Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvest: 2014

There may be a killing frost tonight so I spent the day bringing in the last of the sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. A few weeks ago I had harvested spaghetti and butternut squash because their vines had been damaged by earlier frosts that didn't harm tomatoes and peppers. Figure 1 shows the squash and pumpkins under cover where they’ll be safe for a while longer. Squash that doesn't go to a homeless shelter we’ll store in our basement.
Figure 1: Pumpkins, Butternut and Spaghetti Squash Waiting Distribution
During spring 2012 we inoculated cottonwood logs with sawdust in which oyster mushroom mycelium was growing, see Figures 2 & 3. Two months ago we started harvesting quite a few pounds of mushrooms per week from these logs, see Figures 4 & 5. They fruit on their own schedule and we missed quite a few before we learned to check them every day. Mushrooms are super additions to stir fries, sauces and other dishes and, for variety, next spring we plan to inoculate oak logs with shiitake mushroom spawn. Both varieties should keep producing for years until they completely digest the wood they are living in.
Figure 2: Drilling 1.5" deep Holes in Cottonwood Logs

Figure 3: "Pock-marked" Logs Sealed with Red Cheese Wax Covering Holes Filled with Mycelium/Sawdust 
Figure 4: Oyster Mushrooms Growing 17 Months Later

Figure 5: First Harvest of Oyster Mushrooms, Fall 2013
Figure 6: Typical Harvest Every 2-3 Days, October 2014 
This year we had plenty of sweet corn, see Figure 6, but our third planting is not quite ready to harvest in mid October. Shorter days and cool weather slow ripening: the kernels are still small, though edible. Next year for the last planting we'll have to anticipate a growing period longer than the package estimate.
Figure 7: Mid-season Sweet Corn Harvest, 2014