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Nancy Dobrinski

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since Apr 02, 2012
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Recent posts by Nancy Dobrinski

Thanks for the tip. I raked the edges of the old bed to tidy things up and did smell a pungent mushroom odor (YUM!) So I think I'll just take your advice and pile more damp straw on top and see what happens. No sense paying for more spawn if it's already colonized there. GREAT suggestion you made to lift some of the bed to other locations around the yard/woods. I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks for the quick reply.
7 years ago
Tanniim, in your opinion what is the best "how to" source, book or website for learning more about it?
7 years ago
Last summer I bought Winecap mushroom spawn from Field & Forest in Peshtigo, WI, and mixed it with a bale of straw that I had dampened and strewn to a bed size of about 5X6 feet. Didn't chop or pasteurize the straw. It was so easy, it was ridiculous. I did this after frost danger had passed here in northern Wisconsin. Covered the bed with clear plastic for a few weeks, then uncovered for remainder of summer. Got LOADS of mushrooms all summer long. They were growing in filtered partial sunlight and I just made a point to keep the straw damp. The Winecaps are so mild, they almost taste like butter to me. Not the most flavorful compared to shiitake, but very good production for a very small effort. My favorite was just to slice them in half lengthwise (the stems are edible too!) and sautee them in a bit of butter and garlic, maybe some onions, and pile on top of a grass fed beef burger. MMMMMMM!

This spring the bed looks flattened to about an inch -- I'm wondering if they'll return or if the frost kills the spawn. Should I add more straw on top? Buy more spawn and straw and start over? Ideas anyone?
7 years ago
My favorite use for DE is adding it to my chicken's feed (just a little dusting from a sifter into an ice cream pail of feed, and swish it around). I've read it prevents intestinal worms and have never seen any worms in their poo (I use no other treatments) so I think it works. But even better than that, the DE passes through into their poo and flies will NOT land on it. I have absolutely NO FLIES in/around my coop and run, with 10 chickens in an 8' X 16' run. I similarly dust the litter in their coop and it seems to keep things very dry in there, even through the long winter of confinement. I dust a little into their nest boxes to discourage mites. Yes, it is dusty in there, but I have had chickens for 5 years and have never had one develop any respiratory problems. I am careful to wear a damp bandana around my face when I shovel it out in the spring. I do compost the litter so I suppose it is finding its way into my compost, but since it is in the SOIL and not on the blossoms, I don't worry about harming beneficials. I have read that it has no effect on earthworms, and in such small proportions, I can't imagine I will ever get enough of it into my garden soil to create a problem.
7 years ago
Kris, where are you located? I'm in north central Wis. too! (Minocqua area) Would be fun to get together with a fellow chicken keeper and gardener to trade advice! I have had such a hard time composting my litter/poo. The piles would NOT heat up. I do not have enough grass clippings and was afraid of getting them elsewhere as most folks use "weed & feed" or other similar products on their lawns. Well, this winter my hens flung a bunch of their expensive organic mash out of their feeders into the litter. I was SO MAD! I modified the feeders to stop the waste, but when I shoveled out the coop this spring I could feel the extra weight of feed in the litter. I fumed for days until . . . magically, the pile heated up like I had TORCHED it and it's been smoking hot for about 2 weeks now, composting so quickly I can't believe it. My brother-in-law (soil scientist) says the grain accelerated the composting process. He said even a bag of flour or other stale grain would work. Not that I'm recommending wasting grain or people food, but if you could get your hands on something similar (maybe something stale from the pantry?) it could help start things heating up so you could get finished compost sooner. I had 2 more giant COLD piles of litter, and worked in a little of the hot stuff, and now have 3 smoking hot piles. SO EXCITED cuz I've been afraid of the pathogens in "uncooked" manure hitting my raised bed veggie gardens.
7 years ago