Who doesn't love a good mushroom? I love 'em, especially on my pizza and on my burgers, but, have you ever thought about where real mushrooms come from? There are many places to find mushrooms, (including different castles and houses) and when you start including the different varieties of mushroom that are edible to humans, you can find mushrooms almost anywhere.
But, we're kind of impatient when it comes to just waiting for mushrooms to sprout up. So, Jim C. and Dave W. have decided to take matters (and spores) into their own hands and have set up our very own mushroom garden. And, while it's not much to look at, it certainly has its uses.
Jim found some great trees in our backyard
They first had to find suitable sized logs in which to plant the spores.
Here, Dave is transferring the downed logs to the bobcat for delivery to the auto-bay.
Jim and Dave working hard.
Once transferred, Jim and Dave drilled holes into the logs and placed small wooden dowels into the holes. These wooden dowels have been coated in a shitake spore. Once the dowels are placed in the drill holes, they are sealed in by using hot wax. This keeps the spores from sneaking out the hole and keeps the moisture in. This process is called "inoculation".
Here you can see the dowels after they've been sealed into the logs.
Once they've been sealed, they logs are tagged with a date and set outside to sit for several months. This is to give the spores plenty of time to work their way through the log. After six months to two years, if you do it right, beautiful full shitake mushrooms will start to bloom all over the logs. During dry months, make sure to keep the logs moist by watering them.
There's a method of forcing the mushrooms to sprout. It's called "shocking" the spores. If you'd like the mushrooms to bloom on demand, you submerge the log for 24 hours and within a day or so, mushrooms will start to appear.
This is what our logs will look like next year.
If you're interested in finding out more on mushroom cultivation, we've selected several books to help you get started.