Oyster Mushrooms, coffee, rooftop soil and cancer killing..

Well, good news. I have, through a contact at the Korean Natural Horticultural Institute been given the contact details for a mushroom spore supplier. This is good news as I was thinking if I wanted to do anything with fungi I would have to import spores from FungiPerfecti in Washington State, USA.  Customs would have been a big headache. It always is with introduced organisms.

Why mushrooms? Why coffee? Why soil? Why cancer killing?

Let’s address the first question, why mushrooms?

I highly recommend the work of Paul Stamets, owner operator of FungiPerfecti and all round mushroom messiah. His book Mycelium Running is a eco-toolkit on how to repair the world and ourselves using fungi. Topics include, how to replace pesticides with insect eating fungi, how to remove heavy metals and other compounds from contaminated soil using mushrooms, how to prevent toxic water and silt from runoff from farms and clear felled hills from damaging bodies of water using nothing but mushrooms.

So, that’s why mushrooms. Now the easiest mushroom to start with is the Oyster Mushroom. This will grow on just about anything.  And when it is finished digesting whatever you feed it, well then you have mushrooms but you also have other outputs as well.

Why Soil?

Mushrooms are decomposition agents, they take something born out of soil, which is pretty much terrestrial everything that’s not mined, and returns it to a state of being soil.  This is important for me as a rooftop gardener since I need to develop resources without buying them so that this process can be utilized under conditions of extreme financial deprivation.  Additionally, if Rooftop Farms are to take off in a big way, the system needs to have deep roots. These roots in my conception will be deep in the organic waste streams of cities.

I also need to power my roof like a machine so that yields will be significantly higher than if I just put the garden on the roof and left it.  The business of creating soil in this fashion turns food material back into energy, and that energy can be utilized to power the system.  What do I mean by this? Well a basic example would be worm and compost teas. Both of which will supercharge my garden.

Why Coffee?

Since I work at a university and uni students run on caffeine, there is an enormous untapped waste stream readily available right on my doorstep. I merely need to stretch out my hand and take it. Once the roots of the roof are in the bins of restaurants and coffee shops, we should be able to grow rooftop gardens with very few additional resources required and nothing bought.

Cancer Killing

Mushrooms create a wide variety of medicinal substances.  Some of the effects are cancer fighting, bacteria fighting, cholesterol reduction and anti-angiogenesis.  So growing mushrooms has many benefits.

We start this month..



  1. Dan said,

    March 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Ian, I love the idea and are very interested in your progress, have you taken any pictures of how and what your doing? Also how long of a growing pprogress or harvest time does it take, I would think they grow very quickly?

    • May 29, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Dan,

      We live in a world that is far from green. Progress is pretty slow but continuous. It’s mostly a question of continuing to put one foot in front of another. I only recently got access to a roof, after being turfed off one (pun intended) by the owner. He, like most people I meet, doesn’t understand what a bind we are in, both globally and locally. Oh well, soldier on..

      There has been progress, but there’s little to photograph or video at present.



  2. MMC said,

    June 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    May I suggest you check out “wicking beds”. They might be a good option for roofs.

    I have more stuff on them, if you like at libertyson11 at yahoo.com

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