Jonathan Baldwerm

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since Jun 06, 2019
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cat fungi trees
Coos Bay, Oregon
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Recent posts by Jonathan Baldwerm

You might want to check out some of Paul Stamets' books as well.  He used fungi in burlap bags as a way to clean up water runoff from cattleyards.  When the state tested the water downstream of his biofilters, they found it was very much cleaned up by the fungi.  He also has info on fungi that clean up oil spills and heavy metal accumulation.  Can't recall if he mentioned any that cleaned up pesticides or herbicides directly.
I use scotch broom a lot in my hot compost, particularly in the winter when green stuff is harder to come by.  It definitely helps heat the pile up, can still get it to 130-140 degrees in December.  Never noticed any toxicity problems, and a lot goes into my annual garden.

With regards to cold composting, not sure how long the chemicals stick around.  I vermicompost some similarly to a study I read (attached.) The study is pretty cool because they accurately measured phytotoxicity and nutrients from start to finish.
5 months ago
Sorry, didn't catch that you were growing from spores, never tried that myself so not sure on the techniques.  Sawdust was how I started my first bed of winecaps that I used to multiply them to other beds, so I would think it should work fine as a substrate indoors as well.  If it were me, I'd probably hedge my bets and try moving the most colonized jar to an outdoor bed and continue growing the others as you have been.  Like Eric said, sometimes winecaps are slow to colonize initially.  
6 months ago
From what I've read in Stamets books, winecaps need soil bacteria to really thrive.  I would guess that sterilizing the media would kill all the bacteria and make them struggle.  Not sure why the shaking would have an effect.  I've grown lots of winecaps, but only in unsterilized outdoor beds.  If you put down spawn and a preferrably woody substrate, they take off in that environment.  Since they are so aggressive, other fungi species seldom can outcompete them.  Sometimes I get fruiting in 2 months in composted woodchips.  They will also colonize chopped up leaves pretty readily.
6 months ago
I get a lot of mole activity in my yard.  It's slightly annoying, but I imagine they are doing a lot of smallscale tilling that is far less damaging than it would be if I tilled myself.  Rather than try to deter them, I just make sure to scoop their hills off of any plants as soon as I see them and toss the dirt in the compost.  My own bit of disturbance to deal with their disturbance.
6 months ago
In my garden, slugs tend to be the destroyers of seedlings, but the pill bugs will go after damaged parts of the stressed plants.  I had pill bugs swarming over a poor nearly eaten squash plant a couple weeks ago, and initially thought they were the culprits.  Once I shoed them off I saw the slime trails though.  I think once plants get stressed enough it triggers the pill bugs to treat their wounds like decaying matter.  I do a slug walk through the garden at night a couple times a week, and it is pretty crazy the number of slugs that exist in a small, 25'x25' plot, and most of them are very well hidden in the daylight.

Pill bugs do go crazy over fruit if it gets even slightly bruised, though.  Many a fallen plum has been made less appealing looking by their chomping out of the bruised bits.
6 months ago
Thanks for the advise! I'll aim for May then.  I live in a weird part of Oregon where we almost never get frost (and the ground has never frozen in the 10 years I've been here), but while other parts of Oregon are freezing we have regular 33 degree nights, which I'm guessing still would be detrimental to a young avocado tree.  May's definitely when soils finally start warming up.

I'll plan on setting up the cold frame next year as well, as every couple years we get a few nights in the upper 20s.
10 months ago
I've been thinking about planting a Mexicola Avocado, and will probably pick up a 2 foot tall one from a local nursery sometime this year.  I was curious if anyone had any pointers on the best time of year to plant them, or if there's an ideal soil temp to plant them at?  I've mostly planted temperate trees in the past, and often plant those in the fall, but I'm guessing an avocado would do better planted sometime in the spring?
10 months ago
I get pretty good results out of a plastic bin my mother-in-law gave us.  It doesn't get as good of a thermophylic period as my pallet bin does, but it does get around 120 degrees for a couple weeks before cooling down.  It also gets way better conposting worm action than my hotter bins, maybe because of the lesser heating. This is after 1 1/2 months of composting, not there yet but coming along.
11 months ago
I'd second the field peas.  I have the Austrian Winter pea variety, and I have no problem getting them to sprout right now.  They don't grow very fast with the short days, but they still look healthy.  My climate's pretty similar to yours, just a bit cooler.  Highs are 40s to 50s this time of year, nights usually hover around freezing temp.
11 months ago