Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Learning to grow our own mushrooms

It all started when we went to the Mother Earth News Fair. We bought two types of mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms in a bag and shiitake mushroom plugs. The Oyster mushrooms we grew, and they turned out great, but the shiitake mushroom plugs were left in the refrigerator languishing. Well, now mushrooms languish no more. Because this week we visited Mr. Ron Cabe's mushroom farm. We met him at our local Farmers Market and have been buying mushrooms from him for years. He grows beautiful mushrooms and my little brother will only eat his mushrooms. We have been to his farm once before, where we enjoyed seeing how he grows his mushrooms. On this trip, we learned many things to grow our own mushrooms, such as drilling holes in the logs, how to put the mushroom plugs in the holes and waxing the logs. There are many different ways to grow mushrooms. The Oyster mushrooms were in a growing bag.We also did a blog post on those. Oyster mushroom post. You can also use mushroom plugs wich is what we just did. You can also grow mushrooms in straw or sawdust.

1.Well, first you're going to need logs to put the mushroom plugs in. While you can use some other logs white oak, red oak, and wild cherry are the best. Long, lean logs are better than large heavy logs.Remember you are going to be moving them around.

2.Then you need to drill holes in the log. The hole size will depend on your plug size. You need to drill the holes in a diamond pattern about four to six inches apart all the way around the log.

3.Next you need to place the plugs into the holes you drilled in the log. Tap the plugs gently with a hammer or mallet if necessary.

4.Now you need to wax the logs. Brush wax on the mushroom plugs, on the ends of the logs and any other stop that is cut or open.This will seal out any other fungus or bug that could possibly harm your mushrooms. The kind of wax to use is a food-grade wax such as cheese wax. Also, you need to tag your logs somehow.

5.After you have completed your logs you will want to put them in a moist and shady place. They need at least an inch of water either from rainfall or a garden sprinkler. You can place a rain gauge beside your mushrooms to make sure they get enough water.

6.Last but not least you will need to soak your logs in six to eight months. You can wait up to a year. If you started in January like we did then you will want to start soaking in July or August. The longer the better. Then you will need to soak every eight weeks after that. Hopefully, you will have mushrooms soon.

Our mushroom plugs 
Mr. Ron getting ready to drill holes in the logs

Drilling the logs

Matie drilling a log
Insert the plugs into the log
Push them into the log

Mushroom plug in the log

Tap the plugs with a hammer

Putting plugs in the second log

Mr. Ron has wheels to turn the logs when inserting plugs

Mr. Ron uses Sawdust Spawn for his logs

He inserts his spawn using this tool
Sawdust Spawn

Melted wax used on the logs

Rubbing the wax on the plugs

Matie rubs some wax on one of the logs

The logs on a pallet in the woods. Now we wait.