We will be launching a membership section to the web site. Upon completing the SARE grant we realized more questions needed to be answered about the production of shiitake mushrooms. Without any public funding we decided to answer those questions at our expense of time and risk. To reward our work we plan to offer a membership to the farm that would allow you to review the results of our test projects. More information on membership will be posted in the near future.
Our current projects are:
I built the pasturizer to heat my growing media to kill molds, bugs, and what ever else might be in there that could cause harm to my new plants. 160F will kill all of those things. In March with tempatures at 60F I was reaching hot box tempatures of 180F. Later this summer I hope to use it to pasteurize straw to grow oyster mushrooms on. I will have to make some changes to the unit because of the high tempatures. It is melting the interior plastic. As soon as I get all the kinks worked out I plan to offer the "How To Build It" on the membership section of this site.
2. Shiitake Production Test
This test has two goals in mind. They are as follows:
Each group has 50 logs, divided into two groups of 25. Group "A" is colored coded as yellow, Group "B" as white and Group "C" as green. Group "A" is being soaked for 24 hours every three weeks, group "B" is being soaked every six weeks and group "C" is being soaked every nine weeks. The purpose of this test is to compare labor and production. We are using a spawn strain "510" from the Mushroom People in this test. This test will end when we get mushrooms from all three sections. The test results will display the man-hours it took to soak and restack each group compared to the production of mushrooms in each group. The 1st of July we will weigh the logs in each section so we can have a realistic comparison of log weight and production. We expect this experiment to be completed by the end of August 08.
This part of the experiment we are testing the ideal of preventive treatment verses no treatment. As noted in the SARE grant Trichaderma has been a major cause of log infections and farming production failures. We have started using a OMRI listed product called OxiDate. This product is a effective agent in killing the trichaderma infection. After each section is being soaked we are treating 25 logs in each group. The logs that have been painted are not being treated. We hope to determine if pre-treatment is necessary. We are currently treating our logs in the non-test section of the farm only when we see a foreign fungus on the logs. This test will end when we get man hours/production test completed.
3. I am calling this experment: Field and Forest
I wanted to try a new spawn company and only needed two bags of spawn. Field and Forest want me to compare two different spawn types to see witch I thought was best. On the left side I have 50 logs using the spawn type " Night Velvet" on the right side I have 50 logs using "West Wind" type. Both are summer spawn and will take 9 to 12 months before the first mushrooms come. I am also taking note of the fact that the Night Velvet logs are facing North and the West Wind logs are facing south. Could that make a difference? We will see if it does. Another add on to this group is that in each group 10 logs were taken and both ends of the logs were dipped in wax. I did this after I soaked them once. The reason for this test is: I seen a publication by a major southern university that made waxing the ends of the logs as part of their training manual. This really surprised me. It is the ends that take in water to keep the log moist. The wax would prevent that. on the other hand maybe it helps to keep foreign fungus out. I will be comparing the waxed logs to logs in their group of the same size, we will monitor log health and production. This experiment could last 24 months end date June 2010