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Old 02-05-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default Grow your own Mushrooms

Did you know that you can do this? There are three ways that I know of: one is to buy a kit, which is essentially a box that you add water to, or an innoculated mulch that gets spread in your garden:

http://www.fungi.com/kits/index.html

The second way is to buy innoculated plugs that you stick into holes in a prepared log:

http://www.fungi.com/plugs/index.html

Quote:
By using the dowels to inoculate cut hardwood logs or stumps, mushroom mycelium can be encouraged to grow throughout or colonize the wood. Once the wood is fully colonized (typically 9-12 months) mushrooms will spring forth from cracks or channels in the wood.
The third way is to grow your own from spores, which sounds mighty hard to do.

http://www.mykoweb.com/articles/cultivation.html

The North American Mycological Assiociation has a lot of nifty information and links:

http://www.namyco.org/cultivation/links.html
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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I toured one of the producers of these kits, plugs and spawns:
http://www.fieldforest.net/store/ind...id=7&chapter=0

It's really a fascinating process to see how they create these kits, plugs and spawns. The one I visited in my area is a husband and wife team type of operation. It takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to produce a consistently high quality product. If there is a mushroom grower in your area, and they offer tours, it's an interesting educational experience.

If you're thinking of trying to grow some mushrooms from spawn or kits, this page has a nice guide to what you can do when, and how difficult the various species are to grow:
http://www.fieldforest.net/store/ind...id=2&chapter=0
It's a color coded listing so that you can see just how much of a challenge you are up for.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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http://www.permaculture-magazine.co.uk/articles/archive/article_23b.html

Here is an article from Permaculture magazine.

QUOTED:

Past articles in this magazine have shown how both native and exotic mushrooms can be grown on hardwood logs and recent summer visitors to Ragman’s Lane Farm in Gloucestershire will have seen the astounding results that Matt Dunwell has achieved growing shiitake mushrooms on oak logs – results achieved, I may add, by developing his own unique principles of management. Log farming is not the only way to grow edible mushrooms: they can be grown on woodchip, hedge trimmings, sawdust, compost (in its various stages), newspaper, coffee grinds, grass cuttings, leaf litter and, we believe, human waste from compost toilets!

The technology is small-scale, reasonably inexpensive, and organic – and has nothing whatsoever to do with black polytunnels full of horse manure.

Species & Methods

Hardwood Logs
Forget charcoal and rustic chairs this is the only way to use up those small roundwood logs. Growing mushrooms on logs is fairly natural and totally organic (though to get the Soil Association’s symbol you have to use wood from an ‘organic’ woodland or forest). The ideal size for a mushroom log would be no more than 1m (39in) length and 12.5cm (5in) in diameter at base: any bigger and your back will pay a high price for your labour! Logs can be cut as small as 5cm (2in) in diameter, making it an ideal use for neglected coppice woodlands.
Logs are cut in the winter and inoculated with mushroom spawn within a few months of felling. The cost of inoculating logs is extremely variable, but the model below should act as a guide for others to calculate their own costs: 500 x 1m logs x 12cm diameter (90 logs per cubic metre/tonne) = 5.5 tonne of wood.

If you are buying standing wood from a landowner then you should be paying about 6 per tonne – which should be poor quality stuff only. Cutting this wood yourself should take 2 days (conservatively). The same quantity from a local wood-cutter should cost you no more than 60 per tonne cut to your specifications and delivered to your door. If you decide to cut the wood yourself then costs will occur if the wood has to be extracted from the site. If you can get the land owner’s permission to inoculate your logs in the woodland and leave them in there to fruit then you are going to make life a lot easier – perhaps making a deal to share the profits? If you own some woodland then there is NO excuse for not using it.

If you do decide to cut the wood yourself then cost your labour at 10 per hour for 8 hours work per day (inclusive of chainsaw and transport costs). The spawn will cost about 300 and the sealing wax, drill bit and inoculating tool will add a further 50 to the overall cost. So, for about 1 per log you have a small log farm, which could, within 2 years, give you 250kg (5cwt) of edible mushrooms, sold at 9 per kilo wholesale. It will take you at least 2 weeks to drill, plug, seal and stack 500 logs, and then there is the management. Oak logs should fruit for at least 5 years and all other hardwoods can be utilised. The following species can be successfully grown on native hardwood logs: shiitake, oyster, enoki, beech oyster, chicken of the wood and nameko. We are continually adding to this list by developing strains from native species, which we collect during the year and test for suitability.

We believe that small farms with a maximum of 5,000 logs will become more popular in the UK and that they could make a fairly reasonable income for the grower. The largest shiitake log farm in Britain has 20,000 logs under management and the owner has claimed publicly that he is not making a profit because of the cost of labour, because of the time invol-ved in management and cheap imports from France, Mexico and Holland. More than 500 logs and you need machinery to assist with management.

Finally, be warned, logs will only fruit twice a year at best so be prepared to move a lot of mushrooms in one go! Our customers want mushrooms every week so we decided to research production on hardwood sawdust, which facilitates weekly production and the demand.
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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Awesome guys! Great resources!
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:21 AM   #5
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This is something I'm very interested in. Has anyone done this?
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