M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:
I've used pre-soaked straw for years as a casing layer, especially for King Stropharia on wood chip beds. The straw actually works better than peat moss and is way cheaper. I get it for free at the stables- the manure and urine in the straw help feed the mycelium and make the mushrooms bigger.
Years ago I heard rumors that celebrated Oregon author and farmer Ken Kesey would feed a certain type of blue-staining mushroom to the cattle on his farm. Late in the summer, the desired mushrooms would pop up in his pasture next to the cowpies. I'm not sure what the cows thought about this method of cultivation.
John Elliott wrote:So many question, Dan!
Mushroom spores do remain viable when they pass through an animal's gut. Evolution has kind of seen to that. But for every one pass a spore might take through a mammal's gut, it probably takes 10 or 20 trips through an earthworm's gut, a bess bettle's gut, a lizard's gut, a toad's gut, or any other critter lower on the evolutionary scale. The further back in evolutionary time you go, the more dirt (and spores) the critter ingests and passes through its gut.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that fungi don't come out to play in high nitrogen environments. A fresh cow patty in a field is a bonanza for the dung beetles and bacteria, but it takes time, after the nitrogen rush has subsided for the fungi to appear. Meadow mushrooms wait a few months, breaking all the lignin and cellulose in the cow patty down before they are ready to produce a flush of new spore bodies. A pile of new grass clippings is a quick boost of nitrogen and it will get the bacteria going, but the real growth in the fungal population will occur after there has been a bacterial population explosion and die-off.
To keep a mushroom bed going, you need to emulate an old growth forest -- keep dropping more organic material on top of an already thick bed. Sure, fall is the time when the bed gets built up quickly, but other food falls during the rest of the year: dead branches during winter storms, flower petals in the spring, green leaves torn off by animals or wind in the summer, and bird droppings are pretty constant throughout the year. Bottom line is, you can always feed your mycelium by tossing more substrate on top.
Landon Sunrich wrote:Just to throw in my own experimentations here. I am using oyster mushroom alder logs as the bed borders for raised beds I have cooking which are about 50 % soil, 30 % wood chips and 20 % char with a mulch of straw on top. The logs borders have yielded oyster fruiting and there is definitely white rot going on in the beds.
drake schutt wrote:I don't think the idea in the OP is really viable since plants need more nutrients than wood chips or straw can provide. You could try planting them in the soil below the bed though. Mushroom farmer here.