John Suavecito

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since May 09, 2010
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Food forest in a suburban location. Teaches grafting and helps people learn how to grow food. Involved with a local food exchange group. Shares cuttings and knowledge with schoolchildren.
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Recent posts by John Suavecito

Denise, there are many other threads in this forum on those topics.
John S
PDX OR
1 day ago
Good point, Chris. Most professionals I've read from or talked to would say you should drill it with mycelium within one month.  Some say 2 weeks, some say 3 weeks.  I usually start before a month because it might take me a few weeks to finish those logs.  Of course, if where you live it is solidly frozen for the whole time, you might be able to go longer than a month.  I think that they say cut in the spring as the flow starts because that is when it has the most sugars in them that the mycelium can grow on.  Of course, that's for full time mushroom farmers. Many of us have other things to do, kids, spouses, full time other work, friends, other hobbies, etc.   Sometimes we can get it for free.  Spring is my busiest part of the year, and I live in a mild winter area, so I am more likely to cut or drill in the winter.
John S
PDX OR
1 day ago
The tiny volume of biochar is why I moved from retorts to TLUD in a 55 gallon drum.  Please see other threads.   Many have other procedures for their sites.  Straw is a great amendment, but it will biodegrade quicklly into the soil.  I prefer not to till or redig the garden numerous times. That's why I dig the biochar in about 2-10 inches deep, as Greg was alluding to. Correctly made biochar should remain effective for 500 years at least. That's why it's a great way to sequester carbon in our age of Climate change.   Sounds like a great experiment, Paul, sorry to hear about the need for chemo.  I always like to hear results of experiments like this.  Wet clay is one of the best motivations to use biochar. It drains well, but retains microbes and nutrients.  We have heavy clay and lots of rain in the winter half of the year.  Many of our plants will die or fail if we don't amend the soil to prevent disease and drowning of plants and microbes.

John S
PDX OR
2 days ago
It really depends on your climate.  I live in a mild winter climate, so I mostly plug my logs in the winter, because that's when I have the most time.  It doesn't really snow here.

Yes, SoCal is rough for most mushrooms, but there are some that could be grown there.  Mushrooms like cool and wet, not hot and dry.
John S
PDX OR
2 days ago
Western Red Cedar is perhaps the worst tree to try to grow mushrooms on.  The reason that it is prized for its long lasting wood for decks is because it has natural anti-fungal compounds in it.  That makes it very difficult to intentionally grow fungus in it.  I would make fencing, decks, raised bed sides or any type of project for which you want the wood to last a long time without toxins.

John S
PDX OR
2 days ago
From everything I've read, tiny roots in undisturbed soil, perhaps with the help of mycorizhae, can unlock the water in something like a chunk of wood or biochar. It would be hard to imagine that they hadn't figured that out over the millions of years.
John S
PDX OR
5 days ago
Paul Wheaton has said that he believes biochar is effective in warm areas and hugulkultur is effective in cold areas.  

I think that both can be effective in both places.

John S
PDX OR
6 days ago
I agree with you, Sam Rellim.

I have posted this elsewhere in this forum.  In your case, larger clumps makes more sense.  When it tends toward dry, large clumps are better, to retain moisture in the soil.   I wonder if the biochar gets inoculated more slowly this way,  and if it becomes effective and helpful more slowly this way.  I am extrapolating from how when you put uninoculated char into your soil, it is less effective for the first year or so, before eventually becoming biochar and helping the soil.   It seems that the inside of a large clump would become inoculated more slowly.  

I live in a frequent rainfall area and we have clay soil, so my strategy would be different than yours.  

John S
PDX OR
6 days ago
I think that's a valuable observation, Trace.  I have read that and I think about it while using my biochar.  I guess old wood is the same way.  Drains in  excess water situations allowing oxygen exchange, but retains some moisture in a drought. Optimal both ways.

John S
PDX OR
6 days ago