Just put in an order through fungi perfecti for plug (dowel) spawn. Ended up getting some of each of the eight types they have available.
This should be enough to try out three to five 3-4 foot logs for each species, that way we can see what we like and what does well here.
I'll be taking down a dozen or so oaks and a couple of doug fir tomorrow that are in the right size range (6-12" trunks) which should give me more than enough wood for this round of experiments. I'll let the cut wood age a week or two and then innoculate with the plug spawn.
Has anyone here tried growing the Turkey Tail mushrooms? This will be my first experience with them and I'm curious about others experiences. The customer rep at FP recommended to keep them away from the other species.
At this point I'm more curious regarding other home/amateur growers experiences with the Turkey Tail (and other species).
From the picture background, it looks like the blocks are in a tent type set-up. How heavy is the spore load from Turkey Tail? Hopefully not as bad as Oyster types...
My fruiting chamber was outdoors at the time. The weather was quite dry, so I used the plastic tent with a humidifier to bring up humidity.
I would estimate that the spore load is greater than oysters, as the fruiting body is much slower growing and longer-lived, but I didn't really notice - I was growing Reishi at the same time and I was overwhelmed by its massive amount of chocolate-powder-like spores. (The Turkey Tail spores are whitish and less noticeable.)
This is a photo of the bottom of a sawdust block that had been removed from its plastic bag and was sitting on plastic shelves - hence the rectangular pattern. Every possible surface is turned into a spore-launching surface:
pore surface by frankenstoen, on Flickr
More pictures of Turkey Tail here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankenstoen/sets/72157618167582738/with/3643216358/
I'm pretty well set on getting set up for outdoor production. I keep thinking that it would be nice to set up some small block buildings for environmentally controlled conditions, but the heavy spore load for some of the species I am most interested in seems a large net negative.
Mushrooms have so many positive aspects, I would hate to risk becoming reactive to some of them by forcing their growth in to artificial conditions.
Outdoor culture using chip/branch beds and above and below ground log culture seems the most attractive.
There are a lot of drawbacks to raising fungi indoors. The high humidity needed means that the structure must be built of materials that won't corrode or rot. The temperature requirements mean that heating may be needed in winter and cooling needed in summer, meaning fossil-fuel inputs. The fresh air requirements (6-12 air changes per hour) mean fans running constantly. The spore load in a closed environment is a serious health hazard.
Ironically, your climate is well suited for indoor production using cheap hoop-house structures made from plastic and steel. In climates with greater temperature swings, the costs go up greatly. After a lot of research, I really think that the only practical indoor solution in a climate such as we have here in Ohio is to build an underground vault out of masonry or concrete (which has a huge start-up cost.)
A compromise for your climate might be to build shadehouses out of natural materials. A structure like this could help hold humidity during the summer and heat during the winter in a fairly mild climate. Check out the Shiitake Cultivation Handbook and the Oyster Cultivation Handbook discussed at this thread: http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/5543_0/fungi-/fungi-cultivation-resources for some pictures of "hut" structures used in third world countries for mushroom growing that are built out of natively found materials. While such structures lack permanence, they do blend into the surrounding landscape with grace and are biodegradable.
Turkey tail are easy to grow. I grew the above on sawdust blocks from a specimen I collected in the wild and cloned. Turkey Tail is incredibly aggressive and it decomposes wood at a frighteningly fast rate.
hey frankenstoen, What are your thoughts on which of the more common edible/medicinal types is the fastest decomposer? Based on what I have read it sounds like turkey tail followed by pleurotus but wondered if you had any real world opinions? A few times I have filled bags the spawn plugs came in with sawdust from drilling the logs along with a few plugs and was amazed how quick reishi colonized the sawdust.
I am in the process of thinning a woodlot and innoculating the logs both for mushrooms and to more quickly build up forest floor duff for our forest garden so quicker is better and I already have more than enough edibles going. Raft culture with turkey tail amonst the trees in the garden is where I am leaning on future energies
The strain of Reishi that I used was a warm weather strain from the deep South and it really only fruited well during the hotter months when I was living in the Pacific Northwest. While it colonized aggressively and quickly in cooler weather it then seemed to "sleep" until the temps got into the 80's. (F) A cool weather strain might behave very differently.
In contrast, the strain of Turkey Tail I cloned was from the Pacific Northwest, so it may have been better adapted for that climate.
Reishi and Turkey Tail are both considered potent medicinals and both are easy to dry and store. In some areas they may have some economic value.
A side project I just started in the forest that I have been thinning which combines log, stump and chip culture. Stumps were inoculated with plugs from the top and a few spots in the side with maitake. I didn’t have a lot of proper size oak logs (maitakes preferred host) on the property so took some smaller ones and hit them up with maitake plugs, once they started to run they were cut into smaller sections and placed in a dug out area exposing some roots of freshly cut apple and cherry stumps kinda like giant plugs then covered with a mix of oak/birch/honey locust chips and mulch. The first two stumps I did with stamets maitake but plan to do two other stumps within a close distance with other maitake strains and let them “mingle” and hopefully hybridize for a strain best suited to the site. Maitake seems to have very aggressive mycelium also.
maitake0 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr
maitake2 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr
maitake1 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr
maitake4 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr
Maitake by frankenstoen, on Flickr
I don't know how often this occurs but it suggests that Honey Locust could be an alternative for oak in certain cases.
I will be very interested to see how your fungi forest progresses as it is something I have been wanting to try for quite a while now.
I am going to try spliting the log into little slivers down to where I can see the mycelium. I m then going to place the wedges on wet cardboard with a lid on and from there just keep it wet and wit to see. After I see the mycelium has taken to the cardboard I cAn make saw cuts into hardwood logs and wedge the cardboard in......
I am also going to try wedging one of those slivers of original turkey tail covered log into a crack I make in a big leaf maple stump I put a crack into with an axe..........
What do ya'll think. I have read about all these really sterile environments for propogating mushrooms but I just can't believe that sterilization and grow kits are the only way to go.
I also hope that this works so I can try cultivating oyster mushrooms I wild gather and any others I caan find.
thanks for helping this noobie out
in addition to splitting the log in to slivers, if it is possible, it may be worth cutting across the grain to make "rounds", as well. these can be placed in between other sections of recently cut logs like a vertical sandwich. Securing wedges of the fruiting turkey tail logs in to cut out pieces of recently cut logs should also work in a similar fashion.
I found some wild growing turkey tails on our property a few weeks back, too. I am trying to let the fully mature (and spread as many spores as possible) before I use the wood to propagate them further
here is link to the picture:
richard valley wrote:Are turkey tail mushrooms edible?
Hi Richard - they are not your typical culinary type mushroom. They are tough and leathery/woody, depending on the stage of maturity. Most folks use the mushrooms (or an extract of the mycelium if growing them for commerical purposes) to make a tea by boiling for some time. Do a google search and check out all the medicinal purposes that they have been used for over the years...
the instructions for the plug spawn that I used from Fungi Perfecti last fall stated that it was best to inoculate logs that had been cut at least a couple weeks prior, but not too long (more than a couple months, if I recall correctly). I think it was to allow the natural anti-fungal properties in the wood to degrade or inactivate.
Good luck and i hope you post some pictures of your efforts and success - I'm curious what general part of the world you are in, if you are willing to share the info.
I dont know what I am doing..... if there is to much water, or any other number of conditions that could e alterd to improve the chances of the mycellium spreading to the rest of the "food" I provided.
by the way Kay Bee,
Im north of you just east of vancouver WA
If you can try and keep the chips from being dripping wet, I think you will increase your chances of success. Are the boxes or tote sealed? If so, I'd suggest providing an opening or other way to get aeration to the substrate (chips/cardboard/etc). It shouldn't need a lot of aeration, but sealing it tightly probably wouldn't be best.
One other thought is the risk of contamination or competing organisms taking over the chips. If you look up above at Franklin's pictures of the turkey tail growing on the sawdust blocks, I am assuming they were sterilized in some way (heat and pressure, most likely), before adding the turkey tail mycelium or spawn.
Starting with non-sterilized wood may work just fine with an aggressive organism like turkey tail, but I think it may have a reduced chance of success as compared to starting with sterilized substrate.
It will be interesting to see how it works out!
Thanks for sharing your general location - sounds like we are on a similar seasonal timeline.
Willy - I am assuming the plugs that were not fully inserted in the pictures were for illustration purposes for the picture (some all the way in, some partially in, some just placed in the drilled holes). they should definitely be hammered in to the logs all the way.
I need to get out and check my log cultures to see if there is any activity after the last couple of warm days. Since I used Oregon white oak for the majority of my log cultures (I used Doug-fir for the phoenix oyster and chicken of the woods), I'm not sure if I will get any fruiting activity out of them this spring, or not. It may take until longer in the year for most of the strains. I am hopeful that the more aggressive types like the turkey tail and oysters will start to bear within the next month or so.