Garden 2012

Posted by: billstephenson

Garden 2012 - 02/21/12 11:08 AM

I got some lettuce seed in yesterday. It rained a bit last night so that should've set the seeds. Today I'll put a row cover over it and if all goes well I should be eating some in about a month.

I also went and got a few things yesterday to get ready to inoculate the hardwood logs with Shiitake mushroom spores. I've got about two thousand feet of fresh cut hardwood. I have a mix of black, red, white, and bur oak logs cut 4ft long.

I'll take a few pictures today. Two thousand feet of logs sounds bigger than it looks when it's all stacked up wink
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/22/12 01:11 PM

Here's a pic of one of the stacks of logs for the shiitake mushrooms. There are 310 logs that are 4ft long here. I have 500 altogether.

I'll start inoculating them in about a week. All in all, they should produce about 1750 lbs of shiitake mushrooms.

These logs were cut from trees thinned out of 80 acres of private forest land. The thinning was done to improve the variety of trees in that stand, and to increase the timber value of more mature trees, and to provide a higher quality habitat for wildlife. You really couldn't see any difference in that stand of forest after they were harvested though, it is so overgrown with immature trees all competing for the same resources that another 1000 trees the same size would need to be cleared before it would be considered a "well managed forest".

Posted by: BZH

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/23/12 12:53 PM

so what exactly to you plan to do with a ton of 'shrooms?
Posted by: packlite

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/23/12 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By BZH
so what exactly to you plan to do with a ton of 'shrooms?

I'd like to here the answer to that question myself !!
Posted by: Ewker

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/23/12 03:13 PM

he could always dehydrate them. Ever checked the prices for dehydrated mushrooms
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/23/12 04:05 PM

Originally Posted By packlite
Originally Posted By BZH
so what exactly to you plan to do with a ton of 'shrooms?

I'd like to here the answer to that question myself !!

Well, there are several shiitake "farms" here in the Ozarks, and they all sell them to markets and restaurants, and a lot of them are dehydrated too and sold for food and health supplements, and they do pretty good, but that's not what we're doing.

We are going to do something a little different. We're going to inoculate them and wholesale the logs to local garden centers and other retail outlets so people can buy them and take them home and put them in their veggie garden.

Ozarkers are pretty into wild shrooms, hunting for morels is a long time tradition here, so I think they'll be interested in growing some at home. Right now they sell for $4 for 3oz at the local markets.

This is just a test run. If they do well we'll make some more. If not, I'll have a lot of shrooms to sauté laugh
Posted by: packlite

Re: Garden 2012 - Shrooms - 02/23/12 04:47 PM

Originally Posted By billstephenson

Ozarkers are pretty into wild shrooms, hunting for morels is a long time tradition here, so I think they'll be interested in growing some at home. ......If they do well we'll make some more. If not, I'll have a lot of shrooms to sauté laugh

Sounds yummy. When we lived on the Oregon Coast and also Western Washington, every Fall we'd make numerous trips to the conifer forests to seek out the Chanterelle. My kids considered it far superior to hunting easter eggs. Solid meat, even the gills. Used to slice them and fry up with steak & eggs as well as sauteed dishes.

Fun to hunt, attractive to look at and delicious!!

Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - Shrooms - 02/23/12 07:12 PM

I should clarify, shiitakes go for $4 for 3oz in the markets. If someone is selling them, wild morels go for $50-$80 per pound here, and you seldom are offered a chance to buy them, and never see them in them markets.

Personally, I like log grown shiitakes better than morels. We have Chanterelles here too, but I've never found them, or didn't know it if I did. The Missouri Dept of Conservation has a great web page with our edible wild shrooms. You can find it here.

Posted by: Kent W

Re: Garden 2012 - Shrooms - 02/24/12 04:37 PM

So whats the friendly fourum member discount price? LOL I love shitakes I just dried a bunch a week ago, amongst other things. I hunt Morels to they are dilish! You ever try sheepshead mushrooms in the fall? Not bad either. Puffballs are ok to. About twenty years ago down in utica Il. Dad and I found hundreds of giant puff ball mushrooms. Like fryin a steak! Gotta go wipe off the drool!
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/27/12 06:05 PM

Whoa! You been busy. Mushrooms? I loves mushrooms! Definitely want to here how that goes.
Posted by: BZH

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/27/12 07:04 PM


You got me thinking about mushroom. I live with 20 million other fine upstanding citizens, so green space is at a premium. I have a little strip of land that we have been trying to garden between our house and the back house. It is only 10 feet wide and even has a partial roof with northern exposure, so it doesn't get much sun. I have yet to find a packet of vegetable seeds that does not say "full sun" on it. Dark leafy greens were suggested on the web. They were doing well until the owner had the place painted and the painters walked all over my garden for a week.

Anyway, to get back on topic, I am wondering how 'shrooms will do back there. I am guessing they need a dark moist environment. Dark I have covered, but we don't get much moisture in SoCal. I think you used to live out this way. How do you think mushroom would do?
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 02/27/12 11:36 PM

I'm pretty sure you could grow them just fine there.

You're biggest problem out there might be getting wood. You don't need a lot, but we are limited by the types of wood that work, and I'm not sure what you'll have available. I don't know, but California Oak might work. There are several types of hardwood that do work, so it may not be a problem at all.

From what I've gathered, here's what I can tell you. They'd probably fruit good outside in the winter there. Out there, you could probably do good with keeping the logs in the shade and soaking them in a tub of water for a few hours every week or two during the hot and dry months while you're waiting for the spawn run to complete. That takes between 6-12 months. You'll want to use water with no chlorine in it, so you might fill a tub and let it set in the sun for a couple days, then put it in the shade to let it cool down before you put your logs in it.

Once the spawn run is complete the logs will be ready to "fruit". At that point you can start forcing the logs to fruit every 8-10 weeks if you control the temperature and moisture content of the wood.

During the warmer months, to force them to fruit you might bring them inside your garage or kitchen for a day or two where it is cooler, and then soak the log in cool water for 24 hours. Keep them inside while they produce mushrooms for the next week or so. Then you could let it rest outside again for 8-10 weeks.

If you wanted fresh mushrooms every week you'd need 8-10 logs and you'd set them up on a schedule to force one to fruit every week.

Check out for what types of wood and spawn might work best for you. They've got a lot of different types and strains of mushroom spawn available and info, and sources for info, on growing mushrooms.

Posted by: OldJohnDewey

Re: Garden 2012 - 03/08/12 10:31 PM

I've never seen mushrooms cultivated that way but see them on logs all the time in the bush. Pretty cool. Post a photo when they fruit.
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Garden 2012 - 03/18/12 01:34 PM

Bill - I emailed a mushroom "seed" company and found that the shitaki mushrooms will grow here in alaska on birch. So I'm hoping this year to give some a try. We aren't gardening this year because we are finishing our house - and I'll start looking at a good spot to put the garden through the gardening season and then I have to have "the" arguement with my husband. We have 80 acres of trees, and I have to discuss every single one we cut down. He isn't a tree hugger (in the strictest sense), but when we lived in Michigan we were on old farmland - 10 acres of NO trees and so.... grin
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 03/18/12 06:14 PM

That's cool Heather. I spent about $30 on "Dowel" spores for my first try at it. I did 4-5 logs that were about 3 feet long. I put them in a shady spot in the forest below our house and didn't do a thing to them after that. I wanted to see how well they produced without any other messing around, and they did pretty good.

I am sure I ate more than $30 worth of mushrooms off of them, and probably missed more than I got. Really, you can hardly go wrong growing shiitakes.

We're still working on getting our business license (our accountant does that, and it's tax season), but we have about 400, 2ft logs inoculated now and we're getting 30-50 done a day, so we'll have them all done pretty soon. So far, people have shown a lot of interest in them, and that's just from family and friends telling others, so I think we'll do pretty good selling them. We'll start selling them in April.

We got all our logs (500, 4ft logs) off of 80 acres. It's really doesn't take many trees to get that many, and if you live somewhere near a plentiful source then it's generally pretty easy to talk forest land owners into selling a few trees. You might want to look into making and selling mushroom logs up there.

Here I am with two helpers just a couple days ago (I'm the old guy on the right):

We've been having a lot of fun making them. I drill holes and those two youngsters plug and wax them. They're not working very hard at it, and I'm not paying them much, we're all really just hanging out together and making a little extra spending money. When we're done they'll also get logs at the wholesale price and if they want to sell some they can make a few more bucks.

Honestly, my hope is that we can start a sustainable source of revenue that is almost entirely based on local resources, both human and raw materials, and market the end product locally so that most of the benefits from the productivity stay local.

If it does work, I'm hoping others here will start doing the same thing. That would really be a great thing. It would extend the opportunities for me, and those working with me, and multiply the benefits for us all locally too.

Winter is our slow season here, lot's of people are laid off from tourism related jobs, but all around us there are small, mom and pop owned, Cedar mills buying aromatic Red Cedar that is shipped all over the world. Everyday you'll see pickups with trailers loaded with 5ft cedar logs heading to the mills. The average load brings in about $400-600 bucks and two workers can cut and deliver a load every day or two. It's hard work, but it sustains a lot of families here in the winter.

In time, I think we can do the same sort of thing for our hardwoods with the least value. I would love to see a seasonal boost to the local economy based on harvesting trees in the winter in a manner that increased the timber value of our forests, provided higher quality habitat for wildlife, and provides an incredibly healthy, organically grown, food source.

I won't get wealthy doing this. No one will get wealthy, but from start to finish everyone involved will benefit. I think it would be pretty cool to have helped start something like that. If you have the trees there, you might be able to start something similar there too.

Even if you don't make a business of it, if you just showed them how to do it and in a couple years you could buy locally grown shiitakes in your grocery store, that'd be pretty darn cool wink


I am beginning to work on growing things that are low maintenance and come back every year.

I got my first taste of home grown Asparagus a couple days ago. I should be getting some every spring now for years to come. My blackberries should start producing this year too. I planted them a couple years ago. Hopefully some of my fruit trees will bear something soon. I've yet to start a Dill Weed patch, but I intend on it.

You have your land now, and that means you can benefit from planting for the long term. That's pretty darn cool. smile
Posted by: DTape

Re: Garden 2012 - 03/30/12 03:53 PM

My peas were put in and have sprouted. Of course the garlic from last fall is doing well. Onion sets were planted this past weekend. I sowed some carrots, beets and turnips and have them in a removable cold frame to get an early jump. As is the lettuce and spinach. My green beans have been started indoors, so they should be good to go when the time comes. I get my pepper plants from a local greenhouse in May. After years of failure for the effort it is much more cost (and time) effective to let them do the hard work for those.
Posted by: HikerChick

Re: Garden 2012 - 03/31/12 06:39 PM

I can only daydream of gardening here in the Sierra's today it's a snowin and a blowin like crazy. Next month I'll start some seed indoors and see how that goes. Usually can't plant outside here till after Memorial Day weekend. A really short growing season. Seriously, all the years I've lived around these parts I've seen it snow every month of the year! The plan is to build a partially subterranean greenhouse this summer. Then a chicken coop. I can hardly wait!
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 04/21/12 08:01 PM

I put some `maters in today, a few peppers, and some cilantro. While I was weeding a spot to put the tomatoes I found two that were growing from seeds from last years plants, so that is a bonus.

We got our shiitake logs in four stores this week. Hope to get them in a few more over the next few weeks.

It's kind of funny, people are really intrigued by them, and curious. Most I spoke with hadn't heard of them, or if they have, didn't know they could grow them and had never seen a log that's been inoculated. That's kind of funny because the Ozarks has some of the largest shiitake farms in the U.S. and our shiitakes are very highly regarded in China and Japan where they compare them to wild shiitakes which are the most sought after (of course).

Posted by: hikerduane

Re: Garden 2012 - 04/23/12 04:00 PM

I started tomatoes a couple weeks ago, carrots and lettuce also. Planted peas Saturday morning before grabbing my bp and hiking up into the woods a few miles for a night out again, using my old bp stoves. Snow one week, in the 70's a week later.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 05/02/12 10:19 PM

I spent most the day in the garden pulling weeds and laying down mulch. The cukes are starting to get a good hold. I'll plant some more seeds for those this week, and the tomatoes are doing good, so is the dill weed.

I had some help today too, so we got quite a bit done. I feel like I'm not quite so far behind now blush

My potatoes are doing real good. I didn't plant any down in the forest this year, but put them in one of my garden rows instead. I put a lot in there, so it's crowded, but I think they'll do good there because the soil in that row is pretty good, better than most the others. I added about 4" of mulch on top of them today and I'll do it again in another few weeks. I've heard that the plants will send out more shoots each time you add mulch like that and increase the yield a lot, so we'll see how that works for me.

Not sure what else I'll plant. I haven't done any good with melons, so I'm not doing those this year. I think we have a few cabbage plants just showing from seed I planted awhile back, but I don't think they'll do very good. I planted them with my potatoes, but they look pretty week to me.

I'll try and get a few pics up soon, still not really much to look at yet though.

I don't know why, but that garden is full of little ticks this year. I haven't seen any mice in there, maybe they came in with the mulch I gathered up, but there's a bunch in there frown
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Garden 2012 - 05/03/12 12:46 PM

You all are doing pretty well this year! Cool beans. We are going to be gone for a month this summer, but I put some stuff in the ground anyway. We planted tomatoes, peppers, squash, pole beans, and various herbs. I'm getting rid of the chickens though. They are getting near the end of their most productive years and we are going to be gone too long this summer.

An aside. There is an old and struggling seed company called the Landrith Seed Co. that has a nice selection of heirloom seeds you might want to check out.

Landrith Seeds
Posted by: DTape

Re: Garden 2012 - 05/11/12 04:44 PM

Now that the weather has been consistently warm, our garden has begun to really take off.
The peas are climbing.
The turnips, beets, and carrots are all looking good.
The onion sets are doing well.
The green beans have sprouted.
The leafy greens (lettuce mix, spinach and escarole) are all leafing out.
Even the asparagus has begun poking through.

I can hardly wait for this years harvest.
Posted by: hikerduane

Re: Garden 2012 - 05/16/12 11:45 PM

I planted potatoes last weekend, I'll get ground ready this weekend for corn and squash, may even plant if the forecast the next week looks good, then beans at the end of the month if temps stay warm. I drove stakes in the ground last weekend for the peas, they should start putting tendrils out soon, so I'll be ahead of the game with some twine strung. Then I can plug the electric fence in again to stop deer from exploring my garden. Plum and apple trees are blooming and the Dogwood in the woods is almost opened up. I may even mow my lawn for the first time too.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Garden 2012 - 05/19/12 04:36 PM

Wow, you seem so late, and Perry seems so early! crazy

I'm right in-between the two of you. I took some pics of the garden today. I'll try and get them posted soon.

I planted some more cukes on wednesday. I've got some Dill already flowering and one of them is just huge! I've never seen one so big so early here. That's good because the cukes are coming along and really just starting to pop. I have a few that are still pretty small but already starting to flower so I guess I better get some fertilizer on them. blush

Posted by: hikerduane

Re: Garden 2012 - 05/20/12 10:12 PM

It was freezing up to a few weeks ago. Went bping Saturday night into the Buck's Lake Wilderness after getting ground ready for corn, which I planted this afternoon along with pumpkins and some winter type squash. All I have left to plant is beans Memorial Day weekend if I don't go on a weekend motorcycle ride with a few guys to the coast. My prune-plum looks like it has set quite a bit of fruit, it isn't a big tree yet. Mowed my lawn for the first time.
Posted by: tcody

Re: Garden 2012 - 06/04/12 11:13 PM

I am a sucker for gardens and though I have thought of starting something really serious on my own, it has not transpired to going really well for me. And most of the time, the problem is with the type of plants that I get together and ones that are not really congruent in terms of the ability to work great together. And most of the time, you are left with pieces that just die and wilt.