Hmmm, it is difficult sometimes to ID the mycelium of various species that have been inoculated onto logs- especially from online pictures alone. But if the bark is coming off and you haven't harvested any mushrooms- that's not a good sign.
Did you leave any uninoculated ash logs from the same tree outside? If yes, do they look similar? In other words, could your shiitake log be contaminated with the wrong species?
I also use "fragrance" to identify mycelium. Does the shiitake log smell like shiitake mushrooms? Or like the uninoculated logs?
Ash is not usually recommended for shiitake either- maybe because the bark slips off too easily? However, mulberry IS recommended for lion's mane. I usually use oak or chinquapin for shiitake and oak for lion's mane.
The longest I've waited on shiitake logs is about 18 months. The shortest about 4 months. Lion's Mane is much slower and usually takes 1-2 years, although heavy inoculations could fruit sooner. My advice- don't give up yet, keep both logs in a shaded, moist area and keep waiting and watching till next spring. Until then, make sure the logs don't dry out. Even if the logs are partially contaminated they might still fruit, like some of my lion's mane logs did last year- I've got about four species of fungi on some of those logs now! Good luck!
If you have access to woodchips/sawdust, you might want to try King Stropharia (aka Wine Caps). This species takes the summer heat well, and should grow well during a mild, wet southern Cali winter. There is a ton of info on this website about this species, but here is a video from Field & Forest to get you started:
Wine Caps usually grow very fast, and heavy inoculations can yield mushrooms in a few months. They are the easiest mushroom to grow for beginners. Good luck!
Thank you all for reviving this topic. I have been enjoying wild Lion's Mane mushrooms (and their relatives) for many years. A few years ago a snowstorm left us with a LOT of downed trees. I ordered a bunch of spawn kits from Field & Forest and grew Lion's Mane on California Black Oak logs. This combination has done fairly well. The logs fruit in the spring and fall. The cultivated Lion's Mane mushrooms are even more delicious than the wild ones. I only wish the mushrooms were larger!
I made a tincture from Lion's Mane- just fresh fruiting bodies in vodka. The results were delicious and I have already given a bunch of the tincture away. I plan to grow more and make more tincture in the coming year. The latest research looks very promising.
Just an update, my goji plants finally began blooming in September after all that work. However, it looks like they won't be able to ripen the berries before winter hits. They seem to have problems timing their flowering correctly to insure pollination and ripening.
Hmmm, that sure doesn't sound like peach leaf curl. Looking at your photos again, the soil looks super dry, and I'm thinking that maybe the curled leaves just wilted? Like I said, I'd just prune the top leaves off and repot in good potting soil that is pre-moistened. Sometimes, soil gets so dry in pots that the water just runs down the sides of the pot, this is a common problem when people use dry, peat-based potting soils. I've had seedlings wilt before with this problem. No matter how much you water, the soil remains dry. In situations like this, I dip the base of the pot in water in a bucket and soak for a minute or so until bubbles stop coming up. Hope this rant helps...
Have your trees been outdoors getting lots of rain and high humidity? If yes, then you probably have peach leaf curl. There are two solutions. One is to grow the trees in pots and put them under shelter in the winter/wet months to avoid spreading the fungus on the leaves. I have some dwarf peach bushes that I grow in pots- they go in the greenhouse during the winter and come out in the late spring. The other solution, on outdoor planted trees, is to spray copper during the late winter. I use a OMRI (Organic Association) - approved organic version of this spray. Even though my trees are resistant, I live in rainy Oregon so I still have to spray copper anyway. Also, there are other folks on this website currently debating the merits of horsetail tea to prevent curl.
If your trees have no exposure to rain and high humidity, then you probably have a different problem. Do your pots have good drainage? Can you flip the pots over and peek at the roots? If the soil is too dry or too wet, that could be your problem. In this situation, I would just prune off the diseased/curly leaves and put the trees in well-drained pots in high- quality potting soil.
Finally, if you are in the US, I could send you some Indian Blood peach seeds. This variety has good resistance and is one the most delicious fruits in existence. There is an excellent thread on here about this variety and how people grow them from seeds. Please send me a private message if you are in the US and want peach seeds. Good luck!
That might be Peach Leaf Curl, a common fungal disease on peach leaves. It puckers up the leaves and turns them odd colors. Usually, this is only a problem on outdoor-grown peach trees that get lots of rain in the winter. In my own experience, peach leaf curl is kind of rare among seedlings. But on the other hand, I always grow curl resistant varieties. (And I've grown a lot of peaches from seed.)
There is another thread on here somewhere about this very topic. It seems that growing Chicken-of-Woods on Eucalyptus is a bit controversial. I'd probably stick with Shiitake, just to be safe.
I did a little bit of research and apparently Eucalyptus is commonly used for Shiitake production in Brazil. Different species of Eucalyptus have different success rates with different strains of Shiitake. Consult your local mushroom spawn company for more specific strain info. Good luck!
Here's a video about making and using meadow mushroom spore slurry:
I've had success with this method with morels and some other species. Agaricus mushrooms all prefer soil high in calcium and nearly neutral pH. Paul Stamets recommends using organic molasses as your source of sugar in the slurry. He also adds a pinch of salt to inhibit bacterial growth. Good luck!
I've had a lot of squirrel problems on my farm- particularly the Gray Squirrels- they are difficult to capture with a live trap and extremely obnoxious. They love to take one bite out of an almost-ripe pluot or plum and just leave it on the ground for the ants. I don't use violence against animals (although I've been tempted!) , so I've come up with some other ways to deal with them.
Probably my best strategy is to net my favorite trees that don't have much fruit on them (peaches, pluots, plums) and just let the squirrels eat from the tops of the tallest cherry trees (35') or from the apple trees. I've got TONS of apples, so I use some trees with mediocre fruit as a "trap" crop. I also harvest a lot of the netted pluots, peaches and plums now a little early, and then store the fruit in the fridge and then ripen the fruit on the counter in paper bags. The squirrels get their crop and I get mine.
I also encourage owls and hawks by putting up nesting boxes, platforms and leaving Doug-fir snags near the orchard and garden. I have a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks and several species of owls that live around here now. I 've never heard of hawks attacking gardeners before. But I've heard of Barred Owls attacking joggers though! Hope this advice might be of help...
Thank you for the Peter McCoy video. I really enjoyed his book Radical Mycology. I highly recommend this book for those who have read the excellent books by Paul Stamets, but want to go a step further into the world of myco-permaculture. It is a virtual encyclopedia of cutting edge mycology.
Bruce, where are you located? Depending on where you live, you might already have truffles nearby. For example, I live in Oregon and Oregon white truffles are found here under Douglas-fir, including my food forest farm.
If people are sincerely interested in growing truffles and are not into a get-rich-quick scheme, I always suggest that they check out Taming the Truffle, a book by Ian Hall, Gordon Brown and Alessandra Zambonelli. This is one of the best books ever written about truffles and truffle growing. Site selection, changing the soil pH, and finding the right tree and truffle species for your area are all crucial to success. Territorial Seed Company also now sells truffle- inoculated trees for those who wish to try growing European truffles.
I live in Oregon and I have some experience with the Oregon White Truffle which grows in my garden and around the farm under Douglas-fir trees. I've also taken Truffle growing classes at the local Community College from one of the folks who pioneered the growing of European truffles in Oregon.
I've noticed my local nursery sells these truffle-inoculated oaks, I think they're also from One Green World. I'm really tempted to buy one, but they are super pricey and truffle growing is a real gambler's crop- success is not likely for a beginner. However, if you have an open area free of any pre-existing tree roots or mycorrhizae, you could try planting the tree in extremely well-limed soil . Truffles love a calcium-rich soil and they require a neutral or even slightly alkaline soil. European truffles also do not like competition from other species of fungi.
If you're interested in growing truffles, I heartily recommend Taming the Truffle by Ian R. Hall, Gordon T. Brown and Alessandra Zambonelli. This book has a lot of great information for folks who want to grow truffles, or are just interested in them. The French have been cultivating truffles since the early 1800s. I also recommend finding out if any wild truffles grow in your area- maybe an edible species grows nearby that you could sample and then cultivate on your place. Good luck truffling!
I've had bad luck with getting my Goji berry plants to flower or fruit. I transplanted several nice plants from 1 gallon pots into a garden bed last year and have given them sun, fertilizer (chicken manure, wood ash, bonemeal), lime, mulch (wood chips), watering and even foliar feeding. Still, no sign of flowers- am I doing something wrong? Do I just need to wait another year?
I looked this one up in Mushrooms Demystified, too. Does it have a sac-like cup at the base? Is the spore print pinkish? Does the stem lack a ring? If the answer is yes to these three questions, I think you have some Big Sheath Mushrooms. Although listed as edible, certainly not worth it. My rule is never eat any wild mushrooms from internet ID alone. There have been several fatalities where immigrants mistook white Amanita mushrooms for relatives of the Big Sheath Mushroom.
And in case the spores are white and you might have an Amanita of some kind, I would not worry about getting poisoned by handling them or inhaling spores. Just don't eat them!!
In my experience, Blue Oysters are extremely aggressive fruiters, in other words, as soon as they run out of substrate and receive a trigger, such as water and a rise in humidity, they will fruit as soon as they can. My guess is that you could refrigerate the wild bird seed jars and withhold extra water until you're ready to transfer the spawn to the main substrate. I've seen oysters trying to fruit inside of space bags of spawn before transfers could be done. I've even seen photos of oysters fruiting from petri dishes! Good luck and please keep us updated.
Growing Agaricus bisporus from stem/stalk cuttings would be extremely difficult. In fact, growing this species from commercial spawn on compost is not easy either, I've had no luck. However, I've had great success growing Almond Agaricus (A. subrufescens) on leached cow manure compost in banana boxes with spawn from Field & Forest in Wisconsin. This species of Agaricus is delicious and is much easier to grow than A. bisporus. It also can be grown from stem cuttings propagated on cardboard like King Stropharia. Here's a video on how to grow Almond Agaricus outdoors or in a greenhouse:
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum is found on plum trees/stumps in Japan. Field & Forest Products states that Reishi can be grown on oak or plum logs. I've had good results growing Reishi on fresh oak logs, but I have not tried plum yet.
Robin, I've had bad luck in the past with growing Chicken-of-the-Woods on logs but now I think that the trick with that one is to semi-sterilize the logs by pressure cooking them, or by steaming or boiling. It seems like a hassle, but I think it will help you have a better success rate. Check out this video by Field & Forest about sterilizing logs for Hen and Chicken of the Woods:
While going through the Field & Forest paper catalog this evening, I noticed on their Tree Species Suitability Chart that Paper Birch was listed as "satisfactory" for growing both Lion's Mane and Comb Tooth. So you might want to ask the folks at Field and Forest if one of their strains just might work for you after all. If you order spawn, you might want to try inoculating a few logs each of paper birch, hawthorn and Doug-fir and see which works best.
I also live in the Northwest and I grow Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) on California black oak logs. I used plug spawn from Field and Forest Products in Wisconsin, my favorite mushroom spawn company. Field and Forest says that hardwood logs are best for Lion's Mane, including red oak, beech, sugar maple, tulip poplar, aspen, sweetgum and soft maples. They also sell Comb Tooth (Hericium americanum) spawn as well and they recommend beech and sugar maple for this species. They do not mention any suitable conifers for either species. I doubt Hawthorne would work, but you never know...
Another company from Ohio sells spawn for what they call the Conifer Coral mushroom (Hericium abietis):
They claim this species of Hericium will grow on conifers, including pine. My NW mushroom field guide states that H. abietis is found on hemlock and fir, meaning true firs of the Abies genus. I have seen this mushroom on true firs in the Cascade range and Siskiyous, but in over thirty years of mushroom hunting, never have I seen it on Douglas-fir. That being said, I would also like to find a strain of Lion's Mane that will grow on Douglas-fir logs, since I have tons of Douglas-fir on my property and very few true firs. But I have no experience with The MushroomPatch company- not even sure if they still sell spawn.
My guess is that it would be easiest for you to grow H. ericaceus from plug spawn from F & F on oak logs that are fresh and clean- maybe you could get a permit from the Forest Service to harvest a few oak log branches and inoculate those if you have no oak on your property. Good luck!
Some of the photos look pretty close to what you have. See what you think. I've seen the western version of this mushroom (Bondarzewia montana) at the base of old-growth conifers in Oregon. They can get quite large.
You might have a member of the Tyromyces genus, a group of polypore fungi that are described as shelflike or bracket-shaped; have a cheesy, fleshy texture when fresh; and the underside has pores instead of gills. This is an "artificial" genus that contains a bunch of species that look similar, but DNA studies reveal that some species aren't that closely related to each other. The spore print should be white or bluish.
That looks like a slime mold, possibly a member of the Physarum genus. I see related species in my garden all the time. They seem harmless, but to be on the safe side, I would avoid breathing the spores. I'm not sure if they will mess up your wine cap project. Hopefully, you will see white, ropey strands of mycelium (rhizomorphs) in your wine cap chips once the slime mold moves on.
The Calvatia genus is famous for also containing the classic Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea), one of the largest of all mushrooms. It is quite tasty when young, but only when the flesh looks like cream cheese. In fact, young puffballs make a great tofu substitute!