Category: Fungi

How to Grow Chickens Without Buying Grain – by Only Feeding Them Compost


Whilst on a tour of the US, Permaculture teacher Geoff Lawton was giving a talk at Montpelier, Vermont, when a young man suggested we film his boss, compost maestro Karl Hammer and his amazing system of feeding compost to his flock of 100-plus chickens, and without feeding them any grain. Chickens live off the compost eating worms and biota and help in the composting process. Nobody thought it was possible, […]

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Introduction to Naturalised Nursery Practice

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Applying the understandings of ecosystem mimicry to create alternative solutions to current nursery practices of disease control, fertilisation and sterile mediums. It is my belief that nature is our greatest teacher. By observing nature we can see that a tree in a forest is self-maintaining. It does not rely on fertilisation, irrigation, pesticides or fungicides to produce healthy growth. It’s only with today’s technology we are beginning to bear witness […]

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Mohamed Hijri: A Simple Solution to the Coming Phosphorus Crisis (video)

Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus, an essential element that’s a key component of DNA and the basis of cellular communication. All roads of this crisis lead back to how we farm — with chemical fertilizers chock-full of the element, which plants are not efficient at absorbing. One solution? Perhaps … a microscopic mushroom. — TED […]

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Paul Stamets – Solutions From the Underground (Video)

Many readers of Permaculture News will be familiar with Paul Stamets and his amazing research with all things fungi. This video presentation by Paul is inspiring! It was recorded in Australia. If you have any interest in permaculture and the care of Creation and the amazing natural world of which we are a part, you will be inspired too. You will see that Paul gifts a patent to Australia towards […]

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Soil, not Dirt – Dr Elaine Ingham Talks Soil Microbiology

Dr. Elaine Ingham talks about soil fertility and the role of soil microbial life. Dr. Ingham is a world-renowned soil biologist who pioneered many of the currently used biological soil amendment techniques and pioneered the testing of soil microbial life as an indicator of soil and plant health. Dr. Ingham is the Chief Scientist at the Rodale Institute. She is the founder of the Sustainable Studies Institute and the Soil […]

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Making Mushroom Growing Sustainable – Part 2, Planting Your Logs

Following along from the previous article (the set-up) we’ll now cover planting your oyster mushrooms into straw logs. Oysters mushrooms (from the genus Pleurotus) grow on dozens of different materials that we call substrate. Cereal straw is one of the most commonly used materials commercially but I’ve have had good success growing them on sugar cane bagasse, paper, cardboard, dried leaf mulch and brown grass clippings. Oysters, being one of […]

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Making Mushroom Growing Sustainable – Part 1, the Set-up

Oyster mushrooms Gourmet mushrooms are an excellent addition to a Permaculture farm. They are nutritious and delicious and they really stand out on your market stall table. Many farmers around the world grow them to add diversity to their produce range and to make use of the shadier areas where most plants won’t thrive. But mushrooms are funny little creatures and like most other living things they won’t flourish unless […]

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Get Your Food from a Firehose

We have been delving into the dirty secret behind our food, which is that it comes from bacteria — primarily, with considerable assistance from a social network of fungi, nematodes, micro-arthropods and soil-dwelling microbes of various descriptions. Most people, asked what plants eat, answer something like, "sunlight, water and dirt." Water and sunlight play an important role, for sure, but what really counts is the life within the soil. This […]

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A Computer Geek Starts a Garden, Part II – We Are Chlorophyll Managers

Last night I ate a couple of dozen cherry tomatoes from my just-getting-started garden. A little pepper and salt and I was in tomato heaven. I was expecting them to taste a whole lot better than the supermarket ‘tomatoes‘ I’m otherwise forced to consume, and I was not at all disappointed. Indeed, every cell of my body almost seemed to shout "thank you!" The difference was like night and day. […]

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Soils and Forestry Presentation (video)

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by Paul Wheaton Mark Vander Meer gives a presentation on soil science as it relates to forestry. I was presenting in another room at the same time, so Mark gave permission to Jocelyn Campbell to record this for me. Once I saw it, I thought it was so good, that I asked Mark if it was okay to put it up on YouTube. Mark is a soil scientist who works […]

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Oyster Mushroom Production: Prosperity and Problems for a Small NGO in Tanzania

The desire for sustainable projects for non-government organisations and the need of reliable sources of income for small scale farmers is ever increasing in Tanzania and the ‘developing world’. Within international development ‘sustainability’ is a buzz-word often bandied round, with many communities and organisations slowly helping to transform traditional top-down development models to investing in more grass-roots, long-term, locally applicable solutions. Small scale income-generating businesses such as mushroom production may […]

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