One of the foods I really love is mushrooms of various types, so I’ve been wanting to try to grow some of my own. This is actually a project I started in March, but haven’t had time to post any pictures until now. I actually tried growing some shitakes and oyster mushrooms indoors with varying success. You definitely have to stay on top of them, so I was looking for something a little lower maintenance. After all, if you take a hike in the forest they are everywhere, although maybe not always ones that you can eat. Speaking of that, foraging for wild mushrooms is another thing I would like to learn how to do. There are definitely folks around here who do it, but that’s the sort of thing that’s best learned from someone else.
Anyway, I decided to try inoculating some logs with mushroom plugs and see how well that works. There are various sources of mushroom supplies online, but I like Fungi Perfecti. It was started by mycologist Paul Stamets, who literally wrote the book (several of them) on growing mushrooms.
My landlord is also interested in this, so he supplied some logs to start out with and we are going to share the logs once they get fully populated. The logs have to be fairly fresh, not too large in diameter and most edible mushrooms that use a wood growing medium generally like hardwood. Some mushrooms have favorites where they seem to perform best, although often there is a range of types that will work.
The process is basically to drill a ton of holes in the logs and pound these wooden plugs into the holes with a mallet. It’s pretty time consuming, but the nice thing is if the logs “take” and the mushroom spawn fully colonizes the log, they can produce mushrooms for 3-5 years or more. I’m mainly trying shiitakes and I also did a few logs with Lion’s Mane.
After the logs are plugged, they go into a colonization stage where you water them occasionally and wait for at least 6 months or so for the mycelium to take over the log. Then you can put them outside “planted” upright in a shady damp place and hopefully start harvesting mushrooms here and there as they go through regular flushes of growth.
I had a good supervisor, so hopefully things will turn out great. This is another one of those things where you start something and hope it turns out. In that way it’s much like garlic or beer or cheese or any other number of great things that are worth waiting for.