Growing mushrooms at home

At One Planet Market on 20 October 2018, Jess Bamford offered a workshop on growing mushrooms at home. She explained what a fungus is, how they grow and how to get started in growing edible varieties.

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The main method covered was using pasteurised straw or sugarcane mulch to grow oyster mushrooms, instructions for which can be found at: naturalismedica.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/july-mushroom-grow-a-quick-guide-to-growing-oyster-mushrooms.

Another simple method covered was growing mushrooms such as shiitake, lion’s mane and reishi on hardwood logs. This method is simple but requires patience as you may wait 12 months before mushrooms appear. The log is then able to produce for up to 10 years depending on its size.

To get a mushroom log started you will need

  • Hardwood log at least 10cm in diameter and 50cm in length (bigger is better but make sure you can lift it) that has been rested for 2 weeks after being cut (oak, birch, eucalyptus and fruit tree wood work well)
  • Mushroom dowels or sawdust spawn of the variety of your choosing
  • Hammer or rubber mallet
  • Drill with drill bit to match the size of the dowels
  • Hot beeswax & a paint brush

METHOD

  1. Drill holes all over the log about 10-15cm apart
  2. Take the hardwood dowels and knock them into the holes with your hammer/rubber mallet. If you are using sawdust spawn, fill the holes with the spawn and push it in with the end of a pen (no fancy tools required)
  3. Take the hot beeswax covered paintbrush and dab it on the hole that you have just filled in order to seal it so bugs don’t take your precious spawn
  4. Continue filling and sealing the holes until they are all filled and you’re finished

To maintain your log, keep it in a shady spot and spray it with water about once a week or whenever it starts to dry out.

After about 12 months of resting the log and allowing the mycelium to grow through, you can take the log and submerge it in water overnight (no more than 24 hours or you will drown the fungus!) Then remove the log from the water and put it back into the same shady place and check regularly for mushrooms. The submerging will signal the mushrooms to fruit as they will receive a big flush of water which is what they need to start growing. You may get more than one flush of mushrooms each season, especially if humidity is high, so stay vigilant!

Be mindful of slugs and snails as they love to eat mushrooms just as much as we do.
After you have picked your mushrooms continue to look after the log, soak it once every 12 months and you will have a supply of fresh mushrooms for up to 10 years.

If you would like to purchase a mushroom growing bag or bucket, contact  botanicalcuriosities@outlook.com

Supplies for mushroom growers are available at slapesmushrooms.com.

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