Friday, July 26, 2013

Easy Mushroom Bed

A couple of weeks ago our neighbor brought us several bags of sawdust mushroom logs from her visit to a mushroom farm down south.  Apparently the mushroom farm discards all their logs after they have had their first flush of shrooms and there are piles and piles of these logs for the taking.  The logs still have much more fruiting potential but since the productivity declines after the first flush the farm throws the logs out.  We have no experience growing mushrooms from this type of log and I was skeptical that it would be as easy as our neighbor described.  Her directions were to soak the logs in water for 24 hours.   

Then lay down a bed of wood mulch and space the logs about 5-6 inches apart over the mulch to allow room for the shrooms to grow without touching each other.   

Next step was to cover lightly with straw or some other medium that will help keep in the moisture.  That's it!  No worrying about sterile environments or plastic tent covering. We chose to place our mushroom bed in a retaining wall between our house and our chicken area.  The retaining wall gets partial sun, is protected from wind and gets the overflow of watering from a lettuce bed above so it stays pretty moist.  A perfect place for mushrooms and we don't have to think about tending them at all.  We just have to remember to harvest them once and a while.  

I was so excited today when I went to check, almost all the logs are fruiting.  After only two weeks, we have shitake and oyster mushrooms growing just a few steps from our front door.  

brown shitake mushroom
shelf-like oyster mushrooms

Our first shitake harvest will be fried up with some eggs tomorrow morning!