Kiez Pilz Fruiting Chamber In Progress Notes

Perhaps I should turn this into a blog post at some point, for now I will write in the form of notes.

Top e.V., a project space in Schillerkiez (Berlin), has given us a room in their basement to use as a mushroom fruiting chamber.

We cleared out the junk in the room, and are now making plans for how we will use it. We imagine making “a room within a room”, a wood box-like frame, with walls and ceiling made of plastic sheeting, to create an enclosed space where we can maintain a high level of humidity, (more on the design later), and grow a lot of oyster mushrooms.

One of our goals (among a variety of goals of varying levels of immediate tangibility, including during a vision brainstorming session Logan writing down on a piece of paper Radical Myco Democracy) is to grow enough oyster mushrooms, to become the oyster mushroom supply for Soy Division, who cooks every week down the street with a regular demand for oyster mushrooms.

We also have a connection with a supportive woodshop in Kreuzberg that gives us giant bags of sawdust for free (they normally have to pay to have the sawdust removed), and we are growing relationships with some coffee shops in the Kiez who can supply us with used coffee grounds, so the hope is that we can feed the oysters entirely on waste materials and also become a practical waste management service for the woodshop.

Another one of our goals is to document our process, so that hopefully this project can also serve as a helpful blueprint or inspiration for what to do (or not to do) in trying to collaboratively grow mushrooms at a small-to-medium scale in a city.

There is more back story, but without going into all the details this can be the opener for a thread to share in-progress notes and documentation.

Top Lab is a project space that hosts reading groups, exhibitions and also has a small community biology lab. The space is also used as a co-working space (it’s where I work on the computer most week days). As top lab supports a number of artists working with living organisms and already hosts a mycology course, they are supportive of our project.

Here’s a tour, leading from the street to the fruiting chamber:


[Schillerpromenade, the street in front of top]


[the entrance to top]


[inside the space]


[trapdoor, leading into the cellar, to the mushrooms]


[in the basement, pretty average basement with storage, the open door on the right is the entrance to the small room where the fruiting chamber will be]


[the entrance to the fruiting chamber]


[a hole which leads out of the room and into the other area of the basement, where there is a window to the street which we imagine using for ventilation]


[window to the street from the basement]

We decided to take some measurements of the temperature and humidity in the room before starting to build the fruiting chamber, so that we could know the conditions, and also make sure that our fruiting chamber was not changing the humidity of the basement outside of it too much.

Logan and Anne had an arduino environmental sensor board with an arduino MKR1000 that we could use. There was no wifi in the basement, so we logged the measurements to an SD card.

From a week of measurements we recorded:
min temp: 19.88 °C
max temp: 21.81 °C
min humidity: 61.25%
max humidity: 82.44%

If we want to keep ongoing measurements, it would be nice to get wifi down to the basement somehow.