We have a dirty little patch of ground behind our garden shed where we stack extra lumber from our projects and keep the recycling bin out of sight. It’s not a large space, but I got thinking, Isn’t there something we could do that’s more interesting and productive?
Ah! MycoMadness! We’re sprouting mushrooms.
This year, we’re starting with oyster mushrooms. I’d like to expand to include a patch of morels, and a few more log piles to include maitakes and lion’s mane. If I could find a space I’m not digging around in too much, I’d add in some blewits.
Vic tried the indoor pack of shitakes and found it delightful and tasty, so we’re excited to get this working outside!
I can’t speak to the success of this project, obviously, but the set up was fairly straight-forward except for getting the logs. As a city dweller getting freshly cut alder was tough, took several weeks and a post on Craigslist! However, once I had the logs and a several hours, it was an easy process to inoculate them.
I think one of the most interesting parts of the whole process is thinking about these dowels covered in mushroom spore. How does it get there? When I brought these home from the garden show, I didn’t think to keep them in the fridge and they very quickly started to grow. If this process doesn’t work, I’m laying the blame on this initial snafu. Buy them here.
The instructions wanted me to drill 11 inch holes into wood with an 8 inch diameter. I’m not sure what do with that. It took an hour to drill all the holes and plug them with spore. I definitely needed a hammer to get the dowels in. The logs averaged 45 plugs.
The sealing was a mess! Why did I start without using a newspaper? I used some old broken candles, but had to go buy a box of paraffin as it took a quite bit more wax than I thought it would. Each dowel is sealed to keep it clean and help retain moisture.
Stacked, we’re now waiting for a year for the mushrooms to grow throughout the wood. Once the mushrooms do that, they’ll start to fruit. We can control the fruiting by alternating soaking and drying the wood during a warm spell. Or, what’s likely to happen, we’ll just let nature give us a warm spell after rain and the mushrooms will show up.
Our challenge is to keep these logs moist enough, shaded enough, and warm enough to grow, but not so hot to be killed.
Lucky for us, mushrooms love the soggy, cool Northwest!