10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
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Eric Hanson

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since May 03, 2017
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Recent posts by Eric Hanson

I don’t know if this is exactly what the OP meant, but over the years I have had to learn and re-learn to write.

Growing up I was taught to write expressively, to use those colorful adjectives and turns of phrase.

I college, as a psychology major, I had to re-learn to write technically.  Technical writing shuns extraneous word usage (such as in writing instructions).  Once I learned to write expressively, writing technically was extremely difficult, having much more to say than is generally allowed.

When I was a grad student in history, I had to combine the two writing styles.  I wrote expressively so my writing was readable, but learned to tidy up my writing to prevent it from getting out of control.

I am now in grad school again and I am now being forced to write technically again—and I dead it!

I am hopeful that I can finish my time writing technically and not loose my expressive edge.

1 week ago
Hi RJ, so you’re interested in growing mushrooms!

I, too, like growing mushrooms.  I have grown them for the actual mushrooms, but more for the compost they yield up.

For my purposes, Wine Caps are a great way to get started with fungi.  They are just about the most bulletproof mushroom you can grow.

For an even better mushroom, but just ever so slightly more difficult to grow, consider oyster mushrooms, particularly blue oysters.  

Either of these are fairly easy to start.  If you are interested, I have a long-running thread on mushrooms I keep updated HERE:

I hope this is helpful.

1 week ago

Yeah, maybe it was a bit of a mental leap!

My straw bales were about $70 including tax.  Actually I was surprised I could find straw bales at that time.  And since I have the straw, well, it is the perfect opportunity for quickly growing mushrooms!

1 week ago
Chip pile update: 1/29/2023

Ok, last summer was not conducive to growing much of anything but weeds.  We had a pretty bad drought which I thought had broken by my last post.  Turns out the drought continued though the rest of the summer and late into the fall.  Only now in winter are soil moisture levels getting back to normal.

What this means is that my mushroom beds did very poorly.  I didn’t water them and rain didn’t fall.  But circumstances has gifted me an opportunity I didn’t have before.  In December we had a very cold, sub-zero snap that partially froze my drain to my septic in a particularly thin patch of earth.  I insulated by adding 10 bales of straw on top.

Those bales need to go soon and I think they will make great mushroom fodder!  I might plop a couple down in a corner of the garden and inoculate with some fresh spawn and keep wet.  With a little luck, those two bales of straw will get devoured by Wine Cap spawn, give me some mushrooms, and maybe even spread back into the wood chip base and get it decomposing again.  At the very least, I will have a winter project!

1 week ago

I will only sow/plant culinary mushrooms.  Wine Caps are definitely one of those species.  And yes, I grew them in garden beds as a stacking function.  I grew tomatoes, obviously for tomatoes, but also for the shade they will cast on the ground and for the root interaction with the fungi—which both tomato and Wine Cap like.

And when the Wine Caps are done fruiting, the left over compost is wonderful bedding material.

I had to make this post short, but to answer your question broadly, the mushrooms are definitely edible and they help the plants in the garden bed grow better.

1 week ago
Maybe I missed something and maybe I am being naïve, but did I read correctly that rye suppresses weeds?  Is this something I could use in the garden to suppress my (numerous) weeds and then terminate?

1 week ago

I have one elm tree that is Dutch Elm resistant and given it’s beauty and perfect location, I can’t bear to cut it down.  So I guess I will have to rely on a straw substrate and buy in the spawn.  I use Field&  

But your stump looks beautiful with all those mushrooms!  Too bad it can’t last forever.

1 week ago
250’ separation should be plenty!

If you want to do logs and straw next to each other, that should be fine.  But keep in mind the life cycle of the fungi.  Fungi (oysters for our sake) infect wood, digest it, undergo sexual reproduction inside the substrate (wood or straw) and are happy to continue to do so until they exhaust their food supply at which point they sacrifice a part of their “body” to push up a mushroom and release spores (asexual reproduction) into the wind, hopefully to land on more wood and start the cycle over again.

My point is that as long as the mycelium have food (such as the partially intact log), they won’t produce a mushroom.  If you are growing oysters in straw surrounded by logs, the actual fruiting (mushroom) might not occur until the logs are decomposed, well after the fungi has devoured the straw (it just found a new source of food and moved the party).  

In am not saying this is going to happen.  I am saying it is worth considering.  My suggestion is to have straw beds and logs close but not touching each other (I think 1’ separation would be fine, but you can widen this if you like).  Actually I like the idea of having a fast-growing, quick-producing bed and a slower, longer producing bed.

When the mushrooms have finished fruiting, they leave behind a wonderful compost that can be used in a garden bed.  I actually make my garden beds so that they have Wine Cap mushrooms devouring wood chips right in place under tomatoes, yielding up great tomatoes and very fertile garden bedding (I don’t know if this is soil yet, but I do grow in it.).  If you are interested in making mushroom compost garden beds, I can help you with that too.

1 week ago
It’s been a while since I last posted, school has kept me plenty busy.  I have thought about expanding from Wine Caps to oyster mushrooms for some time now and I think I have the perfect opportunity.

In December we had an extremely cold snap come through and the main pipe draining my house partially froze.  After melting the ice I plopped 10 straw bales on top of the pipe for insulation.  Now I have 10 bales of straw in need of disposal, and I think the perfect solution is to use it as Oyster mushroom substrate!

I know it is a bit early to start outside, but I am thinking about starting some oyster buckets inside by our water heater.  This could be an interesting, climate controlled way to experiment with growing oyster mushrooms.  I imagine this uses one bale of straw at the very most.

For my outdoor experiment, I plan on starting the oysters on straw in the woods, under shade and well away from any competing Wine Caps.  If this is successful, I might see about expanding the Oysters and perhaps using forest residue for a substrate.  Also, if this is successful, I might see about growing other mushrooms in the shade of the forest.

But I have 10 bales with which to experiment!  Maybe this is actually worth a couple of different tries—a smaller pile for quick results and a larger one for more disposal and more mushrooms.  And of course I have plenty of bales for my gardening this summer.

I will keep everyone updated.

1 week ago
I agree with Faye.  I have used Field & for years and had great experiences.  I just got the new catalog!

1 week ago