I thought I would poll the masses and get some opinions on my cleanup plans. I have a 24ftx40ft area of blackberries that I am clearing out. We have been cutting up the blackberry canes into small pieces (aprox 6-12 inches long) and putting them in 18 gallon round plastic totes that have drainage holes drilled in the bottom of the totes. The plan is to mix the chopped canes, shredded paper, and coffee grounds together and then inoculate the mixture with oyster mushroom spawn by mixing in chopped mushroom butts. I am going to moisten the whole mess and cover it with wet cardboard to seal in the moisture. The totes will go into the garage to overwinter and (hopefully) the spawn will eat up all the blackberry canes leaving my family with tasty mushrooms and good compost.
Has anyone tried blackberry canes as a source of food for mushrooms? Should I try to sterilize my substrate before inoculating it? Do you think there is a better species of mushroom to use besides Oyster mushrooms? An edible mushroom would be nice, but not necessary...as long as the spores do not make my family sick and it breaks down the blackberry canes into useable compost, I am happy. Thank you in advance!
oyster mushrooms are a good choice, and they'll eat all materials you mention. you might be better off trying the stem butts in some corrugated cardboard first, though, then use the colonized cardboard in your totes. or try a variety of strategies to see what works best for you.
I think the key will be to avoid having too high a ratio of substrate to spawn. so maybe start with a small amount of material and add more to stay just a little bit ahead of the mycelium. oysters can overcome quite a bit of infection by other organisms, but they do have their limits.
You might try a small batch first, simply because, having lived on the west coast for years, my first thought was: Um, you might end up with a lot of re-rooted blackberries that way.
It depends on the blackberry, of course, but some of them can root from stems. Very few thicket-creating type plants like blackberries and raspberries spread solely, or even mostly, by seed.