Print Story yesterday i planted mushrooms
my job continues to be the awesommest thing ever.

it is over so soon.
already we are taking 3+ day weekends. after thanksgiving this marvelous paying experience will be over for the season.

i am learning so much!

now that the Edmonton Net-Zero house is nearly complete, we have finally gotten into the sort of landscaping that i excel at. until last week, we were doing "hardscaping" the earthmoving, brick patio building, driveways, rock wall constructions, and tending the compacted, quack grass infested soil. there were rain barrels and irrigation systems to put in.
i enjoyed learning, but the hard labour is sometimes too much for me. i feel worn out at the end of the week. i have beefed up to unprecedented levels this summer. i have split the shoulder seams of my favourite pinstripe jacket.

the finishing touches are my favourites. i love the final grading. making everything roll and drift and meander away from the house, towards the sidewalks, around the trees and down from the patios. i love the spreading of fragrant compost and mulch. i love the way steam rises out from the pile as you pull shovelfuls off. i love the sound of shovelling compost and mulch. the compost is a light damp swish and the mulch a muted rattle thump swish.
there was a lot of planting to do. we had started with an essentially blank slate, just one Amur maple, two lilacs, one mountain ash and one larch in the far corners of the yard.
the yard was transformed into a "forest garden" the UrFa's signature style.
pear, apple, evan's and nanking cherry trees, and all the fruit producing shrubs, serviceberry (they call it saskatoon berry out here), chokeberry (Aronia), viburnum, currants, gooseberries, roses, honey berry (Lonicera kamchatka) and chokecherry.
there were herbs, flowers and grasses. we even laid out vegetable beds, and seeded a cover crop of buckwheat to prepare the soil for spring.
we sculpted berms and swales, carefully controlling the way the water flowed over the yard.
i tucked an assortment of sedum and sempervivum into the crevasses between the boulders.
each edge was raked and then finished with a perfect little ditch with the corner of the shovel.
all the mulch was fluffed, the plants all tucked in carefully, the mulch arched in little dishes around their stems. the final coat of polymeric sand was jammed into the last cracks and corners of the brickwork.
i made a big mosaic sun icon out of the old bricks that we dug up. the area was a brickyard in edmonton's youth.

the last job was the mushroom planting. my romance with the fifth kingdom continues. there was a large stump and several lovely logs from a spruce that had to be cut down to build the house. a large manitoba maple just down the street had cracked in a storm and had to be cut down. we collected the best pieces. we assembled these in the shadiest corner of the lot. we had a bag of mushroom plug spawn from fungi perfecti, the UrFa started urgently rummaging around in the truck and the toolboxes, looking for a certain size drill bit that we naturally didn't have. we had to drill holes into the logs to hammer in the little dowel that have been inoculated with the fungi. the holes needed to be large enough to fit the plugs in, but the dowels had to fit tight for best results. if the hole was too small, the damp, slightly rotting wood plugs get stuck and then smash when we tried to hammer them in. after much debate, we settled on 11/32.
it took me a while, but i got all 100 holes drilled, hammered in the plugs and capped them with beeswax.

it was fun!
we worked from 8am until 7pm, giddy, delirious and tired. but we got it all done. it looked amazing.
we watered all the plants individually, but what it really needs is some serious rain.
the existing soil had been sun dried and compacted by the loss of cover and the construction. it was a fine silty soil, as riverdale is in the river's floodplain, so it really suffered. we scraped off about 6 - 10 inches of the worst soil and replaced it with soft undamaged soil from an excavation elsewhere in the neighbourhood. that under soil was dry dry dry. the compost and mulch we added were also dry. so was the layer of topsoil/manure/composted bedding we used to top up and improve it. the water was beading off the fine mulch thursday.
i have to return monday to water the new plants and the logs again. i hope it rains. the dry soil will soak up all the water and the plants will dry out too quickly without a good rain to really wet the earth around them.

i wish there were pictures of the landscaping up on the web. it would be nice to show off this great work!

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yesterday i planted mushrooms | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
planting mushrooms by garlic (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 08:32:15 AM EST
 = awesome.

Very cool house by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 10:44:11 AM EST
Someday... someday... 

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

Your house by ni (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 10:48:17 AM EST
is very lovely too. Perhaps you should accessorize with mushrooms.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
I have mushrooms by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 01:14:36 PM EST
Some spectacular ones in fact. 

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Huh! by ni (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 01:24:09 PM EST
What species, and why haven't you displayed photographs of them for public viewing yet?

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
I don't know by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 05:20:29 PM EST
 ...but MJ calls them Evil Mushrooms. We have a lot of different varieties that crop up when it rains.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
I must insist by ni (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 06:00:09 PM EST
on photographs at the next opportunity.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
it is a really super duper cool house by misslake (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 12:39:57 PM EST
net zero energy consumption... in EDMONTON!
it's the farthest north for any solar house in NA.
the landscaping materials were almost all reclaimed/recycled, the stone, the wood, the bricks, even the gravel was old ashphalt and concrete, recrushed back into road grade size aggregates.

the inside is even cooler, it's all lit by LEDs.
there are gorgeous wooden valences that run around the edges of the ceiling, a little ways out from the wall. under them are a strip of LEDs that shine up onto the ceiling, thus illuminating the entire room with this lovely cool soft reflected light. it's like being in a scifi novel. the ceilings just sort of ... glow at the flick of a switch.
and it's cooled in the summer and heated in the winter with the power of the earth and sun.

oh, and the garage can hold 5 smart cars.

[ Parent ]
or by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 01:01:10 AM EST
half a pickup-truck?

[ Parent ]
two thirds of a truck. by misslake (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 03:13:31 PM EST
you can fit a regular sized car in nicely, and then have room for at least 4 bicycles, or a motorcycle.

[ Parent ]
Never heard of planting mushrooms. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:03:10 AM EST
Thanks for the virtual tour!  :)

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I've never seen by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:14:12 AM EST
this before. It looks really fun.

"It's the abstract I deal in; software, and donuts." MohammedNiyalSayeed
hopefully next summer by misslake (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 12:31:48 PM EST
all the logs i planted will be fruiting that way!

you could try it! all you need is some logs or stumps and a bit of luck.

[ Parent ]
Sempervivum by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:38:36 AM EST
Excellent for giving a bit of interest to odd places. I've got a south facing back door where the step and the paving were different radius, a bit of gravel, half a dozen rosettes and a few years to  settle in and now look at it. They've even started colonising the corner of the next step up.

ooooohhhh!! by misslake (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 12:28:53 PM EST
you even have the little white "cobweb" kind!
amazing. i hope the ones i planted settle into their rocky home happily.

[ Parent ]
Arachnoideum by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 01:17:11 PM EST
Bother. I was looking up how to spell that and found this place.

I keep an eye out for interesting ones at garden centres and flower shows, especially if they've got lots of new rosettes. There's several trays and pots around the garden with ones I've broken up and potted on. They are also supposed to be quite easy to grow from seed but I've never managed it.

Yours should be alright as long as they're well wedged in, I suspect the biggest danger is them getting blown out by the wind or dislodged by the weight of snow before their roots have had a chance to get a grip.

[ Parent ]
At the show by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 02:33:39 PM EST
People kept asking if the girl from "Engine Trouble" would be coming.

Jacket Splitting by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #16 Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:18:32 AM EST
I hope this was accompanied by a pure and bestial howl -- or, failing that, at least a good old fashioned Popeye squint.

"I race to the finich 'cause I eats me spinach."

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da.
i am appalled by rhooke (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 05:28:10 PM EST
there was a startling lack of vaginas in this post.

i am in this story. by misslake (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 05:56:52 PM EST
i am in fact the STAR of it.

and i have a vagina.
and it is full of wriggling centipedes, yet distinctly minty fresh.

my vagina is disappointed you don't think of her when you think of me.

[ Parent ]
i am startled by rhooke (4.00 / 1) #21 Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 04:37:18 AM EST
that she can be concerned of my regard of her (fond thoughts, how've you been?) when so filled with centipedes.

that sort of social multitasking is the exact reason why she was homecoming queen and I only made runner-up to Most Likely to Succeed.

[ Parent ]
Sorry I'm late... by nstenz (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 08:58:36 PM EST
...but what's buckwheat?

Fagopyrum esculentum by misslake (2.00 / 0) #20 Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:09:50 PM EST

it's a little viney plant that is really good for covering soil and keeping out weeds. it's soft, and easy to turn under in the spring. it makes a super great cover crop.

it's seeds are delicous, they are ground into flour and used to make buckwheat pancakes and soba noodles.

[ Parent ]
yesterday i planted mushrooms | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback