Thursday, May 11, 2017

Growing Fresh Mushrooms at Home

Growing our own mushrooms is one of those things i've been wanting to do forever, but hadn't quite gotten around to it. i love foraging for morels, and have been learning a few other wild mushrooms that grow on our land and are safe to eat like chanterelles, giant Puff balls, lion's mane and more. i've posted about foraging mushrooms before.  i also grew oysters from a kit several years ago, 

i started looking into mushroom plugs last year, and found that they are really quite inexpensive. The problem i had was that i needed fresh cut logs to plug, and also holes drilled into the logs. Both of which required a bit of help from the husband. Sometimes our priorities are not the same, so i never got them started last year

Kenan did have a interest in growing mushrooms though,  and so he attended a mushroom woodshop last fall. This spring he decided he was ready to try growing mushrooms and put in an order to Mushroom Mountain.   i was really just interested in trying shiitakes, but he went all out and bought a bunch of different mushroom spores to try. 

Earlier this spring while he was working on clearing/flattening part of our land that may eventually be the new Tiemeyer Glass Studio, he cut down a large branch of oak tree.  The tree had been damaged several years before when we cut trees to pay for the new house. It was alive, but had a lot of damage to part of it, and really needed to be cleaned up. So the damaged area came off, and Kenan cut it  up for mushroom logs. 

Growing mushrooms, is really pretty easy! First, the wood has to be freshly cut (usually within 6 weeks is okay) oak, maple, sweet gum, poplar, or other deciduous softwoods will work. Soak the logs by immersing in clean water for 1 – 2 days, but let the bark dry before inoculating.  Logs and stumps can be drilled, these are about 1/4 " diameter holes.  

The holes are then filled with wooden plugs that are colonized with the fungus of your choice.  We used a hammer to pound them into the logs.

 After the plugs are in, you can wax the surface to seal them in and protect them from drying out. .Once plugged, you need to soak/water the logs a couple times a week to keep them from drying out and then all you have to do is wait! When the mushroom’s root system has threaded itself throughout the log or stump, it will want to start fruiting. Fruiting can be seasonal, depending on temperature, and last several years.

This is a log  Kenan inoculated at the mushroom workshop last year. It has been completely neglected, just left outside and watered only by the rain. So we were a bit surprised to see this gorgeous Shiitake appear right next to one of the plugs.  At the suggestion of a friend, we soaked the log for 24 hours, so hopefully we'll start to see a few more appear.

This is pretty reassuring. If we can grow them without really trying, imagine if we put a bit of effort into them! We may actually get some good mushroom harvests! i believe the plugs we are trying are shiitake, oyster, lion's mane and hen of the woods. If these grow well, i'd love to try out some other varieties. Mushroom Mountain has a really good selection, and have great customer service.

You can also find more info about growing mushrooms here.


Post a Comment