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Show #28/7302. The Bounty Of Family Farms

Ever Think About Growing Mushrooms?

There are a number of different ways that we can approach growing mushrooms on our property as a gardener. Some of them are easier than others. Some of them are faster than others. Eric would like for Jason to kind of walk us through what our options are. There are basically three ways to grow them. One can grow them in a log, and that's the long haul. Jason can inoculate them in an oak log and it'll be 18 months before the first fruiting. He can inoculate them in wood chips like we're standing on, and that's a little bit quicker. And the other option is sawdust. Most of these materials, if not all of them, are easily available online so you can select what kind of mushroom you want to grow and then it's just a matter of impregnating a log with that spawn. It, in time, grows into the log, uses that as a food source and then fruits out of the log. Eric would like for Jason to show us how to do it. Jason explains - This is a white oak. It's also recently harvested. You don't want to put your inoculation into an old log that you find on the forest floor. It's got to be relatively clean in terms of its fungal presence. And not every tree is a good candidate for mushroom cultivation. Some of that is due to the tannin load in the wood or just the structure of the wood. Things that rot really fast are typically not good. Gymnosperms like pine are almost never good. Oak is a great place to start because almost everything that we want to grow is going to like to grow in oak.

Jason next shows us how we inoculate this log. There are not too many tools that you need. Basically just a drill with a 5/16 bit. You do need a little bit of a layout. What Jason does is take the diameter of the log and divides it in segments by the diameter. This is a six-inch log, Jason has created six segments down at the base. Then he spaces his dowels and has small markings every six inches on that line. The next line he shifts so he has a little bit more of a diamond pattern and that's really so that the spawn that's going into that wood is spaced well. It's kind of like planting your garden. You want a little bit of a spacing between your plants. From there, drill the holes, and then just hammer the dowel in there. Then you need to protect the dowel so that it doesn't dry out. Jason uses beeswax. They have a local at the farmer's market who sells honey, he has some beeswax and Jason purchases that from him. Once this log is done it will fruit season after season after season. And the first batch should be ready in about 18 months. One could trick the log into thinking it's the fruiting season. The way you do that is basically soak it in a water bath, immerse it in a water bath for 24-48 hours, and then when you take it out, smack it on a rock or something, just shock it. And for whatever reason, the mushrooms say, “It's the time to go.”

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