Our Mushroom Experiment Begins

a stack and a half of logs for mushroom cultivation

Our First Mushroom Logs

Last week, a crew hired by REMC cleared the power line right of way along the road, as well as through our woods, and along the driveway.  Unlike anywhere else I’ve lived, the crew called about two weeks prior to coming out to let me know they’d be there, and asked if I had any concerns.  I told them to leave any wood chips, and explained that we were a Certified Naturally Grownfarm, and our concerns that they be as gentle as possible in their work.  They also promised they’d be able to leave the largest stretch of right-of-way through the middle of our property in a state where I could mow it, and thus avoid any need for future visits (much of the tree-of-heaven I clearned in the fall from that area had actually re-grown from stumps from the last time this had been done).

Like everywhere I’ve been before, they were pretty brutal.  They chopped off several ancient trees along the north fence, tearing down about 280 feet of fence in the process, cut down a huge pine tree along the road that wasn’t any closer to the lines than many they left, and apparently, contrary to the legal description of our lot, the REMC right-of-way is apparently about 140 feet wide.  They leveled everything in a swath that wide, in places even wider, with a machine that looked like the illegitimate child of a root grapple and a rotary spader (which they also left parked in our yard for 5 days).  Finally, for no apparent reason, they cut down our sassafras clump.  It’s doubtful they would have ever come close to threatening the power lines.  Of course, they left most of their mess.  About the only thing they chipped was the sassafras, so i couldn’t even make root beer with it!

So, in this busiest of times of year, when we’re also needing to get the place looking great for our wedding, we have many large trees down (some so big then when I tried to drag them with the tractor to more advantageous places to cut ‘em up, I couldn’t even get them to budge!), and a fast swath through the middle of the property that looks like the remains of a clear-cut logging opperation.  Which makes sense, since that’s what it was.

So, what to do? Continue reading “Our Mushroom Experiment Begins” »

The Great Soil Block Experiment – part 2

Just a minor update to the soil block experiment this week…  Sorry, no photos.  But, here’s the status of things:

About 50% of the pepper seedlings started in the 3/4″ cubes have already germinated!  The first pepper germinated in just 5 days.  It seems that not only does using such small cubes maximise the use of the seedling heating mat, but, probably because they’re smaller and heat more efficiently, they also seem to benefit from it even more.

About 20% of the leeks have also germinated.  Also, a mouse got to them and dug a hole through the middle of four of them.  I hate mice…

I received my 4″ x 4″ block maker, but have not yet tried it.  It’s extremely well made, and even our machinist/farmer (and he’s a bit of an artist of a machinist) neighbor was impressed with the quality of its construction.  Which must explain the high price…  The volume of soil it looks like it would need is staggering, so hopefully I’ll only need it for a handful of plants.

I need to pot up the celery and celeriac seedlings, but they’re also VERY weak and spindly.  I think they spent too much time after they germinated and before I got the lights set up, and may not recover.  Ug.  I’ve never grown celery well, but, then again, it’s difficult to get horribly excited by.