Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Growing Mushrooms on an Urban Lot

Jon really likes mushrooms, but they have to be fresh---not the canned variety.  His first attempt at mushroom growing was this weird "log" that was a dense chunk of sawdust inoculated with mushroom spores.  This variety was shiitake.  It was a fickle thing to work with and went dormant several times which required a rest in the refrigerator followed by a full soaking in a rain water bucket for several days at a time.  The log also had to be sprayed daily with water to keep things moist.  Overall, this method didn't work well for us for unknown reasons.  The mushrooms would blossom and then dry up or rot before they were picked.

The chopsticks are stuck into the "log" so a plastic bag could be placed over everything to create a humid environment without touching the mushrooms. 

After the first attempt at growing mushrooms inside the house, Jon decided to grow mushrooms in the backyard using oak logs we trimmed from our tree this fall.  We ordered 300 dowels from the same place we ordered the inoculated sawdust pile from, Fungi Perfecti.  These wooden dowels are inoculated with shiitake and oyster mushrooms spores and are placed in pre-drilled holes in the oak logs.  If all goes well, these logs should fruit mushrooms for a couple of years.

The inoculated dowels.

Using a rubber mallet, the dowels are pounded into pre-drilled holes.

The dowels were placed about 4 inches apart in a diamond pattern.

This wax came with the dowels.  

Using my beeswax melting pan and pastry brush, I painted wax over each plug, wound, scrape, and cut on the logs to keep bacteria, bugs, and other fungi from going into the logs. 

We then elevated the logs off the ground in a semi-wet environment.  The instructions suggest placing a moist burlap bag over the logs, but in this northwest climate, we're opting for open air because it's damp all winter and spring and too much moisture could potentially be bad.  These logs were placed in the northwest corner of our property next to the house under a magnolia tree.  One thing we have to watch out for are slugs because they love mushrooms...another battle against those pesky creatures!!!


Christopher Beeson December 19, 2011 at 7:11 PM  

This would make for a perfect gift for my brother who loves to hunt mushrooms! I'm seriously looking into ordering some of these plugs.

Do let us know how they turn out!

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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