Apartment homesteading?

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white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Check out lentein. It’s my understanding that it’s the commercially produced duckweed protein powder.

mathiverse
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by mathiverse »

white belt wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:12 am
This past week I’ve experimented with my thermostat set to 63 during the day and 60 at night. During the day I usually wear a t shirt, long sleeve, sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, and slippers. I actually quite like it and now feel pretty much the same as when I had the thermostat set 67 to 70 degrees (I just have more layers on). I feel more in touch with the seasons, although in my current area the winters are mild (days in 40s/50s and nights in 30s).
Have you noticed the lower indoor temperature affecting your microgreen yields?

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Mathiverse

The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that lower temperatures do slow down growth but yields seem similar. So it just means add a day or 2 to germination and harvest dates compared to growing at summer indoor temps in the 70-75 range (right now I’m growing in the 60-65 range). It’s not a major issue though since I’ve only been growing brassicas which do well in cooler temps anyway.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:02 pm
@Alphaville

Check out lentein. It’s my understanding that it’s the commercially produced duckweed protein powder.
i fear plant protein powder after my hemp experience 🥴

but i wanna try the plain veggie first, and go from there. maybe i'll buy some to eat and see what happens. have seen them sold as "water lentils" also, but mostly "for pets".

===

now there's an indoor worm bin i like for the aesthetics ("hot frog") but before committing that level of funds or embark on complicated diy build with no tools or workshop space i need to see how i do worms in a simple setup.

don't have room for giant crates and would like to fit a small container under the sink. anybody here keeping worms under the sink?

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

You might be able to find Wolffia Arrhiza or Wolffia Globosa at an Asian market because they are popular in SE Asian cuisine. I just took a chance and bought a TBSP of Wolffia Arrhiza on eBay for $15 so I'll let you know how that goes. Pet stores are another option, but you might end up with Lemna Minor, which is a different species of duckweed and not as suitable for human consumption.

For worms, I just used an existing plastic bin I had and a drill, no special tools or workshop needed. I think the ERE gods might smite you if you buy a commercial product version. My bin isn't under the sink, but I followed these instructions which include a smaller bin option as well: https://homegrown.extension.ncsu.edu/wp ... -sheet.pdf

Just remember the rule of thumb is a worm bin can eat one pound of food a week for every 1 sqft of surface area, so plan accordingly.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

thanks dude!

yeah the sizing etc is what im trying to figure under the sink. plus the holes. plus i'd prefer a single tray cuz it's just to see if they live. if they survive, they get a condo.

btw, i don't have my drill here, so i ended up buying some gimlets online. i like them, they take up little space, super sharp, look a bit like old school keys.

as for a possible worm condo: if it's out of sight, i can diy; if it's in the middle of the room the ere gods will have to deal with the compromises of modern décor, ha ha ha. i mean it's still crap plastic but it looks cool--besides, the molding actually serves multiple functions like keeping humidity etc. but we'll see.... small bucket first, then on to the next iteration, there will be time to think.

asian market--will check.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

As I’m waiting to harvest my second flush of oyster mushrooms which looks more successful, I’ve been doing more research on mushrooms. At first, I was mostly looking at them as a nice umami flavor and supplemental food ingredient rich in micronutrients, which I still think is a great use for them. That is certainly how I am starting out.

However, I’ve since discovered that certain mushrooms (particularly white button and shiitake) are actually very good sources of protein. You get something like 10 grams of complete protein for every ½ to ¾ lb of raw white button mushrooms (this are the most common mushrooms you see at the grocery store in the USA). Considering these can grow on waste streams like spent brewing grains and used coffee grounds and require very minimal light, I think this is actually a viable option for the homesteader. Additionally, they can be dried and ground up into a powder to add to soups or store over the long term. For every gram of protein from white button mushrooms, you’re getting about half a gram of fiber and 2 grams of carbs.

Why does the fiber matter? Well, related to Alphaville’s previously bad experience with hemp protein, I took a look at lentein protein powder, which is simply dried duckweed. Here is what we have:

Image

The important thing to pay attention to is that for every 10 grams of protein, you are getting 9 grams of dietary fiber. This becomes a problem if you try to scale the quantities up, because from what I’ve read you’re going to run into digestion problems with anything over 70 grams of fiber per day. This also explains why it’s probably not a great exercise powder because all of that fiber will slow down digestion, which is why a fast-absorbing protein like whey is superior. So duckweed is still a great option for the average person up to perhaps 20 grams of protein per day, but beyond that you are probably going to run into digestion issues (not a concern for the regular person, but since my protein consumption is high I pay attention to these things).

Since I’m crazy, I mapped out on paper what it would take to scale up white button mushroom production to say, provide 20 grams of protein a day (that would be about half of one of my meals). I’m aiming for dehydrating the mushrooms and then blending them into powder just because I think that makes it much easier to consume the 1-1.25 lbs of raw mushrooms I would need to eat a day.

Let’s take a look at a few assumptions:
• A 5 gallon bucket might yield 5 lbs of mushrooms a month (subject to change but this is a ballpark number for oyster mushrooms, so I assume it is somewhat applicable for white button)
• That monthly bucket lifecycle includes substrate inoculation (~2 weeks) and fruiting in which I harvest multiple flushes (~2 weeks)
• For every 20 grams of protein per day, I would need to harvest 1.25 lbs of raw mushrooms (this comes out to requiring ~8 buckets to be operational for growing 37.5 pounds monthly of mushrooms)
• The convenience of the 5 gallon bucket is it is cheap, re-usable, and stackable because the fruiting is happening on the sides
• My substrate is used coffee grounds and/or spent brewing grains, which at this scale means I’ll have to source them from a local coffee shop and/or brewery (at a smaller scale you can source coffee grounds from household/neighborhood/office level)
• The spent fruiting blocks that are left in the bucket after harvesting can be integrated to feed a BSF or compost worm system
• I’m unsure the best dehydrating method, but it seems like building a DIY solar dehydrator is do-able even in humid climates (not a year-round option and I’m unsure if using an electric one makes sense from an energy perspective)

The above system looks possible on paper but it remains to be seen if it will work in practicality. There aren’t a lot of resources on growing white button mushrooms indoors since they are commonplace in US grocery stores and more specialized mushrooms command higher prices. For now, I’m focused on getting the foundational skills for mushroom cultivation down before trying to use it as a protein source, but I think there is potential.

Edit: It turns out white button, cremini, and portobello are all the same species that are either different strains or harvested at different ages.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

I harvested my first mushrooms yesterday. They are the 2nd flush of oyster mushrooms on the same fruiting block from the grow kit. This time I just left the block on a shelf in open air instead of putting it in the worm bin. I spritzed them down a few times a day with a spray bottle to maintain moisture. As you can see, these seemed to enjoy the greater air flow because they have much larger caps:

Image
Image


100 grams isn't much of a harvest, but it's a start. I tore the mushrooms into strips and fried them, then threw them in with my ramen noodles I was having with dinner. They had some good umami and earthy flavors. I've heard some say that the oyster mushroom stems are stronger tasting so you shouldn't eat them, but I followed the exact steps in a chef's youtube video where he used caps and stems and it tasted fine.

I should be able to get another few flushes from this block, so I'm going to keep it in the same spot. My enoki liquid culture arrives this weekend so I can try mason jar inoculation and cultivation. Those jars will probably go in the worm bin for fruiting because you want lower oxygen conditions to get the small caps and long stems that are preferred for enoki.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

☝️ those are awesome results man. i'll get to mushrooms eventually.

i checked and i dont have a spare plastic bin in this apartment

don't want to buy one for an experiment

i figured if i can manage some woodwork i could do an indoor bin that is aesthetically pleasing

so i did a bit of a search and i found this:

http://www.compostjunkie.com/worm-compo ... ystem.html

which led to this:

http://www.compostjunkie.com/indoor-com ... ments.html

but tldr i dont like anything in existence so i might have to make my own tray tower of wood looks like. maybe cut 4x1s

all my carpentry tools are at the covid cabin. ffs. i blame fumio sasaki :lol:

anyway, i'll have to be patient till we get vaccinated. then i can go retrieve things. i guess i'll have to focus on setiting up a hobby bench first... for small carpentry, electronics, garden stuff, some bike repair, that sort of thing...
Last edited by Alphaville on Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tdurtsch
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by tdurtsch »

Have you ever foraged oyster mushrooms? The stems will be full of bugs unless you find them at precisely the right time, so generally you'd toss them out. If you're growing them yourself that's not going to be an issue, and I think the stems are delicious!

Really great looking mushrooms btw.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

I checked out those links and still think upcycled plastic bins are a great worm bin option since they are so ubiquitous in our society. I drilled air/drainage holes and I’ve never had major issues with maintaining the worm environment. My concern with wood is you’re going to have to finish it or line it with something because the high moisture environment the worms require will eventually rot wood.

I think you could DIY one but another option may be to keep an eye on dumpsters/trash rooms and one should turn up eventually. Since you’re putting it a cabinet it can even have clear sides.


@tdurtsch

I haven’t ever foraged mushrooms but that makes sense. Yeah the harvest process was very easy. I just used scissors to cut the mushrooms from the block at the base and I didn’t even need to rinse or brush them off before cooking because they were so clean. Definitely a benefit to growing them indoors.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:07 am
My concern with wood is you’re going to have to finish it or line it with something because the high moisture environment the worms require will eventually rot wood.
my understanding is they want moist but not too moist? aerobic not anaerobic? so, the sides would be dimensional wood but the bottoms would be some kind of mesh for upward travel (in the future condo tower). the bottom catch could be tin,

i have some large plastic jars saved (from whey). i might just try one first. i think i'll do that.

i think it's funny how i don't know things thinking about them, but trying to find something coherent a solution happens :lol:

whey jars!

oh, i also keep a bunch of klim cans for multipurpose. as a military dude you might enjoy this bit if history: http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol086db.html

eureka: i can make a worm tower with klim cans!! shiny metal condo. will have to feed only small bits but eventually it could become worm guttenberg!

i'm officially in business. now to procure the wigglers.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Whey containers might work on a very small scale, but you want something that has more surface area because compost worms don’t actually feed more than a few inches below the surface. If you can source a small amount of worms I think it’s worth a shot as a proof of concept. Just drill holes on the side near the top and a few drainage holes on the bottom (I read to not drill any holes on the lid because that can lead to the bin drying out).

I’ve only ever had issues with the bin getting too dry, never too wet, so I’m a little confused about all the people who complain about high moisture levels. In fact, I’ve never even had a drop of water drip through the drainage holes on the bottom. The primary feed I use is banana peels and egg shells, so maybe if you’re using coffee grounds or something with higher moisture it’s a bigger issue. Whenever I feed the bin I also add some wet strips of cardboard or paper (saturated and then wrung out in the sink). There is some soil in the bin as well from when I added microgreens soil/roots after harvesting, which helps to regulate moisture I think. I also spray the surface down once or twice a week if it gets dry, but I never pour in water directly.

Edit: Klim cans might work too. Don’t overthink it, it’s just some kind of container with holes in it.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

yeah, very small scale/proof of concept is the way for my very small scale apartment.

we're big coffee drinkers (hand ground every time) and also do tea (sencha first thing) so i assume we'll get a wetter crop. but then again i live a desert, so it's hard to figure how that will come out. but then again this is indoors, so prediction has more factors.

i generally waste very little food so it should be ok also. my kitchen trashcan is bathroom size i take forever to fill it up.

plus coffee grounds might get diverted towards mushrooms maybe so very small scale will help model further iterations.

50% of the work is getting started, so... ready or not here i come :lol:

tsch
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Location: Sonoma County, CA

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by tsch »

Nice mushrooms!

I went on a local mushroom hunting foray this week. We didn't find much good to eat; the conditions aren't right, and I was disappointed about how little I learned about ID.

Foraging might be an interesting thing to consider for your overall system. Some geographic areas are better for it than other. Living along the coast is really good. It's getting the skills that's hard. Our forage leader mentioned that he's trading with a geology academic to learn about that while he teaches him about mushroom hunting.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

tsch wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:48 am
Foraging might be an interesting thing to consider for your overall system. Some geographic areas are better for it than other. Living along the coast is really good. It's getting the skills that's hard. Our forage leader mentioned that he's trading with a geology academic to learn about that while he teaches him about mushroom hunting.
I do include foraging in my system, but so far only in the form of hunting and fishing because animal protein sources are difficult to generate on an apartment scale.

I started my enoki spawn jars yesterday by injecting the liquid culture after sterilizing the jars/substrate in my instapot. I wouldn’t take the risk on not using an actual autoclave with something like pressure canning, but with mushroom growing the biggest risk is I have a jar get taken over by mold and then have to throw it out. I used a mix of pine shavings and coffee grounds. I’m a little worried about the pine shavings because most resources say that hardwoods are preferred (something something sap?), but the bedding is meant for an animal cage so it’s been dried.

I’m starting to think the instapot is an indispensable tool for the apartment homesteader’s kitchen because it is so multifunctional (pressure cooker, slow cooker, sterilizer, steamer, and so on). I’m considering getting rid of my slow cooker and just using the instapot as my Swiss Army knife kitchen gadget.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:50 pm

I’m starting to think the instapot is an indispensable tool for the apartment homesteader’s kitchen because it is so multifunctional (pressure cooker, slow cooker, sterilizer, steamer, and so on). I’m considering getting rid of my slow cooker and just using the instapot as my Swiss Army knife kitchen gadget.
and rice cooker, yogurtmaker, sautée pot. makes great boiled eggs (i used to batch cook i think.., 2 dozen at once? or maybe just a dozen, with pressure.)

plus with another attachment it's air fryer, roaster, broiler, convection oven, dehydrator... i've been enjoying french fries and sweet potato fries lately without deep frying. just toss/brush a bit of oil, place in basket, let it rip. bit of a pandemic luxury.

and yes it's a consumer product susceptible to breakdown, but wide user base makes replacement parts readily available and it might be repairable with the right tools.

it's extremely energy efficient, somewhat "intelligent", and a big space saver. so, while you might need something else to cook during zombie apocalypse, you can skip needing a cooking stove much before that happens. actually i use my cooking range as extra counter space now. i only use the big oven once a week, but maybe some day i will end that too with a more efficient appliance

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Good information. I wasn’t aware that there is an air fryer/dehydrator attachment. I’m in agreement that I’m a bit torn about these sort of kitchen gadgets because in ERE land we generally go for the lower tech and more resilient solution. I think the compact space and lack of outdoor space in an apartment does necessitate some special solutions. I was actually looking at online at something like this as an alternative to an oven: https://www.amazon.com/Airfryer-Convect ... +de&sr=8-5

It might not make sense if the kitchen is already equipped with a standard oven, but I could see value with something like that in a tiny home or alternative living space. In combination with an instapot and induction burner/camping stove it would mean you could have the functionality of an entire kitchen in a much more compact space. Then again it depends on the energy setup because instapot and convection oven both use quite a bit of electricity.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

@wb

yes but they use less electricity than a large standard oven or a pot over an electric range. convection cuts down on temp and time, and the smaller volume heats up faster. induction is extremely efficient.

my standard oven was adding about $10/mo to my electric bill :lol: (still cheaper than buying "artisanal" bread at the store, but.., i could see the oven price and i didn't like it).

now i use the big oven more judiciously and in a planned manner (baking/roasting in batches)

i've switched to induction burner also.

*but hey, i should make clear: i don't have gas utilities here. it's all electric for me.* so my challenge is to use electricity more efficiently.

city real estate is not cheap, therefore i always count the price of space it takes to house something--not in any rigorous kind of way like spreadhseets, but yeah, every object here "pays rent" in my mind. therefore i try to maximize utility per cuft.

eta: while we don't think of electronics as "resilient," electronic repair skills would add the appropriate response to the inescapable role of electronics in our lives. @jacob made a mention very early in the thread viewtopic.php?p=209705#p209705
Wood, 3D-printing, and electronics (consider going electronics free?) is possible in an apartment
but i wasn't ready to process that. now i think i am.
white belt wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:02 am
I’m a bit torn about these sort of kitchen gadgets because in ERE land we generally go for the lower tech and more resilient solution.
i'm trying to think less about "robust" or "resilient" and more about "antifragile" these days. which means, in practice, rather than avoid a problem, i should try to rise to meet the challenge and respond positively to the stressor. right now i'm a baby in diapers when it comes to electronics, but maybe all i need to stay functional is learn to crawl and see what happens.

if there is a change to the situation i also know how to rig a stove or camp oven from klim cans :lol: so i can easily degrade to lower tech as needed. lower tech is easy and not a challenge, i can downgrade as fast as needed. btw i've also been mulling oven a solar oven construction experiment. might be all i need is a pot with a reflective emergency blanket shaped around it to slow cook my beans for free... https://i.pinimg.com/originals/74/0e/0e ... 58f204.jpg
or even a klim can painted black if no pot ;)

bloodaxe
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by bloodaxe »

Anyone ever try the PEA (Permaculture Experience for Apartments) badge on Permies? https://permies.com/t/126834/PEA-Core-Philosophy-Badges

Looks useful for learning permaculture skills that can be used outside of apartments.

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