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companion planting in Urban Fungi Bed... Mycokulture?  RSS feed

 
Corey Vaughan
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Location: Seattle, WA
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paul stamets has mentioned in interviews and books about the growth benefits of "companion planting" with mushrooms.

It was this idea combined with the hugelkultur idea that led to me to throw a few different seeds into my year-old mushroom bed (innoculated with a local species cloned from a nearby park).

The most amazing thing to me is that despite the very low levels of light this bed receives (about 2 hours during peak season) the plants that sprouted did very well, and resisted pests and disease much better than their counterparts planted in other beds.

I thought I'd share some of the pictures as I was organizing for my digital journal. This is very interesting to me and something I plan to try out on a larger scale next year...
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The mushroom bed after things began to grow. This is the most sun it gets all day.
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Plants are VERY healthy, considering low direct light they receive.
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Daikon from the MycoKultur on the left, regular garden bed on the right
 
Corey Vaughan
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Other benefits:

I watered only once during our long and dry summer (PNW). It was a light water from a watering can, since I don't have a water faucet outside.

The squash and vetch were not planted by me, those showed up on their own.

I did plant the large grasses, to help create a better micro climate for the mycelium.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Perfect example of Mycorrhizal fungi interaction with plants.
 
Rick Hatch
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Location: Penticton, BC. USDA Zone 6b, 300 mm annual precipitation
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Very cool...what strain of fungi is in the bed? Have you harvested mushrooms from it this year yet?
 
John Saltveit
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Nice post Corey. It makes sense that the mycelium would make the soil more well-draining and yet retentive of some moisture. I haven't "planted" mycelium in my hugulkultur yet, but I may,especially using spent substrate to see what happens. Stamets talks about trials involving white elm oyster (Hypsizygus Ulmarius) and cruciferous vegetables showing a symbiotic relationship. I have heard others talk about possible symbiosis with grapes and nameko, but I haven't heard any follow ups on that.
John S
PDX OR
 
Corey Vaughan
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Rick Hatch wrote:Very cool...what strain of fungi is in the bed? Have you harvested mushrooms from it this year yet?


Thanks Rick,

the answer may be a bit complicated - I have harvested three types of mushrooms from that bed, but only one of which I introduced purposefully. Morchella elata were present when I moved in, to my pleasant surprise. I then added the wood chips and cloned out a colony of a local blue-bruising woodlover, but also may have accidentally introduced some Pearl Oyster from fungi perfecti from a different bed. Though in the second picture you can see the morning's gift of Coprinus lagopus, which storms my tiny yard by the hundreds each day.


 
Corey Vaughan
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John Saltveit wrote:Nice post Corey. It makes sense that the mycelium would make the soil more well-draining and yet retentive of some moisture. I haven't "planted" mycelium in my hugulkultur yet, but I may,especially using spent substrate to see what happens. Stamets talks about trials involving white elm oyster (Hypsizygus Ulmarius) and cruciferous vegetables showing a symbiotic relationship. I have heard others talk about possible symbiosis with grapes and nameko, but I haven't heard any follow ups on that.
John S
PDX OR


Thanks for that info John! I can't seem to find my copy of Mycelium Running but I seem to remember the elm oyster mentioned for that use. I also recall seeing a video of a giant onion Paul grew, which is what started this little experiment. It makes me wonder how much the "Back to Eden" method owes to mycelium. I'd like to see how kale or broccoli perform next year.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Corey, we have broccoli and brussles growing in mycelium rich straw bales right now, they are two weeks old and 10" tall already, the control group (soil growing bed) is only 4" tall.

The mycelium in the straw bales came from our air and the bales so it is wild and I haven't the time to identify (or try to identify) the strains so far.
 
Corey Vaughan
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That's fascinating Bryant, and it's all the motivation I need to dedicate that bed to veggies next year. I'm still a little nervous about the amount of sun the patch receives.

The next big experiment will be to replicate the "Dogwood Experiment," using two mushroom patches in different environments (Full sun vs. Part Shade) connected by mycelium, which is supposed to act as a type of nutrient transport.
 
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