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I'm building out my community garden concept this year, and was wondering how I can use square food gardening to grow mushrooms in the walking paths, and vegetables on the sides with none of the same plant roots touching unless they're on the same plant while incorporating the layering technique (like a forest).

I plan to hugel mound where the plants grow to and in the paths put about 2 inches of manure, then 3-4 inches of wood chips, then some 2-3 inches of hay, then about 1 inch of wood chips above that. with a holy watering pipe on one end on the lower layer of wood chips to aid in water distribution (think of the Geoff Lawton Jordan project with rotational weekly produce aisle).

  • Can you please explain what the Geoff Lawton Jordan project is, or post a link to it? Maybe a lot of people know what it is, but I've never heard of it. Thanks! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Mar 18 '18 at 19:50
  • @Sue youtube.com/watch?v=2xcZS7arcgk – black thumb Mar 18 '18 at 20:53
  • There seem to be a number of different concepts that you're trying to mix up together. I doubt anyone is clear on what you're trying to achieve. – Graham Chiu Mar 18 '18 at 23:56
  • @GrahamChiu the basics of what I'm trying to do is put plants in with just enough room to squeeze through without damaging the plants much if I do damage them. – black thumb Mar 19 '18 at 3:06
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The King Strophoria (Stropharia rugosa-annulata) (aka Wine Cap) is ideally suited for this. I'm not exactly sure why you would want manure under chips for the path - it seems like this would dramatically speed up the decomposition of the chips and increase the need to replenish.

That said, you could easily intercrop with Wine Caps in the wood chip paths and/or straw mulch under various plants.

The species is cold hardy and perennial as long as you add some new chips at the end of the summer. They fruit best in spring (in my experience) but will do so again in the fall.

If you look at mushroom spawn vendors there are other varieties that they recommend for intercropping. There are great benefits to having strong mycelial networks in your garden soil, including increased organic matter, nutrient transport and possibly exchange, making soil more resistant to erosion while also improving water infiltration. Definitely worth adding to your plan.

  • i want the wood chips to break down fast, but how wide should the aisle be? – black thumb Mar 19 '18 at 18:08
  • As a general rule we do not go less than 3' across in garden paths, and we try to leave 4' so that you can get a cart/wheelbarrow in there and still have space to work. If you inoculate a section of a path with king strophoria, it may take more than a year to fully colonize - BUT they can really produce great quantities of mushrooms. – That Idiot Mar 19 '18 at 20:28
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Since mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of hidden mycelial networks then they don't suit the square foot gardening paradigm which allocates a square foot for different plants as mushrooms need to be grown as a monoculture if you want a decent crop. The larger the network the more resilient the mushrooms are as they act as a single organism. So you don't want intercropping, and you don't want water falling onto mushrooms as they pin.

And since you have woodchips you'll undoubtedly get other fungi popping up which will compete.

  • how wide should the aisle be – black thumb Mar 19 '18 at 5:49

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