Tree a Week: Chestnut

Characteristics and Fun Facts The chestnuts are a group of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the genusCastanea, and in the beech family Fagaceae. They are native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the four most commonly known species groups are American, European, Chinese, and Japanese chestnuts. Fully grown chestnuts usually reach heights of 16m – 25m tall, however the size of…

This Week’s Project

We arrived at Liza and Simon’s home in Puivert about three weeks ago and have been busy setting up raised beds, pruning trees, feeding animals, chopping fire wood and building access to a future tree bog location. I have finally given into making videos since it’s far easier to show these projects visually than to…

Tree a Week: Hazel

Characteristics and Interesting Facts The hazel (Corylus) is a genus of deciduous trees and large shrubs native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere with 14–18 species . The genus is usually placed in the birch family Betulaceae, though some botanists split the hazels (with the hornbeams and allied genera) into a separate family Corylaceae. Hazel requires a winter chilling period of 800 – 1200 hrs below 7 C (45…

Tree a Week: Elm

Characteristics and Fun Facts Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the flowering plant genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae and grows in variety of climatic conditions. There are about 30 to 40 species of Elm The elm tree originated in what is today’s central Asia spreading over most of the Northern Hemisphere. Most commonly…

Treeline

The winner of Mr Shimasaki’s best cinematography and best documentary award (if there was one) goes to Patagonia’s new film about trees. Superbly shot in the mountains of Japan, British Columbia and Nevada, the sensually framed ancient trees, with insights from scientists, other specialists and a shinto priest, gave me the same feeling of wonder…

Horse Powered Farming

Horses were domesticated about 5,500 years ago and used for agriculture for the last 1000 years. Only a little over a century ago, 90% of all forms of transportation was horse powered. Yet, within a decade after the introduction of internal combustion engine, we shifted dramatically away from the humble animal. From this week, I’m…

Home Mushroom Cultivation – Growth/Harvest

Once the holes were covered in white mat mycelium, I took them outside for 24 hours where the cold shock initiated the mushroom formation called primordia From the best looking 10L bucket containing about 1kg of dried straw as an ingredient, I’ve cultivated 415g of fresh oyster mushrooms on my first flush. With 2 more…

Home Mushroom Cultivation – Inoculating the Substrate

I think it’s important to note at the beginning that these “how to” posts are in no way conclusive and I’m an absolute beginner figuring things out. Indoor mushroom cultivation is, to my great surprise, a relatively new subject and many home level cultivators are performing ongoing experimentation and tweaking different methods. As such, a…

Home Mushroom Cultivation – How to Multiply Spawn

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I began finding the fungi kingdom fascinating but I do vividly remember finding gigantic mushrooms as a child and being mind blown by the beauty and the inherent mystery of it. And like most Japanese kids, my childhood fantasies were littered with images from Ghibli’s Nausicaa where gigantic fungal species…

Sark Experience

Last September, I stayed on a tiny island near Guernsey called Sark for a little over 3 weeks. I was volunteering to help set up a small Permaculture themed festival with music, local beer and workshops. My girlfriend enrolled on a Permaculture Design Course running up to the festival, taught by Aranya who was my…