Elliott Walks

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since Jan 16, 2015
Burlington, Ontario zone 7
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Recent posts by Elliott Walks

My partner had a headache for two days. (Root causes are likely dry air in house and workplace+inadequate hydration, which could have been avoided by going outside more and drikning more, but now we were here and we needed solutions). She cannot take any pain medication (aspirin, tylenol etc.) because it all contains corn. She is still breastfeeding and they are allergic to corn.

I was researching salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin) and its role in triggering a whole plant immune response to localized pathogen exposure in relation to this thread: https://permies.com/t/44604/plants/rooting-hormone-organic
I found out that unripe raspberries contain salicylic acid. raspberry leaf tea is safe to drink, so I figured what if I took some unripe raspberries that have been freeze dried on the cane for some months now and make a tea out of them. I used three berries for one mug (250 mL). I could not find any information on drinking raspberries as opposed to the leaves, but she was willing to give it a shot. Her headache was gone within half an hour. The taste was mildly sweet and had the essence of raspberry in it. I don't recommend drinking it if you do not need to since regular use of salicylic acid can affect gut health. Of course the root causes should always be addressed first.

Has anybody else used unripe raspberries as medicine? Is there something else besides salicylic acid that should not be consumed? I have eaten unripe raspberries (to see if I could incorporate them into dishes that I was working on while I was employed as a chef) with no observed negative health effects.
5 years ago
indolebutyric acid stimulates root growth
Salicylic acid is the hormone fuel that the plant uses to protect itself, to form an immune system

you could also use honey. The sugars and nutrients in honey feed the cutting, whilst honey's anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties protect the plant while it forms its own immune system. Plants can and do also produce salicylic acid endogenously. http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/honey-root-hormone.htm

I feel like it is better to stimulate the plants hormone system with willow water (which contains hormones the plant already uses) rather then feeding it from a source that it won't have access to. I would also rather eat the honey:) Willow also regenerate a lot faster then honey and therefore can be used on a larger scale. There are 400 species of willow all of which can be used.

Having said that if you do not have access to willow I think it would be worth experimenting with other plants that either contain salicylic acid or that sprout/ grow vigorously. Plants in the ribes genus (raspberry, blackberry, currants etc.) come to mind and might be worth experimenting with. I plan to try a small experiment with "raspberry cane water" this spring. A lot of unripe fruit also contains salicylic acid, so one could soak those into a rooting water and see what happens. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid there is a list of unripe fruit containing salicylic under the dietary sources section (no citation though).

I think willow water is your best bet though if you have willow growing nearby and would rely on the information provided above to successfully apply it. Happy Growing.
5 years ago
Hello to all,

Been reading the forums for the past several months since I really got into permaculture. I had heard about it and read about techniques like sheet mulching but had never researched it properly. I currently live in Burlington, Ontario with partner and two kids. She is doing a masters program until september at which point we are looking at moving to the Kootenays. I can not wait to get out of suburbia where I feel like I have been stuck my whole life (born in Canada, grew up the Netherlands, moved back to Canada when I was 16, lived in Sweden the past 2 years). The pollution is too much for me here (southern ontario) plus we cannot afford any land of our own.

We are living with parents-in-law to save on housing costs but they are willing to let me put in a hugelkultur in the backyard this spring. It will be quite small, but good for experience. I have never built one before, although I have grown veg in raised beds and on balconies.

I hope to build another 4 hugelkulturs this spring. I think it makes so much sense to build these things together. I started a facebook group called "Halton and Area Hugelkultur Collective" although I have not invested enough time or energy to grow it. Part of my idea is to buy seeds as a collective since bulk seeds are much cheaper, but most people in the suburbs don't have enough land to use 1000 kale seeds for example. If anybody in the area has any extra seeds kicking around I would be very interested. I don't have any to exchange, but I just thought I would throw it out there. I have one neighbour with potential interest.

I have also sheet mulched two small areas in my parent's backyard. The first one I seeded with sedum, milkweed, butterfly bush and yarrow in the fall. The second one will get a black currant bush in the spring in addition to medicinal flowers and ground cover. My mother wants everything to look "nice" and not too "messy", so that has been a challenge for me. I yearn so much for my own land to experiment freely one, but having restrictions can lead to more creative/focused thinking.

I am also growing mushrooms. So far I have had success with oysters, elm oysters, lion's mane, reishi. I also had some turkey tail spawn going, but I didn't check it for one week and it completely dried out. I have started some again a couple of days ago that I will try not to murder with neglect.

I also started vermicomposting a month ago which has been going quite well, other than when I threw in a moldy banana on the second day despite my instinct telling me not to. I spent some time picking the worms out of the completely moldy bin, discarding the moldy bedding and putting in new bedding and food, but now they are reproducing as well.

Other than that I am a strong believer in transitioning into a system of natural and diverse capitalism. Rather than just growing money and the assets I could buy with said money, I hope to be able to accumulate and spread natural sources of wealth. I hope to be able to giveaway seeds, mycelial spawn, worms, soil, produce, knowledge etc. This combined with practices of mindfulness (yoga, meditation, peaceful parenting, non-violent communication for me) will hopefully lead to a more peaceful and inclusive community around me. Be the change you want to see and all that. I have oscillated between depression and apathy for the majority of my life but now I feel hope again thanks to some of the realizations and solutions I've gained from adopting permaculture ethics to my own life.

Anyways that was quite long-winded and self-centered. I really think these forums are a great resource and I look forward to actively interacting with you all instead of just reading post.


5 years ago

Danny Smithers wrote: From a simple common-sense approach, I figure if the mycelium can grow in a substrate, why would the fruiting bodies need much more?

For oysters it doesn't really matter, but for other mushrooms it would make a difference. The substrate upon which spawn is generated is selected for fast mycelial growth and cost-effectiveness. Spawn can then be used to inoculate larger substrates that are more suitable for fruiting. Mushrooms like Lion's mane will be more likely to fruit on sawdust even though the mycelium will grow fine on grain substrate.
5 years ago
1. The cardboard should be at field capacity. That means no water should be running off of it. Mycelium need oxygen. If the cardboard is over-saturated with water there will be no oxygen for the mycelium to use. Excess water dripping off of cardboard can also pool at the bottom of your container creating a nice environment for competitive molds, bacteria and protozoa. Although oysters will out compete most they will be spending energy on fighting off its competitors rather than growing mycelial mass needed for fruiting/spawn production. I have only been growing mushrooms for several months and have had oysters fight off green mold. I learned from my mistakes, but am still trying to figure out the best balance between least amount of work, least amount of resources and fastest/efficient growth of mycelial mass.

2. Oyster accumulate cadmium and mercury (stamets, mycelium running), but I don't think there are any heavy metals in cardboard. It would be enlightening to have oysters grown exclusively on cardboard tested, but it would cost money.
Personally I would use cardboard as spawn layered in between coffee grinds. My theory is that I wouldn't want to eat meat/eggs/plants that were grown on a substance such as cardboard that has undergone chemical processes and is stuck together with cornstarch (which I don't think is made from organic non-gmo corn planted in polycultures that protect our soil, water and air.) Therefore I would not want to eat mushrooms grown primarily on cardboard. I don't think using coffee grinds is a long-term solution where I live, but for now it is what I am using to obtain a yield. I figure some cardboard gets recycled, most coffee grinds end up in the garbage. The coffee shops around here do not have organic waste disposal for their grinds.

3.Oysters generally should not need supplementing. Martinez et al. (1985) found a yield increase by fermenting coffee pulp for five days and then pasteurizing it(stamets, growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms). I have had successful colonization of coffee grinds that were sitting around for days by pouring boiling water through them in a large chinois. I then placed the coffee grinds in glass jars and plastic containers until the cooled down. I then inoculated them with stem buts. Of course it would be better to use the coffee grinds after the initial cool down, you could even add coffee grinds gradually one filter at a time. This latter method is more efficient, but if you are not able to be there when the coffee grinds have just cooled down you can still use them.

Other tips/comments:

Have you thought about putting up a moisture tent around the bin. Our house gets very dry in the winter and the outer cardboard might get too dry to fruit, but I don't know what your conditions are.

Alternatives to pasteurization:

1. inoculate in whichever room you have the most stale air.

2. I read a method somewhere online (I can't find the link now) that you can bring all your materials into a room, close the door, don't open it during any part of the process and spray the room with water. Wait until 5-10 minutes until the water drops fall down. The water drops will have absorbed some of the spores and other contaminants in the atmosphere. Your materials should be covered while you do this. After 5-10 minutes inoculate. This is from memory so I could have some details wrong. I think I read it on the forums at shroomery.org, but I can't find it there with a quick source.

3. Another way of avoiding pasteurization is increasing your spawn to substrate percentage. Professional growers using sterile technique use <10% spawn. You could use as higher percentages, but this is less efficient.

4. Look up the hydrogen peroxide method. I haven't used this myself but it is another alternative that seems to work.

Happy growing
5 years ago