Mushrooms out of the fog

27 Jun

We are slowly emerging from the fog that is Influenza. We have all been confined to our single heated room – all four of us with our high fevers and incessant children’s television. Never again will I be cocky – I’ll just get the free flu shot like all the sensible people at work.

I emerged on Saturday for a few hours to attend a mushroom growing workshop run by Milkwood Permaculture. My friend Aaron came with me, and here we are looking extremely studious. Thanks Cathy for the photo – you can see the rest of the great images she took of the workshop here.

The presenter of the workshop was Will Borowski. He was extremely knowledgeable and also very pragmatic. He understands that the home mushroom grower doesn’t want to control conditions exactly and jump through insane hoops to grow a few mushrooms – we just want to follow a few steps and get on with it. He’s got lots of experience with breaking all the rules and getting great mushrooms growing regardless.

That’s the story I came to hear!

We came away from the workshop with a load of freebies – a pre-drilled eucalypt log (ready to innoculate with shiitake mycelium), dowels pre -innoculated with shiitake for hammering into the logs and cultures for a few varieties of mushrooms. Will very generously gave me cultures for King Oyster, shimeji, and an Indian variety of oyster mushroom. I look forward to giving it a go – look out for future posts.

Once the kids went down for a nap today I set to work hammering the shiitake dowels into my log. The idea is that you put the mushroom cultures (mycelium) into the log, then it spreads through the log over time, and shiitake mushrooms pop out of the log occasionally for 5-6 years. Apparently I shouldn’t expect mushrooms for at least a year, so I want to get the process happening ASAP.

Will gave us a container of shiitake-innoculated dowels, and the guys from Milkwood spent a lot of time cutting logs and drilling holes for us. All I needed to do was hammer them in. The process was pretty simple, even for an unco like me.

Once I’d hammered all the dowels in, they looked like this. We were told at the course that you need to coat the dowels and the ends of the log with beeswax, but I didn’t have any, so I’m going to see if it works without it.

I’ve put the log between the garage and the side fence – in a spot where moss grows like crazy, so hopefully fungi will do equally well.

Thanks to Jodi from Every Day in the Garden for the heads up about the workshop – Milkwood Permaculture run some really great courses, and I suspect I’ll be doing more in the future.

5 Responses to “Mushrooms out of the fog”

  1. Leanne Cole June 28, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Sounds really good. I look forward to reading more about it. HOw have your other mushrooms been going?

    • L June 28, 2011 at 8:58 am #

      I must confess that I’ve been neglecting my other mushrooms. From what I learned at the workshop, I think they are too cold and nowhere near wet enough. Will gave me some ideas about how to reinvigorate them once they finish though, so I’m hopeful.

  2. everydayinthegarden June 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Hello dear, glad to see that you’re on the mend. That is very exciting business (thanks btw 😉 ). I am thinking about experimenting with mushrooms in my vegie patch soon. I have read that the results are well worth the effort. Mushrooms are so much fun! Take care =)

  3. carolina June 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Sorry you’re all so sick. Missed you today at party day. I bought a pack of mushroom growing stuff from bunnings last year when it was so exciting. It wasn’t that exciting. The mushrooms never appeared. So deflated & disappointed, & may never go on a mushroom growing quest again.

    • L June 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

      Yeah, I’ve never heard of a successful mushroom kit that came from Bunnings. I think the warehouses are too hot.

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