July 25th Meeting and How to Grow Mushrooms Class

Homestead Lady,  did an awesome write up on our July Class and meeting so I’ve copied and pasted her blog entry with her permission (just FYI Homestead Lady is also the president of Salt Lake County Seed Swap):

How to Grow Mushrooms in Utah!

by Homestead Lady on July 12, 2013

biocentricThis one is for the Utah people!

The Salt Lake County Seed Swap is hosting Biocentric Bros, Utah’s Own Mushroom growers, as they teach us how to grow mushrooms in Utah both indoors and out.  The class will be held at our homestead in South Jordan on July 25th (yes, the day after Pioneer Day) at 7pm and should run about an hour to an hour and a half.  Everyone is invited; you do NOT have to be a member of the Swap to attend the class.  (Although, you’re very welcome to join – it’s free and has many privileges!)  The best way to RSVP (a must to get the address) is to leave me a message and I’ll email you the information you’ll need.  You can also go to the Facebook page for the Swap and rsvp on the events page, which will have a description of the class and a place to say you’re coming.

Chase, of Biocentric Bros (yes, they’re actually brothers – I asked; plus they have a good friend helping out), says that they’ll bring kitsbiocentric 2 to get us started, if we’re interested in purchasing some.  Each kit is $20 or you can buy three for $50.  That night, they’ll have Reishi, Shiitake, King Oyster, Wild Oyster, Elm Oyster and Lion’s Mane available.  They originally got into growing mushrooms and, more broadly, gardening as they started thinking more about the health of the food they ate.  You can read a write up the Salt Lake Tribune did on them last year here; you can click on the photos for photo credit from the article.  Biocentric also has a website but they’re so busy growing awesome things to put much content in – it’s mostly there to give you a way to contact them and access their Facebook page.   I follow them on Facebook and they’ll tell you when they have something fun going on – they just got t-shirts made, for instance.  Who wouldn’t love a mushroom t-shirt?!

biocentric 3Can I just tell you how excited I am about this class?!   These guys did what us homesteaders are so, so, so familiar with – they read books, got some gear and tried it out!  Now, several years later, they’re successfully selling at the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market and teaching others how to grow their own.  I love people who grow food, don’t you?  I’ve wanted to know how to grow mushrooms for so long but was always too intimidated.  Every time I think about it I get visions of old growth forests in the mist, but I don’t happen to have any old growth forests in the mist.  This is Utah.  It’s dry.  A bit.  Mushrooms are like magic in the world of plants, though; they take dead materials and turn them into useable organics.  Plus, there’s all this wonderful growing and “blooming” taking place without a single root or a speck of dirt; genetic tests even seem to indicate that mushrooms are more closely related to animals than they are to plants.  For all our knowledge in Botany and Biology, the Fungi kingdom still baffles us on so many levels.  Did you know some mushrooms glow in the dark?  Yeah, I don’t know that those are legal to sell in Utah; this ain’t California, man.

If you’re in Utah, please feel free to join us; remember, you don’t have to be a member of the Swap to attend classes.  I must have a headcount, though so be sure to leave me a message if you’d like to rsvp.  See you there!

Here is the event link.

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Ron Finley: Food Forest

“This film tells the story of a South Los Angeles edible garden planted in a surprising spot. Ron Finley, its planter, constructed the garden the way he wishes his neighborhood could be. And his vision of re-purposing unused open space, like that of many others working together on urban agriculture in our city, should inspire us all, and remind us of how, with a little creativity of vision, and willingness to get our hands dirty, we can remake spaces defined by asphalt and dead grass into productive places of beauty.”

Allan Savoy: How to Green the Desert and Reverse Climate Change

“Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.”

Utah Seed Exchange – 1st Annual Planting Festival

Utah Seed Exchange 1st Annual Planting Festival will be on May 4th, 2013 at Allred Orchards, 2109 North University Avenue, Provo.  There is no charge for this event thanks to the generosity of Allred Orchards, vendors, and class instructors.  Times will be announced soon.  This event is open to the public.

There will be numerous classes from experts throughout the day on topics such as soil health, seed saving and the best vegetables to grow in Utah.  All will be taught with an emphasis on organic, sustainable gardening methods by instructors such as Caleb Warnock, author of ‘Backyard Winter Gardening; Vegetables Fresh and Simple, in any Climate without Artificial Heat or Electricity’, and Michelle Roberts who runs Roberts Ranch, an organic, sustainable farm in Spanish Fork.
Logan from Woodheadgardens.com in Orem will be teaching a class on Vermiculture.  That is red worm composting, they quickly compost your scraps, and give you some of the best compost there is!  If you’d like to purchase worms and pick them up at the festival, email Logan at dirthead@woodheadgardens.com what you want, and that you want to get them at the festival, and he’ll bring them for you.  They are $15 for 1/2 pound of worms, which is about 1000 worms.  It’s plenty to get you going, they multiply rapidly after a bit.
Alex Grover, the owner of Utah Sustainable Gardening will be teaching a class on organic methods of pest and disease control.
They are bringing together the heirloom, organic start growers in Utah in one place to make shopping for your plant starts easy and fun.   There will be lots of different varieties of plants available including herbs, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, melons and heirloom strawberries.  Let’s support our local growers who are doing it right!  There will also be other organic growing products available.
Details will be updated on their website at utahseedexchange.org .

Salt Lake County Seed Swap – Local Seed Bank and Classes by Shad Enghilterra

Lovely article by Shad Enghilterra in Ingredients Magazine  about the Salt Lake County Seed Swap and what we do.

“The group has a seed bank that people are able to trade with or members can borrow from.  They do need to give seeds back from the next harvest. Membership in the Seed Swap is simply filling out a form.  Classes are usually scheduled for the last Thursday of the month.  Everyone is welcome, and there is usually a seed swap at the end of the learning experience.”

To read more:

http://www.ingredientsmagazineslc.com/issues/issue12/articles/seedswap12a.html

Salt Lake County Seed Swap March Class – March 29

Local – Salt Lake County, Utah   Friday, March 29th
7:00 – 8:30 P.M.
The March class will be on techniques for early season gardening, including a section on the end about saving seed from lettuce and the special challenges of saving seed from spinach and how early season growing can minimize them, Clarence Whetten, Advanced Master Gardener, will be teaching.  The class will be at the Conservation Garden Park in West Jordan:

Farmers’ lack of bees might be solved by going wild

“The findings have important implications for agricultural and land-use policies worldwide, said study leader Lucas A. Garibaldi, an agricultural scientist at the National University of Rio Negro in Argentina: Unless habitats for wild insects are protected and nurtured, farmers around the world could face a future of drastically lower yields.

Scientists have long warned that plowing landscapes into vast, single-crop fields and orchards eliminates the range of soil, wildflowers and other vegetation that is crucial to support multiple species of wild pollinators, including bees, flies, beetles and butterflies. As these insect populations have dwindled, farmers have resorted to using rented interlopers, generally Apis mellifera, during flowering season.

“Honeybees cannot replace the service wild bees provide,” Garibaldi said. “Biodiversity in agricultural landscapes matters and can help increase production.”

To read the full article go here:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/28/science/la-sci-wild-pollinators-20130301