Mushrooms are tasty, but they are expensive and sometimes hard to get. Luckily there is an effective inexpensive way for local restaurants and residents to have lots of mushrooms, like the delicious shitake mushroom, for years to come right in our backyards. We can learn, have fun, and become a more sustainable neighborhood in the process.
Mushroom log inoculation is a way to farm your own mushrooms on a log or even in a bed of sawdust. Sean Gere of Gere Tree Care says that almost any hardwood can be used, including trees from our urban forest and lots of different types of mushrooms can be grown. All you need is the log, mushroom spawns provided by a supplier (or collected in the wild, for the do-it yourself types), a drill and drill bit, a bit of melted wax, water, and a good shaded spot. The best time to inoculate the logs is in the spring approximately one month before the average last frost, so long as it is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The logs will fruit mushrooms anywhere from 2months, such as with some oyster mushrooms, to a year after inoculation as with Shitake mushrooms. The logs can continue to fruit tasty mushrooms anywhere from two to even eight years after the first fruiting without much maintenance. All they need is to stay moist and shaded.
Gere is working with the Goodman Community Centers Iron Works cafÃ© to create a little mushroom garden using this method with the help of Field & Forest Products, Inc in Peshtigo, WI, a private company that specializes in Mushroom Spawns. They will be going for diversity, using multiple different hardwoods and a variety of spawn species. They will use the inoculation of the logs as a teaching opportunity for participants, use the garden as a method for water retention, and last, but most importantly, the mushroom garden will provide the cafÃ© with gourmet mushrooms, a delicacy usually reserved for fancy restaurants! Well, not anymore.
For more information on Mushroom log inoculation visit www.mushroommountain.com and stay tuned to our website and Sustainable Atwoods facebook page for updates on future mushroom inoculation events.