Tag Archives: growing mushrooms

Winecap Mushroom Update

Ann Arbor FoodOK for weeks I have been walking out to my pile of winecap mushroom spore inoculated  oak wood chip in the hopes of seeing a large flush of burgundy color mushrooms.

Winecaps are pretty fickle because you never know when they are going to fruit. Other mushrooms are more consistent. It is because of the random natural of winecaps that they are not widely cultivated commercially.

I have talked to people who say that it can take 1-2 years for a wood chip pile to colonize and begin fruiting mushrooms. I started the pile in October with the plan to have mushrooms ready for sale at the Westiside Farmers Market before the season ends in late September.

Well it looks like there is a chance of a harvest. I discovered this little (partly eaten) winecap mushroom in my wood chip pile.

I take this to mean that there can be more to come this season.

Growing Mushrooms at Home: Take two

There are a few ways to grow mushrooms at home. The first is by finding a fresh hardwood log, drilling holes, and hammering inoculated plugs into the holes, and covering with wax. Another other way is to use the method shown here. Straw has been boiled (distilled), place in a bag, and then it is inoculated with a mushroom spore. In this case oyster mushrooms. Holes are poked into the bag, so mushrooms can grow through.

I did not go through this process myself. I purchased this from a vendor at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. The instructions were to put it inside in a dark area like in the basement, and make sure to keep it moist. This advise was well in good, but the house I live in has all wood floors, and I a lot of wood furniture. And for anyone who has tried to grow mushroom in the house, there is always the possibility that the mushrooms will decide to plant themselves on other carbon IE wood sources. So I am growing mine in a plastic tub in the garage. The vendor told me that I should get some mushrooms in a few weeks, and up to 3 more harvests. Sounds good to me. The leftover straw and mushrooms spore makes great compost.

I will post updates in the weeks to come.

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Growing Mushroom at Home: Oyster, Shiitake and Wine-Cap

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Oyster Mushrooms Ready to Harvest

After a complete wash with hunting for Michigan morels this year, I only found one small morel after days of searching, I decided that I was going to learn how to grow my own mushrooms this year.

The opportunity came up when I heard about a class being offered here in Ann Arbor by Matt Demmon. The class was hands on with the seven of us in attendance participating in both log growing and ground growing mushroom methods.

The real trick for me with growing mushrooms is to find the hardwood logs. You need to use logs that are as fresh as possible and that have bark. Oak seems to be a good all around log for log growing mushrooms like Oyster and Shiitake. The thing is, they do not sell fresh cut oak logs with bark at the hardware store.

One of the advantages of log growing mushrooms is that you can take it with you. Log can last for a few years, and travel well. I usually rent a community garden plot, which means that every year around October, I have to pack everything up, and restart again, but with a mushroom log, I can bring my garden with me.

The log method shown in the picture below is pretty straight forward, and I feel is a good place to start for beginners. By contrast, other forms of mushroom cultivation are very involved with many exacting variables, and laboratory conditions.

Here is a picture summary of the class. I will have updates in the spring to see how my mushroom log turned out.

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Oyster Mushrooms growing out of a log
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White spot at end shows a well inoculated log

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Oyster Mushrooms on a log not ready for harvest

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Hardwood Logs

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Drilling the Logs

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Hammering oyster spore inoculated wood dowels into the logs

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Bag of Wooden Dowels

Here is a link to Fungi Perfecti about mushroom spore dowels

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Mushroom Growing Party

The only step I did not take a picture of was the waxing. After drilling, then hamming a dowel into the log, it is coated with wax, in our case melted Beeswax.

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Wine-cap Mushrooms grown in Wood chips on the ground

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Bed of Wood chips with Wine-cup mushroom spores

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Oyster Mushroom Log from class in a shady spot in my yard

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Fine Hardwood Mulch Bed (wood chips are better, but we will see how this batch turns out)

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Wine-cap mushrooms broken up on mulch (Newspaper underneath to prevent weeds) 

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Close up of Wine-Cap Mushroom (Go Spores Go!!!)