When you get your load of this local horse manure, spread it out into a pile that is no more than two feet deep. Now to inoculate it. Common store variety mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) are open field mushrooms that have evolved to grow on herbivore manure. Put some of them through a blender with enough water so that you have a thin soup and sprinkle this all over your horse manure pile. Water it in good. If you don't get rain for 3 or 4 days, water it in some more. Don't let the pile dry out. When the pile dries out, fungal activity ceases, and your chemical contaminants will just sit there -- until it rains again and the fungi can awake from their sporulated state.
After a couple of months of active fungal activity, your manure is good to go in the garden.
Skye Alexandra wrote: Yes, fungi are your friends.. but can you afford to test to see if your personal pile is clean?
If you don't have a lab to do testing, you can just wait until the pile sprouts mushrooms after a rain. Mushrooms popping up is a signal that the hyphae are running out of food to eat, so since what they consider food are what we call contaminants, they are telling us that the contaminants are gone.
Thea Olsen wrote:I wouldn't. There are herbicides used in pastures that are so persistent that even after being eaten and excreted by horses, and then composted for a year, can still kill your garden.
Thea - I know there have been some cases of this. Fortunately it is easy to test for. Simply stick some of the rotted compost in a pot with a few seeds and see if they grow.
There are not a lot of nutrients in it, but it does make a great soil conditioner.
I am adding daikon radish this year to see if it helps.
This is subsoil dug up digging basement then piled around house for "yard"
I feed sunflower seed to my horses so have sunflowers pop up all over
Might want to put in some sort of tank to off gas for several days. Kinda like when using tap water in a fish tank.
Also, the best place to store rain water in in the soil. I say bring on the manure, wood chips, and
What part of Colorado? I have several friends there with livestock who do very minimal chemicals
As for water catchment, some of the best is in soil, by increasing the organic matter. Hugelkultur is burying wood in soil and the wood becomes a sponge for water retention. You don't have to have a pond to keep the rain on your property.
Jp Learn wrote:Can anyone recommend a good fungi to innoculate with?
Local fungi are always a good choice; they have adapted to the local climate. If you keep your eyes on the ground after a heavy rain, just collect any that you see popping up. Inoculating piles of biomass to get it to break down is probably the least demanding task you can assign to a fungus. They ALL break down dead biomass.
That said, some fungi are specialized to work on horse and cow manure and are commonly observed to be "meadow" mushrooms. The genera Amanita, Agaricus, and Coprinus are all in this category, and can be used to inoculate piles of manure. I would shy away from deliberately propagating Amaitas though. They are so toxic that they are best avoided in all cases.
Jp Learn wrote:what about in relation to those of the edible variety...I have more straw around than woodchips at the moment...
If you want to have edibles, then inoculate your straw/woodchips/other biomass with your favorites from the grocery store. This is no different than saving the seeds from a nice winter squash to be able to plant the following summer. When you buy a package of mushrooms at the grocery store, that package contains millions, maybe even billions of viable spores. All you have to do is to put some of those spores on your prepared mulch pile and let them take hold.
(1) Although all mushroom cells are capable of starting a new colony, the spores are the ones designed to do so. These are contained on the gills on the underside of the cap. If you have an exotic Italian cepi mushroom it will be the spongy material on the underside of the cap. Save some of this spore bearing material and do what you want with the rest of the mushrooms.
(2) Make a nutrient solution for the spores to get started. Add a teaspoon of flour or gelatin or mashed potatoes to a quart of water and blend it up.
(3) Add in your spore material and blend it up again.
(4) You are now ready to pour this over your biomass that you want to become a mushroom bed. Water it in good and make sure it doesn't dry out. In a few months, your efforts may pay off. I say 'may', because fungi are not as observable as plants are. You can't see daily growth, new flowers, small fruits beginning to form, etc. It's just you wait and wait and wait some more, and then, all of a sudden after a heavy rain, a huge flush of mushrooms appears overnight.
The best grocery stores to buy mushrooms are the Asian ones. The Chinese cultivate a wider variety of mushrooms than we do and while you may only find one or two varieties at Krogers, the Asian grocery store down the road will have half a dozen or more.
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