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What to do with Piles of rotting wood

 
gardener
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Great question!

To start, I would try to drag off or separate as much as possible the rot from the OKish wood.  One of the beautiful things about Wine Caps is that they are so aggressive that they out compete just about any other mushroom out there.  In fact, normally when inoculating logs with other mushrooms it is necessary to first sterilize the wood by boiling it.  This is simply not necessary for Wine Caps.

Actually my main concern is that there might already be substantial wood already digested and therefore not available for the Wine Caps to eat which is why I would focus on the least decayed parts of the wood available.  Also, by layering in straw, that straw should colonize fairly quickly.  I like to think of straw as being like mushroom kindling.  It starts quickly and easily, really gets going fast, shows impressive results and then it’s all done and hopefully the fungal fire has spread.

Was this helpful?

Eric
 
pollinator
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Yes this was helpful, thanks Eric. I think I may try some wine cap inoculated mulch in my gardens. I have just plugged a bunch of logs with shitake and oyster mushrooms this spring. I think I will use leftover branches and log chunks for some wine caps
 
Eric Hanson
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Sounds good Justin.

But a word of suggestion, don’t mix the oyster and Wine Caps.  They will simply beat each other to death.  In fact, if you already got oyster mushrooms to work, you might consider just mixing that with the Shiitake leftovers.  To be honest, I am kinda itching to try some Oyster mushrooms, but I am wanting to do this for the compost.  All three of my beds are already Wine Cap beds and I would probably have to wait something like 3 years for the Wine Caps to really exhaust themselves before introducing Oysters and I am not that patient.  But as I understand, Oysters will break down wood better than Wine Caps so if you have the Oysters already, might just want to stick with them.

But if you want to keep the mushroom species separate, really breaking down the shiitake logs with Wine Caps could work well.  Another pointer:  Wine Caps like to grow in association with the soil.  They are typically found on forest floors and not up high on trunks or in branches aloft.  That’s why I try to maintain as much ground contact as possible.

Actually, last year I piled up my chips so high (almost 2’) that my Wine Caps did not flourish as in the past.

I hope this is not overload!

Eric
 
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I have a pile just like this here too.  The problem with the pile here is there is so much rotting wood and nails that I have zero desire to go through it any more than to ensure there is no PT lumber in the pile.  There comes a point when trying to salvage stuff (to me) is just a waste of time.  Being realistic about what you will and will not do in terms of projects is a line we should all learn to draw so our properties don't get filled with piles of shit that we will "do something with someday" but really someday never comes and then its a nuisance because its still there and not dealt with.  Since we know there is no PT lumber in it, we just plan to burn it.

I don't like to waste things but there also comes a point where I have to put my foot down in terms of my sanity and my time.  I do salvage a lot of by-products from various sources around the farmstead but sorting through piles of rotten wood and old pallets filled with bent rusty nails is just a headache and my time could be better spent doing more valuable things here.  We have more than enough firewood as we process our own and for others as a side gig.   The dry wood shavings are saved for the floor of my chicken coop, the bits of bark, chips, and scraps that come off of processing get utilized all over the farm for compost/paths/critter homes/mounds etc.  So most suggestions for uses on here are things we are already using our wood scraps from processing firewood for.    But everyone is different and everyone has a different situation.  This is simply what I would do based on my situation.
 
pollinator
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Lizz Potter wrote:I don't like to waste things but there also comes a point where I have to put my foot down in terms of my sanity and my time.  I do salvage a lot of by-products from various sources around the farmstead but sorting through piles of rotten wood and old pallets filled with bent rusty nails is just a headache and my time could be better spent doing more valuable things here.



Very true. I think this was more of a thought exercise than anything else.

Burning is not necessarily a waste. Even when you burn your nail-infested junk pile (I have one too), you can choose how you burn it, creating more char than ash. Dump the result in a hole, and you've turned the junk pile into sequestered carbon.  
 
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I have three big piles of pine limbs that are twenty feet wide & fifty feet long, from the lumber harvest.
The man said he would come back & chip it up, but he did not. Can not use it as mushrooms until it is totally rotten.
I am thinking of using it as compost or mulch around trees to hold water & suppress weeds.
 
gardener
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I'm wondering what you decided to do?
I would do a hügelkultur.  If your not keen on having them invade your yard you could do it a few feet from the fence line enhancing your privacy.  I wouldn't use the pallet wood, but all other wood is fine for a hügelkultur.  Even the very poisonous oleander is safe to use. (composting is pretty much the only safe way to get rid of oleander)
If your still not sold on hügelkultur, If you want a garden you could go for a hugel beet.  I do what I consider a hugel beet two different ways. One is the traditional raised be with a twist.  I have raised beds that are 2' and 3' high.  I load the bottom layer with the largest wood I have that will fit in the space.  Then I fill all the crack and spaces with native soil. Then I do a layer of smaller wood, branches, etc. fill gaps with soil. Stuff yet to be composted ( kitchen scraps, tomato stalks, leaves, what ever I have that will brake down) Then wood chips, soil.  The last 1/3 or at least 12" I use compost  and organic soil.
The other raised beds I have I dig 2' into the ground where I want my raised bed to be.  I line the hole with one or two high cement blocks.  I do the layers the same as above.  Besides putting your largest wood on the bottom and using soil, compost, or something to full the gaps, the layers don't matter.  Basically use what you have.  I live in a super dry area, so the biggest benefit for me has been water retention.  It's also allowed me  to build more garden beds with out spending hundreds of dollars on soil to fill the beds.  In your case getting rid of a huge pile of wood in and earth friendly way.  I'm totally sold on this type of garden bed.  Hands down the best, most amazing garden I have ever had. lush veggies that produced like crazy. (The gopher thought so too.  If you decide to go this rout and have gophers, or moles in your area, spent the extra time and money to line the hole, or bottom of the raised bed with hard wire cloth.  Doing it after the fact is no fun.)
I also like to add wood and compostable stuff to holes I'm going to plant trees in.
Good luck to you. what seems like a big messy pile, and no matter what you decide to do will be a lot of back braking work, could also be a blessing in disguise.
 
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