Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mushroom Futures

We had to have a tulip poplar tree removed a couple of weeks ago after some large branches had been broken out of it in a storm. I was staring at the stump about a week later when the bright idea came to me to inoculate it with oyster mushroom spawn.I hopped on Fungi Perfecti's web site and placed my order.
The sawdust spawn arrived a couple of days ago. The past 2 days it has rained so the stump is good and moist, perfect for inoculation. The first step was to drill 13/16" holes about an 1 1/2" deep around the perimeter of the stump approximately 3" apart. ( why a 13/16" hole instead of 7/8" or 3/4" you might be wondering. Well because that is the size drill bit i happened to have on hand). I drilled 2 rows of holes then i stuffed each hole with clumps of sawdust which were the most heavily colonized with mycelia. Next i watered the spawn with rainwater we collected yesterday in our new rain barrels. Then i soaked cardboard in rainwater, cut it to fit the stump and laid it over the top. The cardboard will keep the spawn moist and since mycelia loves to eat cardboard it will become myceliated as well. Finally i covered the cardboard with wet excelsior the keep the cardboard moist. Excelsior is shredded wood that comes to us as packing material around pottery that we bring in to sell at the Urban Gardener. We save it and use it as mulch in the community garden.
Now all we have to do is wait for the fungi to consume the tree trunk and , when conditions are right we hope we'll get lots of delicious, nutritious oyster mushrooms.
When will that be? I don't know. Maybe next spring, maybe 2 years from now, maybe never. It is worth the investment i think.

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