Archive for January, 2012

Mycellium Running

If you haven’t already, anyone interested in mushrooms, cooking & medicine, nature, old growth forests, soil, gardening, composting, farming, saving the earth, and remediation of all types should seriously consider Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets. He’s blazing a path where no one has before and using his findings in the best interest of Nature.

I was interested in trying my hand at cultivating cardboard spawn as per the recommendations from Stamets’ book. I chose the stem-butt and corrugated cardboard approach to run with mycelium.

I chose to experiment with the Phallaceae mushroom, or Stinkhorn, which grows here on the tea farm. I noticed they have a root-like system called the rhizomorph so I thought they might work with this germinating technique. I’m also running with the King Oyster mushroom that the farmer bought for cooking. Even though this oyster mushroom was lacking its root-like rhizomorphs, the mycelium are still running on the cardboard; I was surprised as the book really emphasizes having the rhizomorphs intact, however, it still seems to be working. My only guess is that the spores from the mushroom are what are germinating in this case.

This is an example of the stinkhorn mycelium running on the corrugations of cardboard after about two weeks.

These thread-like networds are essentially what Stamets can use in revolutionary large-scale remediation and filtration projects, among a heavy list of other applications.

I’m not sure what I plan to do with these ones yet. I could simply inoculate more cardboard to make a larger batch of mycelium, or sandwich the already inoculated cardboard between two burlap sacs filled with fresh woodchips, or I could inoculate a layer of fresh woodchips to start a mycelial lens used as a mother patch for transferring mycelium to various locations around the farm. It’s all pretty long term and I won’t be on this farm for that long, so this is really an experiment in the beginning stages of running with mycelium.

Here are some shots of the corrugated cardboard in a durable plastic container. I actually lost these ones a while back and have started cultivating new ones, along with some other mycelium I found around the farm attached to some sticks.

 

It’s great to see how easy it is start a network of mycelium, and to learn about the various applications they serve, from mycofiltration and mycoforestry to gardening, eating, composting and much more.

 

TLC

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SPOIL

 

Well, it’s not about Tea – but it is about Love and Care.

 

Please watch THIS documentary on British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest and then sign THIS petition to stop supertanker traffic and crude oil spills from destroying it.

 

TLC

Brandy Oolong Kombucha and Sweet Roast Lei Cha

On the left, we have Lei Cha, a ground up medley of nuts, seeds, grains, tea, and tea powder brewed in hot water traditionally drunk by the Hakka people of Taiwan. (Click here to see my previous post on Lei Cha with pictures).

I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews, Taiwanese high mountain Jade Oolong Tea, and ground up Sweet Roast (to a fine powder) from Mauna Kea Tea. These ingredients are ground together using a mortar and pestle. This hearty broth is actually quite enjoyable and filling. The batch I made here is a little more crude than the Lei Cha we made in Taiwan, but it’s a good Hawai’i version to start with :)

Pictured above right and below, I made some Kombucha using Ruby 18 Brandy Oolong Tea from Taiwan. Kombucha is a fermented beverage often made with tea. It becomes quite carbonated and takes on a sweet and sour or sugary and vinegar-like taste. This particular batch was my first and it turned out great. I’ve now tried other batches with different tea, but Ruby 18 has proven superior and I will continue to ferment with it.