What kind of critters can eat wood chip fungi substrate after it is done producing mushrooms? Worms? BSF? Crayfish? Fish?
My idea is to connect a bed full of garden oyster mushrooms to an aqauponics system. The mushrooms should help the plants to grow even better than usual in aquaponics, perform all sorts of buffering and protective functions, provide another yield, and benefit from the shade of the plants and the humidity of the aquaponics system.
But straw, hay, and cardboard are all likely to have contaminants in them. This would not bother me in a normal way; but I would not want to feed this stuff directly to things. Though the fungi might have done any chemicals in anyhow by that point. And I am worried about those new herbicides which stay toxic just about forever.
Is there any way to select for fungi to break them down?
Anyway, I can get fairly uncontaminated wood chips. Can fungi transform them into something edible for anything besides termites? I would bet on worms, which could them be fed to the fish. So the aquaponics system would be turning inedible wood chips into edible (for fish) worms.
Of course, I could then maybe use the spent substrate from the fish system to fuel an vermiponic system!
The persistent herbicides that don't break down in compost all negatively effect either legumes, nightshades, or both, so it is pretty easy to test to see if your materials are contaminated buy planting peas and tomatoes in buckets full of the stuff. And, yes, worms will love the rotted wood.
I read it, but it is back at some library right now. (My library can get me any book, but it can take a while, and sometimes one has to be persistent. "But the only copy is in Ohio." "But you got a book for me from Virginia before." etc.)
It was a really interesting book, and showed me a whole new dimension of things. Unfortunately, if he addressed my question, I have forgotten it.
That's the problem; I have read stacks and stacks of stuff. It is impossible to remember it all. At least they give me a general idea of what questions to ask!
I don't have a scientificish answer for you, but I'd suggest you try to find the purpose the substrate is best suited for. Fungi do an excellent job breaking down woody material to make soil compounds - why not use them directly as a soil amendment and grow crops for your animals? Have you seen the Back to Eden video? He uses deep layers of chip mulch to build soils - your rotted mulch already has an excellent start in this process. You have the added potential bonus of occasional flushes of mushrooms.
Think about where else you see woody material that has undergone fungal decay - the forest floor. You don't see animals coming along and eating rotted twigs and leaves, presumably because all the easily accessible carbohydrates have been consumed by the fungi.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
Location: Denver, CO
posted 6 years ago
I agree with you- about wood chips. I have heard of people feeding mushroom decomposed straw to tillapia, and liked that idea.
However, if I fed the wood chips to worms, I would get a soil amendment AND fish food; the worms!
Mushroom digested wood chips are the absolute bottom of the food chain. From there it starts to go back up. The first trophic level above the fungi that are living off dead tissue of other fungi are fungus gnat larvae. Bacteria and protozoans can also clean up dead fungal cells that have been shed; bacteria by digesting what's on the surface, protozoans by ingesting whole cells. Also in this first trophic level are earthworms which will ingest everything, living or not, and use whatever they can. So your idea to use it for worm raising media is a good one -- go for it!
I don't know about wood chips, but if you have spent mushroom logs and wait a few years the bugs move in something fierce. I bet fish would eat pill bugs and termites in a heart beet. Chickens sure do.
In the Geoff Lawton video series, the video named "Feeding chickens without grain" at about 3:20 Karl Hammer from Vermont Compost describes "chickens pulling the mycelium from the compost piles like little electricians" which is what I immediately thought of after reading the thread, the link is below, all of Geoff's videos are great and well worth watching.
Different mycelium grow on different substrates, and depending on certain factors such as the constituents of the compost and how long the compost had been decomposing, different mycelium will be present. Oyster mushrooms are a primary decomposer, after it dies another type of fungi will come and continue to decompose the substrate. These are called secondary decomposers and tertiary decomposers these can be found in compost piles and on the forest floor. (Stamets: "Mycelium Running" Ch.1 p.21, 22)
So my thought is that the mycelium that the chickens were eating in the video was a secondary decomposer, so if you compost the spent substrate, you can then have chickens forage for it as well as bugs etc.
Apparently Geoff is working on adapting this technique to the smaller homestead scale and making a video so that should be really cool.
Any spot that you put down a "woody" or straw mulch, 2+ times a year, is an excellent candidate for growing Garden Giants and Shaggy Manes... Repasturize the oyster SMS and broadcast over the above area(s).
There are lots of good suggestions here already, but I thought I might mention that cows can apparently eat the myceliated straw from spent oyster mushroom projects. Paul Stamets also says that "wormy" King Stropharia mushrooms can be tossed into a pond and that the fish will bump into the floating mushrooms to dislodge the fungus gnat larvae for food! (I've never seen this!)
In my own experience, after a few years the wood chips in a King Stropharia or Oyster bed turn into a rich, dark soil that earthworms love. In fact, I have to struggle to keep earthworms out of my King Stropharia or Shiitake cultivation projects because they love to eat the mycelium. Pillbugs always infest old King Stropharia beds and we all know how much chickens love to eat those bugs. I hope this helps...
"In a fruit forest everyone is happy"- Sepp Holzer