Farm Update | Oyster Mushroom Cultivation | Fungi and Mycology

This past week, we had the pleasure of participating in a Mushroom Cultivation workshop with Benjamin Dion, founder of the Southwest Florida Mycological Society and left with our very own bag of soon to be white oyster mushrooms.

The Mycelium, or actively growing mushroom culture, was placed on a substrate of sterilized rye grains and induced to grow into those grains. This is called inoculation. Inoculated grains are referred to as spawn.  This spawn is then inter-layered with the damp pasteurized straw inside a sterile bag in a still air environment to prevent contamination and closed to allow the mycelium to colonize. Once we have 100% colonization, then we place it in a “fruiting chamber”, which means another DIY project coming up!

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Now, we wait as the mycelium colonizes the contents inside.  Currently, you can see a white linear area forming just below the “5/8” in this photo taken yesterday (approx 7 days after the bag was innoculated). We will keep you updated as we approach life as amateur mycologists.

Hoping this works out well, then we can try to grow some more as long as there is a fungus among us 🙂

Resource links:

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Farm Update | All about the Strawberries | Festival | Florida Radiance | Camarosa | Fish Tank Heaters | Harvest Baskets

VertiGro installation is nearing the end as all the drip irrigation was added. Next come the misters for heating and the hoop house structure.

Vertigro Drip Installation

Vertigro Drip Installation

Drip Installation

Drip Installation

Vertigro Drip Install

Vertigro Drip Install

 

Radiance Strawberries

Florida Radiance Strawberries

Festival Strawberry

Festival Strawberry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Strawberries are loving the cooler weather.

All 560 strawberry plants seem to have taken. Planted 3 varieties – Camarosa, Festival and Florida Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The tilapia are happy again. We had to add fish tank heaters and heavy exterior tank insulation this week as the water temps started dropping after two nights in a row in the 40s and a day in between with little or no sunshine to warm ambient air up past 58F. They enjoyed the brief sunshine during the day once we hit the 70s again, but will be covered and wrapped each night below 50F.

Red Nile Tilapia with Heater

Red Nile Tilapia with Heater

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 Farmer’s Market at Pelican Preserve was a bit chilly this week, but there were the faithful who braved the cold for their healthy produce.

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These are our two Organic Harvest Baskets for this week.  The one on the left is a $25 Organic Harvest Basket, which includes 2 lettuces, corn, green beans, rainbow carrots, apples, shallots, potatoes, radish and a choice of cranberries, pie pumpkin or roma tomatoes.  The one on the right is a $20 Organic Harvest Basket, which includes 2 lettuces, corn, green beans, rainbow carrots, apples, shallots, and potatoes. To sign up for the Buying Club, click here and to buy either one click here.

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Farm Update | Prepping Strawberries for Planting | Installing VertiGro Towers | DIY Compost Bin

Rolling Fish Tanks

Rolling Fish Tanks

Our quest for strawberries started with rolling the fish tanks through the greenhouse to the planned fish house area.

 

 

 

 

Those really are not crop circles, just where the fish tanks were previously stored.

Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field

Vertigro stakes

Vertigro stakes

 

Next was putting in the stakes for the posts

 

 

 

 

This is what happens when Farmer Tim is left alone too long - selfies :)

This is what happens when Farmer Tim is left alone too long – selfies 🙂 or maybe it was all the math from laying out the stakes and posts!!

Vertigro Posts

Vertigro Posts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepping Strawberries

Prepping Strawberries

Lots of Vertigro Pots

Vertigro Posts

Vertigro Posts

The strawberries arrived dormant and refrigerated

 

 

 

 

 

Vertigro in the Rain

Vertigro in the Rain

Strawberry Planting station

Strawberry Planting station

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vertigro Post install

Vertigro Post install

Strawberry Planting

Strawberry Planting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting progress

Planting progress


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planted 180 Camarosa strawberries and 143 Florida Radiance.


DIY Composting Bins made from ordinary pallets. We simply screwed three pallets together to make the sides and back. For the front we added a couple planks to the side of the pallets to create a stacking front wall that can be raised or lowered as you go to make adding materials (and later removing compost) easier. This is a hot compost bin and will be added to for an entire year, then allowed to sit for one year and used for plantings the year after that.

DIY Pallet Compost Bin

DIY Pallet Compost Bin

We also built a bin to hold hay and/or our brown matter to make our lives easier.

Hay Bin for Composting

Hay Bin for Composting

Composting

Composting

Farm Update | Farmers Market | VertiGro Class | Honey and the Bees

 

Farmers Market at Pelican Preserve

Farmers Market at Pelican Preserve

 


 Vertigro Class

Vertigro Class (Tim and Tim)

 

 Vertigro Class

Vertigro Class

Vertigro Class

 

 

 

Vertigro Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Honey and the Unhappy Bees

Our hives were getting honey bound, so we pulled a couple frames of honey today. Leaving the hives a bit unhappy and confused. Lucky for us, they gladly make more.

Full Frame of Honey

Full Frame of Honey

 

Unhappy Bees

Unhappy Bees

Unhappy Bees

Unhappy Bees

Farm Update | Endwalls with Lower Purlins | Pickling | 12 Seasons Farm Tour | Laying Hens

Endwalls and Purlins Done

Endwalls and Purlins Done

Endwalls and Purlins Done

Endwalls and Purlins Done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pickled Shallots, Jalapeños and Cucumbers

Pickled Shallots, Jalapeños and Cucumbers


 

12 Seasons Farm

12 Seasons Farm

We visited Danny and his family at 12 Seasons Farm in Olga. They are a very giving family in spirit and knowledge. We purchased some strawberry plants from them, shared lunch and helped plant a few of their strawberries at their planting party.


Rhode Island Red Laying

Rhode Island Red Laying

Americauna Laying

Americauna Laying

Farm update | Microgreens are here | Winter Beekeeping Workshop

Radish Microgreens

Radish Microgreens

So nutritious…if you haven’t tried them yet, please stop by one of our farmers markets for a tasting. You won’t believe what you’ve been missing if you don’t at least give them a try. Since they haven’t expended all their energy on building leaves and roots, all the nutritional benefits are packed into their tiny stem and cotyledons. You can eat just a few and get the benefits of it’s full size counterpart. Recent studies have shown positive results that they are nutritional powerhouses. Spinkle a few on your salad and sandwich and you will be amazed at their great fresh taste.

Sunflower Microgreens

Sunflower Microgreens

 

We generally have sunflower, china rose radish, broccoli, kale and wheat grass along with others that we rotate out like onion, fenugreek, red clover, alfalfa, buckwheat, barley, pea tendrils, and more. All chemical-free from organic, pathogen tested seeds.

Click here to order

Young Wheatgrass

Young Wheatgrass


 

The Lee County Beekeepers Association held a free workshop at our farm for members of the FSBA (Florida State Beekeepers Association) on how to prepare your hives for the winter and store you gear without being invaded by the wax moths that can do 100s of dollars of damage to your boxes, frames and foundations.

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Robert Hartman, president of the Lee County Beekeepers Association

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Farm Update | Fresh Eggs | Fish Tank Cleaning Day

Farm Fresh Eggs

GreenView Aquaponics  Farm Fresh Eggs               in green, blue and brown


 

African Nightcrawler Worms

African Nightcrawler Worms crawled up during transplanting the peppers.


 

Blue Tilapia Tank Cleaning Day

Blue Tilapia on Fish Tank Cleaning Day or as we affectionately call it Maintenance Monday

 

Red Tilapia

Red Tilapia on Fish Tank Cleaning Day

Farm Update | Last Endwall | Farm Fresh Eggs | Drying Basil

Last Endwall

Last Endwall, now comes the upper and lower purlins


 

GreenView Aquaponics Farm Fresh Eggs

GreenView Aquaponics Farm Fresh Eggs in blue, green and brown

Lots of Eggs

Lots of Eggs, looks like the Rhode Island Reds all laid in the same nest box this morning.


 

Drying Basil

Drying Basil

Drying Basil

Drying Basil

Farm Update | Day in the life of a farmer

Check on the honey bees. Rained the past three days. They are VERY happy it is sunny again.

Check on the honey bees. Rained the past three days. They are VERY happy it is sunny again as they try to dry out their hives.

Harvest celery and three kinds of basil

Harvest Celery and three kinds of Basil – genovese, citrus and dark opal – lots and lots! May have to dry some for the upcoming markets.

Plant more lettuce to start the fall rotations. Just waiting for the cooler weather!

Plant four kinds of lettuce and some other heirlooms to start the fall rotations. Just waiting for the cooler weather!

 


 

Feed and water the chickens, then collect the eggs. Beautiful!

Feed & water the chickens, then collect eggs.  What beautiful colors – brown, blue, and green eggs!

 


 

Feed the hungry blue nile tilapia

Feed the hungry blue nile tilapia and check the water by testing it’s parameters.

Feed the hungry red nile tilapia

Feed the red nile tilapia, check the water flow rate and time the auto siphon.

 


 

Watch the Black Soldier Fly lay her eggs for the next explosion of larvae in the biocomposter

Watch the Black Soldier Fly lay her eggs for the next explosion of larvae in the biocomposter

Farm update | NEW BioChar Stove | TLUD gasifier

Our dear friend, Christoph, from BioChar Central delivered a CharBot (BioChar stove) this weekend. We are soooo excited! Heat index was only 103F …smokin’ hot, but nothing stopped us from the test burn.

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Farmer Tim and Christoph from BioChar Central from Atlanta, GA

The DIY BioChar stove that we previously built is known as a retort style kiln. The new one is a TLUD (top lit up draft) gasifier. Both use pyrolysis to convert the biomass to char via the process of carbonization.

The retort process is anoxic (without oxygen) and essentially bakes the raw biomass to drive off the volatiles and tarry gasses. Due to this anoxic procedure, the biochar produced can vary significantly from batch to batch and even within the same batch due to temperature variations inside that cannot be controlled using the retort.

TLUD CharBot BioCharCentral.com

TLUD CharBot BioCharCentral

The TLUD is a gasifier in which the dry biomass is transformed into combustible gasses and charcoal in a zone that is distinctly and controllably separate from where the volatile gasses are combusted, which makes it a much more controlled burn and that’s important at 600C.

Yes, there’s a lot of technical minutia in the world of biochar. One last and most important thing to know is that when the material comes out of the stove, it is simply Char…this char must be charged with compost or other organic, microbe and nutrient rich materials for at least 30 days to become the beneficial biochar that’s raved about as a soil amendment.

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But wait there’s more – over 50 uses for biochar!  Now you know why we love this stuff!

BioChar Soil Benefits

Soil Functions of BioChar                                                                      Info courtesy of BioCharCentral