self-sustainability

Plant Of The Week #5: Rosa rugosa

Despite the ever lengthening list of new and exciting plants I have come across over the last few weeks  that I would positively love to look into further for future installments, I decided to not let myself get too carried away. As such, for the 5th installment of Plant of the Week I am going to focus on a species that has been a favorite of mine for the many, many years that I have had the pleasure of having it carefully stored away within my botanical mind palace. If you two have not met already then allow me introduce you to the positively lovely yet rough and tough Rosa rugosa.
(more…)

Plant of the Week #4: Berberis vulgaris

Welcome to the 4th installment of Plant of the Week! The list of subjects for future editions is continuing to grow, faster than there are Mondays in a month and I sincerely hope that this trend continues.  Just last Monday in fact (when I posted my last article on the stone pine, Pinus cembra) I happened to be walking through a part of the Wildwood Park neighborhood here in Winnipeg and stumbled upon a European barberry (Berberis vulgris) shrub adorned in hundreds if not thousands of bright red berries. It is this species and a few relatives from around the world that I’ll be showcasing for you today. (more…)

Growing Oyster Mushrooms from Wild Grasses

I consider myself to be quite opportunistic, readily willing to identify and take advantage of the potential benefits of any given circumstance, no matter how bleak or uncomfortable they appear from the outside. This being said, I got to thinking about one of the most popular commercial substrates for commercial oyster mushroom (Pleurotus spp.) production, straw, and whether or not the old, dried, fibrous stalks and leaves of various wild or naturalized grass species could be used in much the same way as straw derived from commercial cereal grain crops. So I decided to put on my mushroom cap and put this one to the test myself. (more…)

Cold Water Fermentation: Pasteurizing Straw Without Heat

Straw is a very common commercially popular substrate for the cultivation of a wide variety of different edible and medicinal mushroom species, and thanks to the folks over at Radical Mycology, I am now aware of an alternative method of preparing the straw for colonization with mycelium. (more…)

Foraging Fun: Lepista personata

Six weeks ago when there was still foliage on the trees outside of the intern house here at the farm I discovered, collected, identified and consumed my very first field blewit (Lepista personata/L. saeva) growing from an old forgotten pile of straw bales: the start of a compost pile which never received new additions or got turned over. Incredibly, I have been able to return to this same patch twice (including today, November 11th 2015) since my initial observation and collect new mushrooms that have been emerging for the dinner table. (more…)