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Blog series by Radicalfarmergal consisting of 9 parts so far

Part 1: Why Grow Mushrooms?

02-12-2012 12:46 PM by Radicalfarmergal | 18 comments »

The more I learn about mushrooms, the more excited I am to grow them and share my enthusiasm with others. There are so many different areas that interest me, I thought I would devote a new blog series to fungus and the important role they play in our natural world and gardens. So, why do I want to grow mushrooms? A. To Eat! Many species of mushrooms are highly nutritious to humans. Although the nutritional value varies depending on the species, mushrooms contain protein, phosphorus, p...

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Part 2: Waiting for Pinheads

02-13-2012 10:40 AM by Radicalfarmergal | 9 comments »

On February 1, 2012 our oyster mushroom kit arrived. We chose the “do it yourself” version that you prepare yourself rather than the “ready to pop” kit that is ready to fruit upon arrival. The kit contained three things: - a package of mushroom mycelium growing in sterilized grain, called grain spawn- a bag of hardwood sawdust pellets to create the medium in which it grows, called the substrate- a poly growing bag with filter to allow airflow but prevent unwanted ...

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Part 3: Don't blink; you'll miss them

02-17-2012 05:22 PM by Radicalfarmergal | 15 comments »

Things are starting to get pretty exciting on our little mushroom farm. Once the mushrooms started to “bloom”, it happened so fast! This is what the mushrooms looked like early this afternoon. We had noticed small, whitish knobs of tissue budding out and pushing upwards from the mycelium. I thought they looked like lots of little, fat fingers reaching out into the air. And when when we checked the mushrooms again after dinner, we discovered these! I will post a p...

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Part 4: Naturalizing Mycelium using Cardboard

03-09-2012 10:34 AM by Radicalfarmergal | 11 comments »

Growing mushrooms from a kit is fun, educational and nourishing, but it doesn’t meet my definition of sustainable. To turn my kits into something sustainable, I am experimenting with naturalizing the mycelium so that I can create an outside oyster mushroom garden. One of the ideas that I obtained from Paul Stamets’ book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World was the idea to grow mushrooms using the stems of harvested mushroom between sheets of damp, unpainted...

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Part 5: A Second Blooming

03-18-2012 01:53 PM by Radicalfarmergal | 9 comments »

Life has been busy, so this will be a short post to say that we enjoyed our second harvest from the two oyster mushroom kits. This time we enjoyed it on our home-made pizza as well as over pasta. The second harvest was a little smaller than the first, although still quite generous, and it took a little longer for the mushrooms to form. I have no complaints, however; they were as delicious as the first time!

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Part 6: Final bloom from the Mushroom Kit

05-26-2012 06:45 AM by Radicalfarmergal | 15 comments »

We enjoyed our final bloom from our inside oyster mushroom kit. The blooms become progressively smaller as the mycelium uses up the energy and nutrients in the substrate. Here is a photo of our harvest: After we harvested the mushrooms, my son discovered another surprise. I had covered the mushrooms with an old dish cloth to keep light off the back and sides of the substrate in order to encourage the mushrooms to come out of the front. My son lifted the cloth and found another bloom ...

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Part 7: Inoculating Logs for a Mushroom Harvest

06-02-2012 10:32 AM by Radicalfarmergal | 8 comments »

Mother’s day dawned sunny and mild. It was a perfect day to begin our family’s long-term mushroom cultivation project. I say long-term because, depending on the type of wood, size of the logs and conditions, we might have to wait two or three years to see a harvest. I am hoping it will be sooner! Early this spring we took down some trees that were heavily damaged in an unusually early snow storm. This is the time when the sap and moisture content are highest in the trunks. This higher con...

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Part 8: First Shitake Mushroom

06-04-2013 06:00 AM by Radicalfarmergal | 8 comments »

A little more than a year after we inoculated logs, we have had our first mushroom. Unfortunately, “matters of consequence” got in the way and I didn’t discover it until it was really too large to eat. My understanding is that they should be harvested between one and three inches and this one is already over five inches across. Still, I am hoping it is the first of many and I am regularly checking my mushroom logs again!

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Part 9: Shitake mushrooms for dinner tonight

09-26-2013 12:44 PM by Radicalfarmergal | 9 comments »

This morning I went out to check my inoculated logs and was pleased to see a fresh bloom of Shitake mushrooms. Here is my harvest: It is difficult to tell the size from the photos but the largest ones are almost three inches across. The smaller ones were wedged between two logs that had been relocated when the large willow branch fell on them last winter. I separated the logs to give them more room so next time the mushrooms won’t have to compete for space.

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