Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Spring Time Means Time to Grow Some Mushrooms with Healthy Quantities of Mycelium for Healing the Body

""I’ve been growing mushrooms outdoors on logs for about 20 years. I’ve done this by inoculating logs with little wooden plugs called plug spawn that I purchased and inserted into holes I drilled in the logs. Then I let them develop in the shade of a hemlock tree where they generally produce mushrooms in a year or less. Pretty easy. The best time to cut logs for growing mushrooms is late winter or early spring when the sap begins to run, so I am thinking about getting some logs soon and starting another batch. After all, there isn’t much else I can do in the garden for months.
The first step in the process of growing mushrooms is finding logs that are appropriate for the mushrooms you want to grow. I have used oak and poplar for growing shiitake mushrooms, but according to Paul Stamets’ book, "Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World," almost any deciduous tree species is fine for shiitakes, the mushrooms I have grown in the past. Pine, hemlock and other conifers are not recommended.
The logs you plan to use to raise shiitakes or other mushrooms need to be fresh. If you were to go in the woods and find a downed tree, it probably would already have fungi growing in the wood (mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi). So you need to cut down a living tree (or better yet, have a person skilled with a chain saw cut it down for you). Or call up someone who sells firewood and explain what you want: logs 3 to 4 feet long and 4 to 8 inches in diameter that are freshly cut.
In the past I have most often inoculated poplar logs because the trees are fast growing, and I always have some ‘volunteers’ that need to be removed. Oaks are the species most commonly colonized by shiitakes in their native habitat of Japan, and produce for a longer time than poplar, but take longer to produce their first flush of mushrooms — up to 14 months. And they are a tree species I value, so it’s harder to sacrifice one.
I learned from "Mycelium Running" that not just shiitakes can be raised on logs. These species will also work, and are available from Stamets’ web site, fungi.com: Reishi, Maitake, Lion's Mane, Pearl, Blue and Phoenix Oyster, Chicken of the Woods and Turkey Tail.
So how do I inoculate my logs? Using a 5/16-inch drill bit, I drill lines of holes about 8 inches apart from one end to the other. Then I drill another row of holes 4 to 6 inches from the first row. I stagger the holes so they don’t line up next to each other, from row to row. Then, with a hammer, I tap in the spore plugs that I have purchased. The holes should go a bit deeper into the wood than the length of the plug.""
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