Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - How-To: Organic Shiitake Mushrooms

Milkwood Permaculture Farming and Living has a great little how-to on making your own shiitake mushroom log.

About two years ago I tried my hand at mushrooms after reading (and getting totally stoked over) Paul Stamets' Mycelium Running. I then got a copy of his heftier tome, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and attempted to spawn some oyster mushrooms. I procured some spores and substrate (spent coffee grounds) and followed the instructions. Within days, I could see the mushrooms building mycelia. Unfortunately, the moment they started to sprout fruiting bodies, some sort of mildew decimated the growing medium. I have to admit that it discouraged me a bit and haven't put much effort toward mushroom cultivation since.

But... with all my recent successes in the garden and with the chickens, I might be ready to give mycofarming (of the edible variety, those of you thinking of being snarky ;-) another try. Until the trees start to grow and fill in shaded areas, I'm going to need to create a shelter in the Zone 1 area so that I can keep an eye on the logs and have easy access for watering them. I think getting some spores to inoculate my hardwood mulch (since the soil out here is almost totally dead) is an excellent idea and is a great example of stacking functions by using mushrooms both for eating and as a keystone for building healthy soil.