- Agronomic: rye, wheat
- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Crop Production: forestry
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, study circle, workshop
- Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, solar energy
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, marketing management
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
With the farm expanding, and space for production being a factor, there is a need to use existing spaces and materials in different ways. A currently unused wooden framed greenhouse will provide the perfect location for mushroom cultivation of Italian Oyster Mushrooms (Pluerotus pulmonarius). Only small climate control equipment modifications will be needed to use the wooden framed greenhouse. Reusable substrate totes will be used to contain the substrate, reducing waste. The spent hay is biodegradable reducing farm waste material. To pasteurize the straw substrate it will be boiled and then placed into the totes. The totes will be placed in the unused wooden framed greenhouse to regulate the climate. The wooden framed greenhouse and tote tests deal with existing structures and keeping environmental impact and expenditures to a minimum. The control will also have to reflect keeping environmental impact and expenditures to a minimum. The control will be the traditional cardboard boxes placed in an unsterile, non-controlled climate that will permit mushroom growth without the protection of the wooden framed greenhouse. All substrate will be replicated with the same amount of sterilized straw substrate and grain spawn as each of the shelves in the wooden framed greenhouse. Each substrate holding structure will hold the same amount of substrate that each of the wooden framed greenhouse shelves will hold. The temperature, humidity, rate of growth, size of growth, and competing organisms (molds, other fungus species, parasites, loss of mushroom crops, and yield) will all be measured. Two logs will be kept for each growth location. The logs will measure temperature, humidity, mushroom pinning, cluster size, accumulating molds, diseases, macro organisms, abnormalities, insect pests, and the loss of mushroom crop. A grid system will be used for recording the information. After the mushrooms have depleted the nutrients in the substrate structures the spent substrate straw will be used as compost aiding in vegetable/fruit growth. The project I propose will help expand local small farm diversification using existing equipment, allowing the farmer to grow produce in an unused/off season structure promoting better farm viability.
Project objectives from proposal:
The results will be measured by temperature, humidity, rate of growth, size of growth, and competing organisms (molds, other fungus species, parasites, loss of mushroom crops, and yield). Two logs will be kept for each growth location and pictures will be taken during the mushroom growth. The first log (Page B1) will contain daily temperature and humidity measurements. The temperature can be measured with a thermometer and humidity with a hygrometer. The temperature and humidity will be taken daily at both test areas. Only the wooden framed greenhouse will have temperature and humidity regulated. When and if the mushrooms start pinning the date can be marked at both test areas. A grid system will be used to keep track of each tote. The frequency or amount of pinning can also be taken. When and if the mushrooms pin the size of the cluster grown can be measured with a triangle square. The mushroom clusters will need to be measured daily because of the fast mushroom growth. When it is time to harvest the mushrooms the clusters (yield) will need to be weighed because that is how they are sold.
While the mycelium and mushrooms grow a second log for each sight will be made to note if there are competing organisms and loss of crop. Both test areas will be checked every day for accumulating molds, diseases, macro organisms, abnormalities, and insect pests. The Competing Organism and Loss of Crop Log (Page B2) will be made when there is a problem with the mushroom crop. Pictures will be taken to log accumulating molds, diseases, macro organisms, abnormalities, and insect pests. A comprehensive mushroom grower hand book from Penn State will be used to properly identify molds, diseases, macro organisms, abnormalities, and insect pests. Loss of crop will be noted when part of, or all of, the mushroom cluster is unsalable. The unsalable portion will be measured and logged.