Friday, February 26, 2010

Mushroom beginnings, again

Last year Jeremy wouldn't let me tell you all about his mushroom log experiments - until it all worked out and was successful. Now, since it was successful, I can give you more of a detailed, close-up look at the whole process. Not that you all want to see every last boring detail! Too bad - I'm going to share anyway. =)

First, you may ask, why are we doing more logs? Isn't 100+ logs enough?? Mushroom logs will keep growing mushrooms for 5 or so years. The amount of mushrooms goes down after several years, but they keep producing. If we stopped now, we wouldn't have any mushrooms in five years. So we keep doing logs and in several years we'll be "retiring" the first logs we did to make way for more productive ones. That's the plan anyway.

Jeremy found a new logger up north to get his logs from. This logger's parents have 40 acres and he thins the trees out from time to time.

So Jeremy borrowed a friend's van and drove up to get the logs today. This whole project of inoculating the logs is going to happen in our garage. I was too embarrassed to take pictures of how awful our garage was just a few days ago. Basically all of our storage was in it: wood, tools, a bathtub and two sinks for eventual remodeling projects, some furniture, a bale of hay for the chickens, two giant windows for eventual remodeling projects, crates and pallets, boxes and bins, our bikes, some trash that needs to go to the dump, etc, etc. Yes, you heard it: everything AND the kitchen sink!

We moved all the inside things into the basement (we can still sort of walk around down there) and organized everything else against the back wall of the garage.

We sort of forgot there was a three foot high pile of broken up concrete blocking the garage door, but we worked around that. Melting snow had also frozen the garage door to the ground, but that was nothing a shovel and some leverage couldn't handle!

Jeremy pulled up with his van load of logs and I made him move most of them since they are incredibly heavy!

That is a lot of logs!

Starting tomorrow, or Sunday, or some day soon, Jeremy will get to work drilling holes in the logs, stuffing the holes with mushroom spawn (which arrived in the mail just yesterday!), and covering the holes up with wax.

I do not envy him out there in that cold, cold garage (it's been in the 20s to 30s) for hours on end. But I'm sure he'll envy me in the toasty warm house sewing away!


Arika said...

This is very creative and exciting! :)

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

I know last time you used oak. Is that a necessity or can other woods be used? As one of the worst mushroom foragers alive I may have to give this a try but on much smaller scale for household use only.

Carolyn said...

Have you read Mycelium Running?

I'm going to try mushrooms when we're re-settled, but not on this scale. Impressive! Thanks for detailing your mushroom adventures.

Aimee said...

FF Rick - we are using oak again, but you can use other woods. Ironwood, sugar maple, florida maple, black maple, red maple, butternut hickory, black locust, and sweet gum, and aspen is okay too, though not as good as the others. There might be some others. All of these are hard, hard woods.
The logs can be 3 to 4 feet long, should be from 3 - 8 inches in diameter and must be fresh, fresh, fresh! =)
Jeremy will actually be leading a mushroom inoculation party/class coming up on March 20th.

Carolyn - we haven't read Mycelium Running, though we've heard about it! It's on the reading list... =)