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Fungi? More like panicked me!

 
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I've ordered a bunch of fungi - without really knowing much about growing them. We've grown oysters in a box, & hubs put out morel spore, last month.
I now have reishi, maitake, Turkey tail, puffball, lion's mane, and chicken of the woods ALL en route, and due in the next few days! I know there will be directions with them, all. Ok. No, I don't KNOW that. I'm HOPING it really hard, though! Ok, I ordered these fungi days ago, and was perfectly calm and rational. Now that they're arrival is imminent, I'm starting to panic.

But, they all have to go outside, because I'm not set up to grow much of anything inside, other than the vermiculture farm hubs has (which is where my avocado seeds are doing amazingly well!), and the 2 stalks of celery in the kitchen window, that I'm growing from our last grocery store celery. I've loads of oak, live, standing dead, and downed. Will that work for all of them? I have shady spots, sunny spots, & part sunny spots. As far as soil,  I have mostly clay and rocks, but, some soil, in small amounts, too.

If I can't do them all in one day, how should I prioritize them? What have I gotten myself into, here? Don't these things usually kinda do their own thing? Are there any reasons why they should or shouldn't work as 'companions'? Are there plants they should or shouldn't be hanging out with? I mean, is the (partly sunny) flower bed too 'uptown'? Or will they turn their noses up, at the scrawny junipers that hang out, in the sun? Or... ai, yai, yai...

Ugh, please don't tell hubs I feel like I'm in over my head, hmm?

 
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Hello Carla,

I see why your suddenly nervous, not knowing what you've gotten yourself into. I really depends on what you purchased, that will determine what you do with them. Was it spawn you purchased or fruiting blocks? Fruiting blocks are typically ready to fruit once fully colonized, so then just fruit them out, by following the fruiting instructions for that species. If it's spawn you purchased, thats a whole different story, and one that will involve lots of work. Since not all the mycelium species you purchased prefer Oak as a substrate. That means you will need to find or make, appropriate substrates for the mycelium species, and make that substrate ready for innoculating. The Reishi depending on which particular species you bought, prefers various types of hemlock logs. The Puffball depending on what type, may require a substrate mix of various things, and everything else may do well on Oak, though Maitake grows with Oak, it doesn do logs from my understanding. Turkey Tails will grow on Oak, but from my experience, they really like Alder logs better, if its an option.

You may need to store your spawn in the refrigerator, while you do some resurch, and get your substrates in order. Logs are fairly easy to do, but it gets more complicated when the mycelium species prefers a mix substrate to fruit on, especially if that process requires pasteurization, which most mix substrates do at minimum for best results.

If you are set up to steralize and inoculate fruiting blocks, you may prefer specialized substrate mixes, customized for each species, to speed up colonization and fruiting production: Though that may be lengthened by outdoor temperature conditions.

I would recomend in depth researching at least the Puffball and Maitaki, because those two may require substrate mixes for best results. The others can be used for innoculating logs, with the appropriate log species selected. I would check the scientific name on your reishi variety, and make sure the hemlock available in your area, will work for it.

Those are my best suggestions, besides resurching the products, before you buy them : ) Oh the power of the buy now button.
 
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I have no idea since I'm only now considering intentionally farming fungi. Please keep us posted so we can learn from you.

And breathe. It's only mushrooms! :)
 
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Carla,

Wow!! You have quite a project ahead of you!  I thought I was in over my head when I had just 1 species (Stropharia), and that one is an easy one to grow.

Regarding one statement that you made, I would be wary about mixing all/any of your species together as they tend to not like other fungi playing in their sandbox and will actually secrete toxins to ward off other mushrooms.  In effect, they will wage chemical warfare against each other in an attempt at local dominance.

After you get your first flush of mushrooms and your substrate really breaks down, then if you want, go ahead and mix some of the species together and see what happens.

When I first ordered my Stropharia, I was told that oyster mushrooms were also an excellent mushroom for breaking down wood (this was my main goal—make mushroom compost) and I asked if I should go ahead and throw some oyster mushrooms in with the Stropharia.  I was told unequivocally that this was a bad idea.

Great luck on your project.  Hang in there and you will get it done!

Eric
 
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Carla Burke wrote:I've ordered a bunch of fungi - without really knowing much about growing them. We've grown oysters in a box, & hubs put out morel spore, last month.
I now have reishi, maitake, Turkey tail, puffball, lion's mane, and chicken of the woods ALL en route, and due in the next few days! I know there will be directions with them, all. Ok. No, I don't KNOW that. I'm HOPING it really hard, though! Ok, I ordered these fungi days ago, and was perfectly calm and rational. Now that they're arrival is imminent, I'm starting to panic.

But, they all have to go outside, because I'm not set up to grow much of anything inside, other than the vermiculture farm hubs has (which is where my avocado seeds are doing amazingly well!), and the 2 stalks of celery in the kitchen window, that I'm growing from our last grocery store celery. I've loads of oak, live, standing dead, and downed. Will that work for all of them? I have shady spots, sunny spots, & part sunny spots. As far as soil,  I have mostly clay and rocks, but, some soil, in small amounts, too.

If I can't do them all in one day, how should I prioritize them? What have I gotten myself into, here? Don't these things usually kinda do their own thing? Are there any reasons why they should or shouldn't work as 'companions'? Are there plants they should or shouldn't be hanging out with? I mean, is the (partly sunny) flower bed too 'uptown'? Or will they turn their noses up, at the scrawny junipers that hang out, in the sun? Or... ai, yai, yai...

Ugh, please don't tell hubs I feel like I'm in over my head, hmm?



Fungi produce mycotoxins for the express purpose of keeping all the food to themselves. That means that if you mix species of fungi, someone is going to die from deliberate poisoning from the strongest species.

Out side means you will need to keep the logs or chips or sawdust moist, so shade is of primary concern since having the growing substrate in the shade will reduce the amount of water needed to keep the substrate moist.

As Eric and J. Edwards mentioned, Oak is not good for Reishi or Chicken of the woods, Reishi will grow on oak, but it will not be growing on that fungi's preferred substrate, (I have had success with Reishi on hickory that was cut fresh and plugged within two weeks from cutting).
Chicken of the woods wants a conifer such as spruce, fir, or even pine, it will not do well in a juniper species and it flat won't do anything in oak. Maitake are very particular about the substrate they want to grow in. Puff ball usually wants at least some soil.
As E and J also mentioned, if you can't get them into your substrate right away, fungi will survive in the fridge for at least 30 days.

When selecting the mushroom log wood, be sure it hasn't already been invaded by another species of fungi, if it has, reject that tree or log as a possible substrate for growing your desired species of fungi.

Any other questions? just ask and at least one of us will answer the best we can.

Redhawk
 
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You know, when we were growing up in Decatur, Georgia, we had lawns that had a lot of clover in them, honeybees always working the blossoms. And I remember us going out with some frequency and picking puffballs out of the lawn and frying them in butter. Nobody inoculated anything, and I don't recall there being that many trees around other than the usual yard ornamentals...a silver maple, a weeping willow, a redbud or two. Why were there so many puffballs, I wonder, and why did they thrive without anyone doing anything to them?
 
Carla Burke
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Thank you, everyone! Though I can't really say I feel much better, lol.

@ J. Edwards,  they're in several forms, and not all coming from the same place - more below - I'm desperately hoping they all come with idiot-proof instructions! I'm honestly not ready for this, in any way, shape, or form. ~sigh~

@ Priscilla Stilwell - we can learn, together!

@ Eric Hanse, oh, don't I know it! And WARFARE??? Jeebuzz, I really have put myself into a pickle - especially since hubs really wanted to put them all in one specific area.

@ Dr. RedHawk, Shade can be had, dirt can be had - especially if it can be near the irises, rouser of Sharon, lilacs, and a couple other flowing shrubs I've still not identified. I've no idea if there are any hickory. I've got a maple - either sugar or Norway - guess I'll be finding that out, momentarily. There are a few other trees here that I've not yet identified, including at least one not-juniper conifer species. There are also a couple mimosas...

Ok, how they're coming:
The lion's mane is in a syringe.
This is the puffball: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GYPJGL4/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
This is the reishi, maitake, & turkey tail: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N8BFT2N/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The chicken of the woods is described as 'plug spawn'.
I've no clue how much time these forms will give me, to work with. When we did the oysters, it was a boxed kit that say in the corner for months, before we got around to doing anything with it, so I was honestly (albeit naively) thinking that they only one that would be a hurry was the lion's mane.

I'm on 29acres, mostly wooded, almost nothing flat, with 2 deep ravines, what soil we have is mostly clay, but there are some spots with darker, loamier soil, too. There are tons of wild blackberries, so I know there is probably more soil to be found. I know so little about this, that I don't know what I don't know ( so I don't know what to ask) but I do know that I don't know much more than - I really love mushrooms, on my plate, and as an herbalist, I know some - if not all - of these are going to have great medicinal values.

Btw - hubs has caught onto my panic, and is chuckling at me, but is being very awesome & supportive, so I'm pretty sure he's going to be willing (Though physically limited) labor, even though he doesn't know any more than I do, lol.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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The Lions mane in the syringe is meant to be used to inoculate a sterile substrate (growing medium), not really hard to make such a medium if you happen to have a pressure cooker.

The puff ball comes with the substrate to get started growing it from spores.

The Reishi, Maitake and turkey tail are also provided as spores that are mingled with some substrate.

Plug spawn is for tamping into drilled holes in logs.

If you can't find or don't receive directions with the products, please let me know and I'll be happy to help you get things going.

Redhawk


 
Carla Burke
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The Lions mane in the syringe is meant to be used to inoculate a sterile substrate (growing medium), not really hard to make such a medium if you happen to have a pressure cooker.

The puff ball comes with the substrate to get started growing it from spores.

The Reishi, Maitake and turkey tail are also provided as spores that are mingled with some substrate.

Plug spawn is for tamping into drilled holes in logs.

If you can't find or don't receive directions with the products, please let me know and I'll be happy to help you get things going.

Redhawk




THANK YOU!!! I have a drill & a pressure cooker, so I'm set, on tools (YAY!) Just how far apart do all these guys need to be, to keep the peace, please?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Distance will depend on whether you use wood chip beds (about a foot between each wood chip bed). (I leave 2 feet so I can walk between the few beds I have set up)
Chip beds will want extra chips every year, that will keep the mycelium growing and fruiting each year as the chips are fully occupied by the fungi.
Mushroom logs (can be ricked together since each log will have wax protection over each hole drilled and filled along with both ends).

If you decide to use a substrate (any substrate) in plastic bags (a-la indoor incubation, which can be done outdoors in a tent like structure as long as the tent is setup in full shade and you can circulate air to keep the temperature under the 100 f mark for best fruiting and growing of the mycelium).
I have a friend who has his hanging in his garage (takes up the space for one vehicle in his case) with a fan to circulate air for cooling in the heat of the day. (his garage can get up to 106 if the outside ambient temp is in the mid 90's f)

Lion's mane loves oak trees or oak tree bits (chips or sawdust). I have two dead trees with wild lions mane growing in them.
For sawdust or chips you have to pressure cook the substrate for 30 minutes at pressure then let them cool completely before you bag them and inoculate via syringe.

Redhawk

Maitake is a known cancer fighter (it blocks the molecules that allow cancers to grow as they wish, (quite similar to the substances in green tea that way)).
Reishi is good for a number of things including immune system build up and memory. The tea will be bitter, but that's just the way Reishi is.

If you haven't already, go to paul Stamets site fungi perfecti site, he has a lot of good info on the medicinal values of each type of mushroom he grows and markets.
 
Carla Burke
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Sooooo.... lion's mane & chicken of the woods are sitting in my lap - so much for 'a few days', lol. No instructions at all, with the lion's mane, but it does include an alcohol prep wipe. Joy, joy.

And the chicken of the woods directions are as follows: "Live Mushroom Spawn. Please use right away, or refrigerate until ready to use. Mushroom spawn (spore's) remains viable for months with refrigeration. As the spawn matures it will produce white fuzzy mycelium. This is normal and does not effect the viability of the spawn. Strain type: Chicken of the Woods www.forestorganics.net"

So, Dr. RedHawk, your advice is already far more substantial than anything from both of these places, combined. Thank you. No doubt, I'll have more questions! 0.0
 
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I did the same thing a couple of years ago. I bought the colonized grain bags and drilled a lot of logs. I bought the dozen from Tradd Cotters outfit (Mushroom Mountain).  I bought different strains of shiitake, Oyster, Maitake and for some reason also bought turkey tail which I can find in the wooded lot next door.  
I found that the cool weather Shiitake and Oyster is the ones for me.  The warm and hot weather mushrooms get eaten up by bugs before I can get to them.  The Maitake and Black Poplar were put into a buried raft log pit and never did have anything show.
 
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What species of chicken of the woods did you purchase? There are some that are recommended to grow on oak vs pine, I have also seen warning like "Do not consume any chicken of the woods unless you harvested it from a deciduous tree [for NE species]. Those growing on yews, conifers or eucalyptus may absorb some of their oils which can cause serious distress."

I ate a small piece of one that was from a pine, and it had a really "off" taste. All the rest that I wild harvest here (in PA), I take from deciduous trees and have not had that issue, see (http://steve.rogueleaf.com/fungi/laetiporus/).

I tried the plug spawn, and had limited success, I wasn't able to keep the logs moist or shaded enough, and I think I chose too large of logs which take longer to fully be inoculated. For the plug spawn, you are going to need to have a log and drill a bunch of holes, insert the plugs, and then brush with melted wax to seal the inserted plugs https://mushroommtn.wpengine.com/growing-manual-resources/.
 
Dennis Bangham
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COW is very hard to grow. Even in a humidity chamber.  

Yeah I would avoid pine and the other resinous woods.  Go to field and forest and download the pamplet.  www.fieldforest.net

Mushroom mountain is also a good resource of information.

Instead of plugging look into the totem method or kerfing.

I read where a lady in Alabama wrapped her logs loosely with plastic wrap after soaking and plugging.  

This is one of those things that there are a thousand different ways
 
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You should try foraging for the Chicken and Hen of the woods.  You may also find Lion's Mane, Reishi, Oyster, Wood Ear.  After a good rain and the weather drops a couple of degrees (not freezing) you may find that what you seek to grow.
 
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I did quart bottles of substrate in the pressure cooker. Prior to pressuring I drilled a hole in the lid and put a piece of plumbers tape over it. I don't know if it worked, because the bottles are still sitting in my cupboard and have never been used. But in any case, the tape worked. The heat from the pressure cooker didn't break the seal or destroy the tape. The idea was that I could stick the syringe into the bottle through the "vent" made by the tape. Something to think about, anyway.
 
Dennis Bangham
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you should the plumbers tape with micropore tape.  And innoculate.  The myselium needs to have air.
 
Carla Burke
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Dennis Bangham wrote:You should try foraging for the Chicken and Hen of the woods.  You may also find Lion's Mane, Reishi, Oyster, Wood Ear.  After a good rain and the weather drops a couple of degrees (not freezing) you may find that what you seek to grow.



I did look - last fall, this spring, and all summer. That's why I purchased them.
 
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After reading here, & chatting with hubs, I've refrigerated my spawn (ok, that just sounds cruel, lol), and we will go get oak & hickory chips, which I'll pressure cook for... how long, please? Then cool the oak chips, I'll then inoculate with the lion's mane, and... nestle up around a couple of happy oak trees?

The chicken of the woods plugs are where I'm not sure to go, next. I honestly doubt even know if we have any hickory trees. So, I guess my next step is to figure out if they look like anything I've actually already seen, here. If so, the CotW plugs will get the same treatment as the lion's mane, but with a friendly hickory, or two.

If I understand correctly; if there is no hickory host, I can create a small, shaded plot for them, and just add more chips, every year? Are there any other trees that make good hosts? I mean, ideally, I'd love to be able to put them somewhere that won't require buying more stuff, every year. I'm absolutely good with planting some hickory trees, if I can eventually move the CotW to them, if need be. This is the only one of this bunch about which I've not heard anything about a medicinal benefit - but, it's probably just not surfaced, yet, in my very limited research.

I know these fungi I've chosen all are edible, and most have at least some health beneficial aspects, too. I use reishi, now, but primarily just for bolstering my immune system, when I don't feel well, am under more stress than usual, or know I've been exposed to someone's 'creeping crud'. I didn't know about the memory assist! That's fantastic!

Lion's mane is supposed to have both taste and texture similar to lobster? Being smack in the middle of the country, that sounds incredibly appealing, to this seafood loving woman, plus its said to have some medicinal properties, too. Definitely worth doing the research!

I know nothing about the Turkey tail. Well - it's pretty, lol.

I've had maitake, in stirfry, and liked it. The health benefits are great, especially considering how many members of my family have been lost to cancer. I love that just having an enjoyable addition to dinner will very likely be all it takes, to help prevent cancer, for me and mine.


 
Dennis Bangham
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Oak wood shavings is better.  Sawdust maybe too small. Spawn likes to spread quickly into small tightly packed areas and chips have big gaps.
You could go ahead and expand that spawn onto another 10 equal size bags.
I tried COtW on logs and bags with no luck.  It is real picky and I heard very few can do it.  I have good luck with Reishi (G Lucidum and G. Curtisii) and cool and cold weather shiitake.  Warm Shiitake would work for you too.
My taste buds are not too developed.  Too many burger king trips.  I built a humidity chamber and grew lions mane, shiitake, oyster, Black Poplar and a few other I can't remember.  I am the only one here in the family who likes mushrooms.
I made Lions Mane, Reishi, White Oyster, Shiitake and Turkey Tail mushrooms into tinctures.  These all have medicinal properties and I take each about 1 to 2 times a week.  I no longer have arthritis pain in my feet.  Lions Mane is a Nootropic, Turkey Tail, Reishi are immune modulators.  White Oyster may lower cholesterol, and Shiitake is used in Japan in recovery from Chemotherapy.
I also take SEA-90 and Baking Soda mixed in my drinking water. Got this from Dr. Redhawk.
 
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oh yeah. Pressure cook at 15 psi for 90 minutes for 5 lb bags and 120 for 10 lb bags.  You can put as many bags in that will fit but make sure you put a plate on top so the vent does not get plugged up or a disaster will happen.  The time starts when it reaches 15 psi.  Do not open until it cools (overnight) or the pressure change will suck in all the bad stuff floating around.

The absolute easiest way to grow oyster mushrooms is in pasteurized straw.  In a 27 gallon bin, fill with cold water and two cups of "hydrated lime" and straw (not hay).  let it sit for 6 hours and drain.  Mix in oyster spawn and put in bags that have micropore covered holes. Wait and watch the straw turn white.  

Get a Martha Tent (google this) and some way to keep the humidty at 90% and the temperature around 75F.  Watch it fruit, harvest, fruit again, harvest and put in your garden and it may fruit again there.
 
Carla Burke
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Thanks, Dennis. I don't know much about mushrooms (though I have been doing a lot of research, starting before starting this thread), but I'm well acquainted with pressure cookers, power tools, etc. I appreciate the time and psi info. :)

We aren't doing oysters, this time around. We've done those, indoors, in a little kit, once, and they were fun (so, I guess I'm not *totally* 'shroom ignorant - just mostly, lol). I'm quickly finding out that I'm not as completely uninformed as I thought, since much of what I'm finding with all the info so generously shared here, was primarily just a need for some dots to be connected, (& panic to be calmed, lol) rather than a total lack of info. Y'all are awesome!
 
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