Joel Karsten is the one who got me started on this path. I have his book "Straw Bale Gardens" and used it in conjunction with "Teaming with Microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis. Throw-in knowledge gained from "The Mushroom Cultivator" and "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms" - Paul Stamets.
Then add several years of interacting with some of the most brilliant cultivation innovators on the 'net...........(you folks).
I didn't have much time to type yesterday so I'll flesh-out the dry ingredient recipe.
The instruction on the package is followed.
For example, blood meal is applied at a rate of: " 1 cup per 20 square feet of garden area or 1 tbsp. per square foot "
I simply did some "cowboy math" and computed area of the largest face of one bale (roughly 2.5 ft. x 1.5 ft. = 3.75 ft.2 )
So the amount of blood meal used was 3.75 tbsp. per bale (just to be on the safe side). You can always add more later - but it's tough to take things out once added. Best to go on the light side until you have a season or two of experience - and then, also best to run a few experiments before getting too bold by trying to create "preferential" substrates.
The temperature of the bales is monitored and the bales are "rolled" to expose a new side about every 3 days to ensure even distribution of the materials throughout the substrate. After 12 - 18 days the temps drop down into the 100*F range.
I grew potatoes last year by piling the "duff" from the bales around the potato plants as they grew. This was a modification of a "bucket grow" which used straw in the same way. I just let the plants sprout and then began "burying" them incrementally with loose straw as they grew taller.
In another experiment, I am following some information brought to the table by Vesp.
Using yeast as a companion to ready a substrate for inoculation of Pleurotus fungi seems promising. I plan on "brewing" a yeast tea and applying with a hose-end liquid applicator for distribution.
Thanks to everyone for helping me to get back on track with my gardening interests. It's been a few years since I've had this degree of enthusiasm and it feels good to be back on the creative side again.