Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Composting and Mushroom Permaculture Project

urban farm 

For the third day of the Permaculture Design Course, we spent the morning learning about composting, biointensive gardening, creating mushroom beds, and we began our study of forest garden designs. The Urban Farm is an educational site that brings fellow gardeners together to dig deeper into permaculture. The farm demonstrates how to produce food that is healthy for us and the planet. The Urban Farm is managed by Tia Meer and was co-founded with John Rife. The farm now has a work exchange CSA program and “Work and Learn” classes to teach basic gardening skills to anyone who is interested.

Urban Farm Website: http://winterparkharvestfestival.com/urban-farm 


The first demonstration involved hands on work for building a compost pile. These wood pallets were converted into a composter. We discovered that the wood was already in use by a cluster of mushrooms.


With all the men working together, the composter was quickly assembled.

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The first layer consisted of larger material so that the pile will stay aerated. Everyone worked together to build up the pile. In Florida, palm branches are plentiful so they made a great contribution to the compost pile.


How to Build Your Own Mushroom Bed


To make a mushroom bed, pick a moist, semi-shady spot. Prepare a rectangular frame of hardwood logs to surround the bed. Lay down a layer of cardboard from flattened boxes and water until saturated. Next, sprinkle spawn lightly over the cardboard in an evenly spread layer


A closer look at mushroom mycelium.


Add a 3 inch layer of compost and hardwood chips. Mix with sawdust spawn. Water again.


Spread a second layer of mushroom spawn.


Add another 3 inch layer of compost and water well. Top it off with a 1-2" layer of straw. Water daily for the first week, every other day for 2-4 weeks, and once a month after that. Now, you are on your way to a bed that will supply nutritious mushrooms protein, carbohydrates, and minerals. Happy composting/mushroom growing!

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