Category: Fungi

Mushroom Cultivation

Mushroom cultivation is an intricate, but rewarding art. The fungal networks called mycelium need specific conditions to produce healthy mushrooms. If the conditions are off, the mycelium will be too busy fighting microbes to produce healthy fruiting mushrooms. For the beginner, I recommend a mushroom growing kit. These kits come with a pasteurized substrate, grain spawn, and a suitable container for cultivation. These kits provide novice growers the opportunity to […]

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Petri Dish Mushroom Cultures

Everyone is at least somewhat familiar with the plant kingdom but the fungi kingdom is very little known and understood and yet the more we look into mushrooms the more they seem to offer. Some mushroom species have the ability to clean up serious toxins in our environment and some offer valuable medicine. They all play a part in the decomposition process by pulling apart lignin and cellulose in fallen […]

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Contour Beds Peru

The ancient Inca also utilised contour patterning in their agriculture. This article will describe the process we took to create kitchen garden contour beds in the Sacred Valley Peru. Contour beds are annual and/or perennial vegetable garden beds that conform to the natural pattern of the landscape. Being on contour means that the paths and beds themselves are level and follow the lay of the land. Not only does this […]

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This Zero-Cost, Waste-Eliminating Practice Can Produce Abundant Crops from Healthy, Restored Soils for Generations to Come

Photography by Jasmine A Koster What is zero-cost, waste-eliminating and can restore soils to fertility to produce abundant crops for generations to come? Biochar. Gloria Flora gave a presentation on biochar at the Fourth Annual Inland Northwest Permaculture Convergence. She discussed biochar as a method for producing energy and amending soil from waste products that end up in the landfill. “This is the Permaculture idea of capturing everything…with the pig, […]

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Learning How To Turn Wood Into Delicious Edible Mushrooms

Shiitake mushroom production at home. In autumn 2013 we began our first foray into the world of homegrown gourmet mushroom production. We had been felling a lot of trees on the Tap o’ Noth Permaculture site to reduce some of the shade around our vegetable gardens and to provide fuel to keep our home warm in winter. And while we were processing the timber into firewood we thought we would […]

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Paul Stamets – How Mushrooms Can Save Bees & Our Food Supply | Bioneers

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Nitrogen: the Double-Edged Sword

Dutch clover cover crop between cabbage rows Nitrogen is a component of protein and DNA and as such, is essential to all living things. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, around 97% of the nitrogen supporting life on earth was fixed biologically. Over the last century, intensification of farming, coupled with a lack of understanding of soil microbial communities, has resulted in reduced biological activity and an increased application of industrially […]

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The Secret Of El Dorado – Terra Preta

In this documentary a legendary civilization thought to be too good to be true on the basis of the stories told by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, is found to be a real part of history. We can separate fact from fiction here, in that the golden riverbanks the Spaniard told of were not golden with precious metal strewn along them, but with something far more precious — crops!

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Black Magic: The Secrets of Amazonian Fertility

The great Amazon rainforest. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Bones. Charcoal. Ash. Blood. Feces. Food waste. Pottery shards. Before I began my journey into permaculture and regenerative ecology, if you asked me why someone would gather and bury these things together, I would have guessed at some kind of disgusting voodoo magic ritual. But for those initiated into the alchemy of composting and soil generation, this is actually a recipe […]

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Mycelium Running: How Fungi Can Help Save the World

by Paul Stamets. Review by Sher June. When research biologist Paul Stamets suggests fungi can help save the world, he is absolutely serious. In fact, he contends they can rescue it in several different ways. There are the medicines to be derived from fungi, probably more than we can yet imagine. Fungi for insect pest control. Fungi can absorb and often digest toxins from their environments — toxins as diverse […]

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How to Increase the Rate of Biological Nitrogen Fixation

This short article is a chapter from my book “Fertilizer for Free: How to make the most from Biological Nitrogen Fixation”. One important question permaculture designers should ask themselves: Is there anything you can do to increase the rate of biological nitrogen fixation? The benefits of having more nitrogen rich organic matter in the soil are myriad. Starting with: higher general productivity richer and more diverse soil life more available […]

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How to Permanently Improve Your Sandy Soil

Size of a pumpkin leaf: 42 cm, that’s 16.5″. Not bad for a sandy soil! One of the problems a lot of people have is how to improve the fertility of sandy soil. One solution is to add more organic matter (compost, manure, wood chips), but unfortunately if you live in a hot and humid climate the stuff you put in the soil is going to decompose quickly, since microbial […]

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