It’s A Mushroom Kind of Thing

The yard cleanup from the storm on Father’s Day weekend is nearly complete and our order for mushroom spores came in. We spent a couple of solid hours yesterday, drilling holes, hammering in the spore-covered dowels and then sealing it all with wax.

Take a look…

First, you drill holes with a 5/16″ drill bit at least one inch deep and approximately four inches apart around the log…

They end up looking like this…

Buy some mushroom spore dowels from Fungi Perfecti (they have the BEST prices!)…

Insert the dowels into the wood holes…

And tap them with a hammer until they are flush with the wood. Then melt some soy wax (also available at Fungi Perfecti) in a double boiler…

And use a paintbrush to seal the tops of the dowels…

Sealing it with wax encourages the humidity to stay within the log, allowing the spores to begin to break down the wood within. In about six to ten months we can expect to get our first mushroom harvests. They will continue for up to 5-7 years.

Imagine, pounds of mushrooms each year, of four different varieties, for up to 5-7 years. And hopefully, if we play our cards right, we can then collect some of the spores and inoculate more logs – making our less than $60 investment pay for itself, over and over again.

So you see, it’s a mushroom kind of thing.

Now…for the next stop in our Kansas City Urban Garden tour.

Peas on Earth Urban Farm

Located at 18th & Summit this duo is busy delivering organic veggies to local restaurants and also hosting unique dining experiences there on the property. If the samples of coleslaw and also the beet and carrot slaw were any example of the food to expect, anyone who attends is in for a treat.

Here are some of their in-ground beds…

A pretty sunflower graced the sample table…

This was in the coleslaw, along with apple and a host of other fresh veggies…

And yes, I have rainbow chard envy…

Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I review our next stop on the garden tour, Project Living Hope which chronicles more than just the garden, but also a 100-year-old renovated and improved “green” home.

As for me, it’s back to cleaning my office and then getting out to plant some of those piles of plants I got on sale recently. Happy Gardening!

For the Love of Fungi

We took a couple of days off from yard cleanup and now are back to it today. All of this wood got us to thinking about growing our own mushrooms, something we have wanted to do for some time now.

Enter Fungi Perfecti, founded by Paul Stamets who recently gave a TED talk on the benefits of fungi in cleaning up polluted soil.

His website has the best prices, hands down, of any others we have found. For just under $60 we ordered 100 spore plugs each of Pearl Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, and Maitake.

What’s nice is that they ‘fruit’ at different temps, so we should have a variety of mushroom blooms next year from the time the temps hit fifty degrees, all the way to 80 degrees Farenheit. A nice 30 degree span of mushroom eating yumminess.

Here is a little info and background on the mushrooms…

Pearl oyster mushroom

First cultivated in Germany during World War I as a subsistence measure it is now grown commercially around the world. Wikipedia sez…

The mushroom has a broad, fan or oyster-shaped cap spanning 5–25 cm; natural specimens range from white to gray or tan to dark-brown; the margin is inrolled when young, and is smooth and often somewhat lobed or wavy. The flesh is white, firm, and varies in thickness due to stipe arrangement. The gills of the mushroom are white to cream, and descend on the stalk if present. If so, the stipe is off-center with a lateral attachment to wood. The spore print of the mushroom is white to lilac-gray, and best viewed on dark background. The mushroom’s stipe is often absent. When present, it is short and thick.

No poisonous lookalikes grow in North America

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

I know it looks weird, but it was it’s reported taste that had me intrigued…

Hericium erinaceus is a choice edible when young, and the texture of the cooked mushroom is often compared to seafood. It often appears in Chinese vegetarian cuisine to replace pork or lamb. This mushroom is cultivated commercially on logs or sterilized sawdust. It is available fresh or dried in Asian grocery stores.

Shiitake Mushroom

Now doesn’t that look yummy? This mushroom had the broadest ‘fruit’ spectrum of any of the others. We can expect to get the shiitake mushrooms during temperatures of anywhere between 50 – 80 degrees!

Wikipedia sez…

During the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368–1644), physician Wu Juei wrote that the mushroom could be used not only as a food but as a medicinal mushroom, taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost qi, or life energy.[5] It was also believed to prevent premature aging.

Maitake (also known as Hen-of-the-Woods)

Dave was excited to find this one due to its purported medicinal qualities. Wikipedia sez…

In vitro research has shown Maitake can induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines (human prostatic cancer cells, Hep 3B cells, SGC-7901 cells, murine skin carcinoma cells)[6][7][8][9] as well as inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells (canine cancer cells, bladder cancer cells).[10][11][12] Small studies with human cancer patients, revealed a portion of the Maitake mushroom, known as the “Maitake D-fraction”, possess anti-cancer activity.[13][14] In vitro research demonstrated the mushroom has potential anti-metastatic properties.[15] In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an Investigational New Drug Application for a portion of the mushroom.[16]

Research has shown Maitake has a hypoglycemic effect, and may be beneficial for the management of diabetes.

So excitement abounds here at The Deadly Nightshade. Between the girls starting to produce eggs, the tree processing and our future mushroom patch we are full of plans and we have lots of work ahead of us. Which is pretty much a typical day ’round here.

Happy Mycology, folks!