Notes from Windward: #68


Shitake Time

Kerst and Annie get some shitake spawning

  April 29:

     Sustainability is a huge undertaking, and often reminds one that time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen all at once. One the areas we've been remiss so far involves the process of converting our oaks into shitake mushrooms. With some eighty areas of oak trees, shitake production offers us the chance to generate delicious fungi for the kitchen as well as products for our 'terns to market.

Annie and Kerst with the initial stack of oak logs

     Kerst is taking lead on Windward's mycological development, and this past weekend Kerst and Annie sent a day selecting oak logs for our initial run. Our's is a copse forest in which the oaks send up multiple trunks from a single root ball, so it was a matter of selecting largest truck for harvest, leaving the remaining trunks to grow. One of the reasons that we hadn't started this work sooner was that we didn't want to just take a portion of the trunk and leave the rest of the tree to rot; now that we have the chipper up and running well, we're able to chip up the tops and use them to grow mushrooms too.

Kerst checks out the spawn while Annie checks out the innoculated plugs

     After the logs where stacked in the shade and covered with a tarp, we cranked up the chipper and generated three drums worth of chips. Kerst had gotten special plastic bags with an air filter, and used them to prepare some artifical "logs."

Filling plastic bags with oak chips

     The remainder of the chips we took up to a dense patch of trees just downhill from Vermadise, and used them to fill up an old water trough that had rusted through in the bottom. In addition, we cut one of the 250 gallon IBCs in half, laid the halves out like huge plastic bowls, and filled them with oak chips too.

Filling a trough with oak chips

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68