Notes from Windward: #67


Prepping Shitake Logs

our first mycological steps

  April 15:

     We have plans and schedules here at Windward, but as ever, we propose and nature disposes. There are two times of the year when oak logs should be harvested for growing shitake mushrooms, and of the two, spring is best. As the buds swell on our oaks, other work is set aside as we make ready to harvest our first brace of oak logs to be inoculated with shitake spawn.

     Our's is a copse forest in which multiple oak "trees" rise up from a common root system. By harvesting only the largest trunk in any cluster, the root system is able to encourage the growth of the remaining trunks without having to start over. That ability to keep the root system alive and functioning is why copse forests are considered to be at least fifty percent more productive than forest comprised of trees such a fir and pine which can't regenerate from the roots.

moving the seeder

     But that's next year; this year we're looking forward to laying the ground work for another greenhouse, and there are a dozen oaks that need to go so that we can build back into the slope to create a level floor. This building needs to go here because it will be a winter greenhouse heated by the exhaust from our solar steam plant. A steam engine is only about 25% efficient, and we'll put the remaining 75% to use raising vegetables in winter. In this case, the greenhouse will use hydronic tubing under the raised beds to heat the plants from the roots up using heat from the steam engine's condenser.

     When we go to farm auctions one of the things we look for is small scale farming equipment, the sort of gear that was used on family farms fifty years ago. One necessary tool is a seeder, and while we're especially proud of the in-working-condition eight foot wide seeder we picked up a few years back, we also are glad to have a not-so-good seeder that we picked up to use for spare parts. It's been hiding away in the grove of oaks that will be removed to make way for the greenhouse, so the first thing we needed to do was to move it on up to the main storage area.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67