimper (as opposed to the tractor mounted roller-crimpers that large farms use.
You hit the nail on the head with perenial running grass. That is the most prominent and troublesome weed we have. There are also clumping grasses and a wide range of things I either cant identify or cant name in English as they dont grow in English speaking countries as far as i know.
Thing is, to get the cover crop going, I'm going to have to clear out or weaken the weeds that are already established. Since Operation Goat On A Rope can't be implemented until we have a goat to put on said rope, I decided to try an experiment to see which of the following three methods would give the best weed control for the least effort: pulling them out with the field screw and rake, crimping then covering with 6 inches of leaves or crimping only.
As you can see from the picture, after a week the row that was only crimped is rife with grasses, sticking straight up like so many middle fingers. This is probably not going to be sufficient to give my cover crops the advantage they need to get established; moving on.
The second row, I painstakingly loosened the weeds with my trusty field screw, raked them up for pig food then sowed a mixture of: buckwheat, oats and sorghum to cover things up. None of the cover crop has germinated since I was banking on a typhoon that never came and consequentially didn't water. I expect germination after it finally rains. I'm in no rush. Ultimately, I feel like this approach took about as much time and energy as it took to transfer a 6 inch killer mulch to the next row though this method yielded three heaping wheelbarrows full of pig food.
On the third row, I broke out the hand crimper all over again and pinned down that grass like my name was GSP. I then covered everything with leaves. Some of the leaves in our compost pile are from aleopathic trees (not sure about the English name of this tree species) making this killer mulch extra deadly. True, I may feel pretty dumb when I transplant broccoli into this row and find that aleopathy swings both ways or I might find that brassicas aren't bothered by this particular aleopathic compound. Only experimentation will tell.
Lemongrass works great for repelling mosquitoes though it is hard to really estimate a range or an effective concentration to keep the little suckers away. I found that my legs get the most attention when I'm out in the field and since it is way too hot and humid to wear long pants, I've had to just grin and bear it, that is, until today.
Putting lemongrass in my pockets has been ineffective. Rubbing it on my skin has not shown any noticeable effect either. Sticking a clump in each boot, however, has done wonders.
Grass in the boot has been highly effective at keeping my calves bite free. To be fair, the mosquitoes might be deterred by the leaves waving around rather than the scent. At any rate, it keeps them away from my legs. I haven't gotten bit on my arms either though my upper body gets less attention with or without the lemon grass in my boot. In case you havent put 2-and-2 together yet, that handsome gentleman pulling a Captain Morgan in the picture is Yours Truly showing off the proper way to deploy lemon grass against the local pestilence.
This is my new go-to strategy. Perhaps it will be equally effective with other herbs in other climates where lemongrass doesn't grow. I encourage any and all anecdotes on natural mosquito repellent.
Since im not familiar with your soils, forgive me if this is a stupid question, but rather than digging a pit into the subsoil could you just expand the area Dug and skim only top soil? What happened the the top soil from underneath the bed?
One of the advantages that I am expecting from sinking it rather than scraping topsoil from around the bed is that a sunken bed should hold more water. Kinda like putting a swale underneath the bed itself. The other reason is that the subsequent beds are going to be formed closely together so more closely resemble the wide rows that everyone here is accustomed to so that the hugelbeets are more accepted. The space between these first two beds is just wide enough for a wheelbarrow to get through so there really isnt a very wide are to scarpe topsoil from anyways.
I'm interested in the answer to this question as well. Paul recomends 8ft high beds and if is is 2-3x wider, we're talking 16-24 ft.
A few thoughts: nothing wrong with borders. They dont have to shore up the entire bed, but perhaps 3 ft tall borders wold help with errosion, soil falling off the top, and just keeping everything at a convenient harvesting level. If you just cant sleep at night knowing you've sacrificed the extra growing space to put in a border, then perhaps you could grow something that doesn't mind being stepped on towards the bottom of the bed. I'm also thinking that keeping the bed heavily mulched will distribute your body weight more evenly and help prevent compaction of the soil when you walk on it. Some people use 2X4 boards over their no till beds to avoid compacting it with their feet and i see no reason you could not do the same. I have also once entertained the idea of wearing snow shoes to walk across super wide hugel beds without compacting the soil. To think, my neighbors ALREADY think im eccentric. If only they knew!
I once read some pretty solid advice to plant beneficial plants, that are not meant to be harvested, at the very top of the hugelbeet where they can't be easily reached. Beneficial insect attractors and nitrogen fixers are great candidates for this particular real estate. The stuff that will be harvested by hand can be planted a little closer to the edge.
Remember in my first post how I'd mentioned you all taking the opportunity to learn from my negative experiences rather than making then yourself? Well, in the past 2 weeks, I've been hit with a double whammy of hugelkulture"learning experiences". In short: be aware that buliding sunken huglebeets are going to involve topping the new bed with sub soil (unless you already have very deep topsoil) and that the dirt you dig up to top the hugelbeet with will leave behind a pit that, if filled with rain water, will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Hello Dengue Fever!
Believe it or not, this is the "soil" on top of the hugelbeet a week after I painstakingly slung it up there. None of the oat grass or cow peas I sowed have made an appearance but the quack grass is doing just fine; go figure. Sure, there is a smorgasbord of nutrients, organic matter and retained water underneath, but the dirt appears to be completely unaware. In fact, this layer of sun baked clay is harder than pre-calculus. What I have been doing since this photo was taken is putting on alternating layers of dirt and leaves. Hopefully the OM turns the subsoil into something that will behave a little bit more like topsoil.
See that knee deep pool of mud water? If you look close, you might see the mosquitoes making sweet love. I wound up bailing out the water like a sailor on a sinking ship, all the while swearing like said sailor as the mosquitoes had a field day with my juicy, tender calves. Only after 5 days, through a combination of bailing and evaporation, the hole dried up and I was finally able to get back to digging. Don't leave half dug pits at the end of the day. If it rains and fills up that pit, you are going to have to wait for it to dry up to go anywhere near it without getting eaten alive, much less do any actual digging. Dig it all the way so that even if it rains, you can fill up that pit with some wood and mulch to soak up the water and deny access to flying parasites.
Hugelkulture by hand is demanding enough as it is. You don't want mosquitoes feeding on you while you labor, nor do you want your new bed unusable to anything aside from creeping grass because you neglected to mix organic material in with your subsoil topping. An ounce of prevention, my fellow permies!
Note: this is copy-pasted from my blog (url in my signature). Some of the more colorful language and similes are edited out or replaced with something a little more family friendly.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau kola Tyler, indeed it is nearly impossible to get enough dirt into a fresh built growing mound.
Ones strategy in any permaculture endevor is going to need to be adjusted for a wide range of factors. In hugelkulture, I feel like one of the largest factors is going to be available material and tools. While I do not have a chansaw to cut logs into convenient sized peices for vertical arangement, I do have a virtually unlimited supply of leaves at my disposal. Any sections that start to look bare are going to get a few wheelbarrows full of leaf mold on top.
Dave Dahlsrud wrote:I think you're going to find you'll have lots of settling and really, really, really good rodent habitat with your style of bed. I made the mistake of not building one of my beds in layers(wood/dirt/wood...etc)like Bryant suggests doing (and Paul espouses as the proper method for hugel construction). That's what it looks like you have going on in the pictures on your blog. In my experience that sucker is going to be chocked full of mice, voles, etc. You might want to look into mitigation on that front now. I've imported lots of snakes (many showed up on their own)from around the property, and manually started breaking down some of the open areas and filling them after the fact. I have quite a few perennials in there after three seasons otherwise I would have torn the whole thing down and rebuilt it. During the normal growing season the rodents aren't to bad, but as things get cooler they really start taking a tole. Things like strawberries and even some of my gooseberries have been paying the price for my ignorance. If it were me I'd break those beds down now and rebuild them, before you get in too deep. Learn from my screw up....
Solid advice. Though I might substitute your snake idea for just encouraging my 4 dogs to play around the hugel beds more. They are pretty good at catching mice and they have already eradicated the indigenous population in my house.
I've finished one hugelbeet and have started on a second. Experience is the best teacher, but if you're like me, you prefer OTHER peoples experience. I'll share some of my eff ups with you so that you can avoid my mistakes.
What I did on the first one was I dug down a single shovel depth, tossed the soil onto the previous section, dropped enough wood to raise it about a foot higher than the surrounding field, then moved to the next section. Rinse and repeat. I realized after I was done that: more or less wood requires just as much soil to cover and therefore more wood is going to have a higher return on invested time and energy, one shovel depth of soil is not nearly enough, one needs to make a point to bury the sod rather than tossing it on top with the soil (upside down or otherwise), it is very necessary to put the largest pieces on the bottom and progressively smaller pieces on top and that some kind of border is necessary to maintain your desired height and width.
Armed with a laundry list of do's and not not's, I dove into building a second, but not even 1/10th of the way through, some "shoulda woulda couldas" have popped up already. First the vindications that I'm doing it right this time: I dug and threw three shovel depths of soil on top of the previous section which is piled up with wood until it is sticking up 3 feet above the surrounding field. The sod goes onto the previous section once the wood is half piled up and the biggest chunks of wood are at the very bottom and the twigs and leaves are on the top, avoiding the problem of big-'ol logs sticking out of the tope periscope-style. However, I'm unimpressed with the performance of my wattle border and heavy leaf mulch in between the beds. I regret the blood sweat and tears poured into the wattle fence which is not nearly strong enough, nor driven far enough into the ground to support the sheer mass of rotting wood pressing against it from within. Next time, I will drive in posts as I am building the hugelbeet so that they get buried as im flinging soil onto the previous section. I don't see any advantage to weaving wattle fencing except for on the very top few inches where the soil is piled. The leaves, though being 6 inches thick at application are already being breached by the quack grass. I wished I had put down cardboard first and then leaves.
The picture is the second hugelbeet in progress. As you can see, the soil on top of any given section comes from the next section, leaving behind a hole in the ground to deposit more wood. This hugelbeet is sunken 2-3 feet in the ground and raised 2-3 feet above the surrounding field, making a hugelbeet that is approximately 5 feet tall.
The second picture is the same concept illustrated by the master stick-figure artist, yours truly, Daniel. I know, I know, sometimes I even impress myself.
This is from a post on my blog. You can see the post in its original glory (and the missing pictures) if you care to go visit. URL is in my signature.
Dont overlook the potential to grow your own browns. I assume your compost is going towards growing some crops, right? Many of the things I grow leave behind lots of brown material aside from the part i harvest myself. Trees drop leaves, corn and sorghum leave husks, leaves and shafts, pumpkins and squash leave vines and leaves, eggplant, tomato, basil plants and many more are definitly on the "brown" side when they reach the end of thier productive life and go into the compost bin. The list goes on and on. You could make a point to intentionally grow more crops that will provide enough browns to balance out your greens.
Saying that mulching with organic materials mimics nature is half correct.
In nature, of course, a layer of organic materials builds up underneath trees but only in a minority of aleopathic trees does this layer eliminate everything else growing under the canopy and even these are usually selectivly aleopathic, allowing certain (theroetically mutually beneficial) plants to grow under the canopy. most trees do not drop a 6 inch thick layer of leaves that, while suppressing weeds, supports pests. In your position, I would more likely plant a cover crop than apply an organic mulch.
Something else that you may have overlooked, in nature, pest populations are largely controlled by predators. Some permies "introduce" predators by making a chicken pen around their orchard. Others forgoe the mulch entirely and pasture their sheep in the orchard. Or course, livestock comes with its own set of problems and chores and is unlikely to be very labor or time efficient unless you are already inclined to raise them.
Observing that organic mulching occurs in nature and coming to the conclusion that mulching therefore "mimics nature" would be the equiviant of observing that annuals thrive in areas that are dug up by critters and concluding that tillage mimics nature. It is one small part of the puzzle and without including the other factors, is going to present its own problems.
hope you can clear things up for me.
I have been reading about soils and fertilizing, have asked my PDC teacher, but still I am left wondering about this topic.
If I want to grow peas and beans which do need poorer soils what's the use of mulching, irrigating with compost tea and so on, all to improve my soil and fertilize it if they won't grow there? This question the other way round: If I improve my soils as everywhere discriped in permaculture books doesn't this mean that I will eventially develop soils that I won't be able to grow beans and peas in?
The question is about the concept of over-fertilized soils that I don't get. In my understanding every plant root looks for food and takes in nutriens as much as it wants. It's not that the plants are force-fed, right? So why wouln't beans and peas (and other plants of course that like poorer soils) grow in my good soils? Is it like a villager comes into a major city and doesn't feel comfortable even though he is not forced to interact with everybody? How do you guys then grow such plants, do you leave some areas of your garden bed "poor"?
Thanks for helping me understand soils better =)
Regards from the Netherlands,
When it is said that legumes (beans and peas) prefer poor soil the meaning is probably more "low nutrient" (nitrogen specifically) soil than "poor soil". there are more factors that determine what makes a "fertile" or "poor soil", not just nutrient content, so i think the literature you are reading is using too broad a term.
When beans are grown in high nitrogen soil, they produce more leaves and fewer beans. They will grow just fine, but they wont produce what you want. Growing beans in a plot that previously grew nitrogen hungry plants is solid advice as is growing them in a poly culture with nitrogen hungry plants. You are unlikely to have any problems with excess nitrogen so long as you are not fertilizing immediatly before or while your beans are growing.
As for beans "growing better" in poor soil, i have some armchair theory about that one. Plants all have a niche. Plants that "prefer rich, well drained soil" specialize in bursting from the ground and quickly shading out competition. Plants that prefer "poor soil" dont need to grow so quickly because poor soil has less competition. By growing where other plants do not, they do not need to evolve traits that make them good competitors. So, while legumes evolved to grow in nutrient poor soil where they wouldnt face competition, then will probably grow just fine in "good soil" (assuming there is no excess of nitrogen) so long as you, the gardener, are eliminating the competition for them with mulch, cultivation and weeding.
To make a long response short: dont worry about it. You are not going to make your land so rich and fertile that you wont be able to grow beans there.
ronie dee wrote:Leaves make great toilet paper substitute.
Just as I was about to transplant all my little mullein seedlings to form a 'garden' around our composting loo, I read this ....
"Mullein tea is made from the leaves of a 1st-year plant and is considered a good cough suppressant. A similar tea can be made from the root after cleaning, peeling, and dicing. Although the leaves feel soft and fuzzy they do not make good "wild" toilet paper as the small hairs can get stuck in your skin which is very uncomfortable."
So, user beware! I've changed my plans!
I recall Paul Wheaton specifically advising that one goes "with the grain" when wiping with mullein leaves. That way the hairs dont get embedded in your *sensitive places". Sounds like solid advice to me.
In Taiwan (where gardening tradition is presumably form China), they put everything in big barrels of water where is composts anerobically then use the resulting "tea" as fertilizer. I have never seen what they do with the resulting sludge but I imagine they dump it in an inconspicuous corner of the garden. They don't compost to add OM, just the nutrients.
What you're suggesting sounds very much like the BRF tek for growing "magic mushrooms".
I highly suspect that yes, give the right temp, lighting and air flow, that BRF cake would fruit oyster mushrooms however, not enough to make it worth your effort. The yield of magic mushrooms people get from this trek are measured in ounces. Great if your growing shrooms which you only need a few ounces but not so great for gourmet mushrooms which you need quite a bit more to make much of a meal of.
The limiting factor here is water rather than nutrients. That BRF cake is highly nutritious but too small to hold very much water. A 5-gallon bucket of straw on the other hand can hold much more water.
In theory, yes. You can fruit oysters from this substrate. In practice, it would be a lot of effort for a small reward.
From what I understand, coconut coir is not used as substrate but often used as casing. That being said, it has excellent water retention capability and if included in a more nutritious substrate, it could benefit the substrate by retaining water for mycellium and fruiting bodies to use. The type of mushrooms this would work for probably depends more on what else you add to the substrate rather than the coir itself. Coco coir has almost zero nutrition and it is all tied up since coco coir breaks down so slowly (as I believe I understand it).
You are likely to run ino trouble using secondhand substrate. Because it is old and because it has been in contact with compost, there is likely to be a very high resident contaminant population. Rendering this substrate would likely require extra sterilization time.
I highly doubt that residual plant nutrition would be a significant problem,
John Saltveit wrote:Mycelium growth doesn't require a lot of oxygen. Fruiting requires more oxygen. If you have holes or x's, the pinned mycelium will send a mushroom toward that. Usually, a drop in temperature is required for pinning. This is also when it has run out of substrate, so it fruits, so the spores can go somewhere else and find a rich vein of substrate to decompose.
So do you feel that since cutting X's in the bag is enough for primordia to form that birthing is necessary? Does exposing the entire substrate provide any advantages?
I understand the practice of cutting the bag off of the fully colonized substrate and the goal of exposing it to more oxygen in order to trigger fruiting. What I don't understand is why it is not always necessary.
In one of Stamets books, he describes the practice of column culture where the plastic collums, once filled with pasteurized straw, have x shaped holes cut into them every 4 inches so that the fruiting bodies have a place to emerge from. Since there is no "birthing" it seems to me that there is no change in O2 levels as part of the initiation strategy in this case.
I vaguely remember that the instructions for some mushroom kits also tell you to cut x-shaped holes anywhere you see primordia forming. Clearly there is no birthing or shift in air exchange to trigger fruiting in this case either.
So can someone explain to me what advantage is derived from "birthing" colonized substrate and how necessary it is?
I can't find any info on google as to what kind of mushrooms will grow on bamboo shafts (not chips or sawdust) so I'm assuming nobody does this?
I'm sure reishi will grow on bamboo since I have found it growing wildly on decaying bamboo rhizomes, but reishi is a secondary decomposer (right?)
Spliting bamboo open, putting a spoonful of spawn between each joint and zip tying it back together would be much less labor intensive than traditional log culture (and the material is much more available in Taiwan) but I can't find anyone else doing this.
I'm all for learning from experience, but i would rather use someone else's experience than start from square one myself. Anyone have any insight into using bamboo shafts for "log culture"?
I thought just as i was reading this that since there would be no drilling and filling (just splitting and knitting) this might be a great way to employ exhausted substrate, filling the hollow reeds with whats left over or even filling them up with exhausted bamboo shafts from the previous batch.
My "house" is an uninsulated, aluminum sided garage with a room built in the corner. Lots of space but not a lot of climate contoll. I fantasise about buikding a greenhouse inside so that I can controll moisture and growing mushrooms. While I could contol moisture this way, I cant regulate tempature. I know that dropping the tempature is part of what triggers pinning but there are other factors (light) and methods (dunking) to acheive pinning.
Id like to be able to trigger fruiting on off seasons so that I.can get premium market price. Without an insulated grow room, is this going to be practical?
I get chunks of mycelium and even some mycellium dust but never pins. When I take it out if the incubator, it dies back. When I leave it in the incubator it dies back then grows orange mold. Any advice?
This is the first time I have tried it with individual bags. I was previously using laundry baskets inside large garbage bags.
Can someone give me a first impression on what they think these might be? Normally, I would check my field guide or Myco keys then when i think i know what I have, I do some reserach and make sure my specimnes exhibit all the correct traits and which traits their poisonous look alikes exhibit. This time, however, I cant find any hints in my field guide or Myco keys.
Both of these were found on horse dung.
The first has free or adnexd gills (it is difficult to tell since the stem is so thin) and a spore print that is the same color as the gills. The stem is hollow. Everything ele you can tell from the picture.
The second has a black spore print and adnexed gills. It shows all of the traits of a certain phycoactive mushroom (the name escapes me right now) except the stem does not have spinning fibers running up the stem and it doesnt bruise blue.
What are your first impressions? Give me something to start on so I can research these and see what I have. Pretty please?
My basket of oyster mushrooms has what looks like a really bad case of dandruff. I have never heard of this happening though this is my first successful inoculation of mass substrate. I assume it can't be spores since there are no fruiting bodies yet, right? What am i to make of this dust? Is it a bunch of particles of mycelium?
I have a fish tank with a submersed heater to keep the humidity high, the light out.and the tempature at 26. The weather, however is 20 during the day. If i moved the basket outside with a clear bag over the top.and.misted 3x per day and the tempature (maybe) drops below 15, is the basket likely to pin? Is therea anrother way to initiate pinning?
Aiyo! Didn't realize that i hadn't uploaded pictures!
You guys are good! My local field guide came in yesterday and convinced me that it is a field mushroom (agarics campestris). So you were right about it being an agaricus and right on about asking if the texture was "portable-ish". agarics campestris, according to Wikipedia, is closely related to cultivated portabella. What really made me beyond the shadow of a doubt sure is that the book said the gills start out pink then get darker until at maturity they are brown like the spores. Wow. Like the mushroom i picked was following instructions. It did just that! (although it got brown after picking rather than maturity, but that explains why it was so hard for me to decide what color the gills were).
Thanks for taking a shot in the dark like that. Impressive too! You nailed it without even looking at the pictures!
Myco Key has failed me... Perhaps because i'm in Taiwan and not the PNW?
Discovered in field, in soil
Cap semi globose, 50cm, raidally firbrose?, white, bruising brown, dry
Stipe 10cm wide, 60cm tall, same color and bruising as cap, no ring, evidence of partial veil
Gills pink/brown?, free, crowded, brown spore (identical to gills)
I'm not too sure about whether or not it qualifies as fibrous but I can sorta make out a radial texture.
The gills seemed pink when I first picked it but brown after the spore print. Not sure if it is my perception or if the gills changed colors. The spores are the same light brown as the gills are after making the spore print.
I am pretty consistently failing with cardboard spawn. I've been trying to clone king oyster and straw paddy by chopping up the stems and making cardboard burritos, but the cardboard gets slimy after a few days and within 2 weeks has green mold. Anybody have some troubleshooting advice?
To anybody following this post, there has been an update on the project before it's even started. I am having difficulty finding a site that will sell and ship spawn to Taiwan. However, I have king oyster incubating right now and if successful, I will use the exhausted substrate to inoculate the grass stalks for the experiment.
I also came across a refrigerator that my father in law left in the garage. I don't know what he plans to do with it, but I am using it as an incubator. The grass stalks, when i get around to the experiment will be incubated in there instead of outdoors.
R Scott wrote:Only potential flaw I see is the size of the pieces and the fact they are still tubes. Do you have an easy way to crush them or cut them smaller?
I went back and looked at them again and realized that the pieces aren't really 1-2 inches wide. Maybe closer to 1/4-1/2 inch if that.
And no, there is no practical way to crush them. I suppose I could crush each individual stalk with a hammer before chopping but that would be pretty impractical. If that kind of labor input is necessary to make these pieces useable, then I feel like I might be better off using sugar cane bagass.
I want to test wild grass as a bulk substrate for oyster mushrooms. I am inexperienced in mycoculture so can you guys weigh in so that I can give this experiment justice?
This is nearly effortless and requires zero time for me to collect since it grows next to the river where I bring my dogs to play every day. I can bundle, cut down and carry it back all while the dogs do dog things. Two birds one stone, thus the "zero time" claim.
When I say "grass" many of you are probably thinking 10:1 carbon:nitrogen ratio. The grass im describing is more similar to bamboo than lawn clippings. It grows perhaps 8 feet tall with 1-2 inch diameter stems. Actually, I have considered using them to make arrow shafts if that gives you folks an idea of what im talking about. It's not practical for me to take a picture at the moment.
I assume that the stalks are going to be high c:n similar to straw or corn stalks. It seems impractical to remove all of the leafy portion but I would chop off the top 1/4 of the bundles to get rid of the majority of the leaves.
I'm thinking I will order some grain substrate so that I can really do this experiment justice rather than try to use any of my home-made spawn (and then the question arrises, was it the bulk substrate or the spawns problem). If succesful i might think of some more low-labor/expense methdos such as spore-mass innoculation.
Chop everything into 4-6 inch pieces, soak overnight in lime solution, drain and innoculate with grain spawn (10% ratio?) outdoors. Cover with a tarp and let it do its thing for 2 weeks (weigh the tarp down to further discourage evaportaion?). Being that the stalks are so coarse, I don't think there is a high risk of things going anerobic if I weigh down the tarp.
This is the part where I need you more experienced mycologists to weigh in and tell me if my proposed methodology has any flaws. If succesful, this substrate is VERY available to me. Even more so than the "free" sugar cane bagass that, althogh doesn't cost money, DOES cost me time, labor and gas to obtain (the time being the most limited of the three).