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mushroom mistake?

 
gardener
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I have been wanting to try to grow mushroom for a while now.  I have researched on permies and the net, and decided to grow mushrooms this year.  I bought wine cap mushroom sawdust.  I planted it the way it was suggested, I have been watering it.  I know I must be patient because it can take a long time, and I was ok with that.  Yes you guessed it there is a but.  But as I read the posts on permies I realize I have made a mistake that may mean no mushrooms.  I don't know if I didn't read it, or it just didn't click in my head, but I was watering the place where I put the spore, and it hit me.  (please forgive me if this isn't totally correct.)  My understanding is the spore will spread its mycelium, and when the "food" wood chips are totally consumed by the mycelium they form mushrooms so they can spread there spore to a new place to get more food.  I know this is not technical, but from my understanding it is basically the process.  I put one block of spore? into a large area of wood chips.  It will probably take years for the mycelium to consume all the wood chips.  I'm so irritated at myself.  Money is tight and I probably shouldn't have spent the money on mushrooms in the first place. now I have to decide if I will just leave it be or buy more and start a smaller contained space.  I want to start another area, but I already spent 30.00, so it's hard to justify another 30 to get mushrooms in 6 months to a year from now.  My only other option is to wait until the mycelium has a large colony and transplant some so to speak.  I don't even know if that would work.  I don't know what I will do.  Right now I'm in the kicking myself stage.
 
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I think that what you did is perfect.

Throw a wildflower mix into the corner of a meadow, and over the years, it may expand to envelope the whole meadow. The mushrooms are the same. The mushrooms will grow every which way to find the available nutrients and eat them up. They will fruit whenever conditions are right for fruiting. Doesn't matter if they have consumed all the existing wood. Doesn't matter if you add more wood. They will fruit when conditions are right. Just like you can dig up a wildflower and transplant it, you could transplant portions of the mushroom mycelia, or you could take propagules from the mushroom fruits and plant them in other areas. If the mushrooms don't die, they will continue to expand the area that they have colonized, and be fruiting whenever humidity, temperature, and other factors are right for them.

Rats. Reminds me that I was supposed to go mushroom hunting today....



 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thank you so much, I feel better now.  I  misunderstood the way the mushrooms fruit, thank you for clearing that up for me.  Maybe I will get mushrooms in the future after all.
 
pollinator
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
...you could transplant portions of the mushroom mycelia, or you could take propagules from the mushroom fruits and plant them in other areas.



Transplant the mycelia? Do you mean just dig up some soil or take a piece of rotting log that has the mushrooms and bring it home?

Take, propagules? Is that just the fruiting body that contains spores?

I'm not much familiar with mushrooms or how they grow. The only ones I know to eat around here are puff balls and morels. I have plenty of puff balls on my place already but my attempts to start morels by throwing out semi dried fruits have failed repeatedly.
 
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Hi Jen,

I think you did everything correctly.  BTW, you said that you planted spores from sawdust.  I think you mean that you planted mycelium in the sawdust.  Does that sound about right?  Just a minor technicality but I wanted to make sure we are comparing apples to apples.

My brain is a little unfocused right now, but are the chips where you sowed the mushroom spawn starting to decompose?  If so then you are on the right track.  Also, this time of year is about the time when I would expect fruiting to stop.  Mine typically stop by late May.  Perhaps you might get some by fall.  Also, if your chips really start to decompose and the fungi spreads (regardless of whether it fruits or not), then I would think that you could get some scoops and transplant to spread.

My last thought is to get a plant growing where you have mushroom spawn.  The plants will give roots to interact with the fungi, and shade to prevent evaporation of moisture.

Good Luck and I think you are on the right track.  Joseph was correct, mushrooms flush when they are good and ready.

Eric
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks Eric.  I had it in my head that the mushroom wouldn't fruit until the mycelium had spread through all of the wood chips, so I thought the small amount of mycelium sawdust (I hope this is the right term, I did not get spores, I'm still putting together what is what.  Mycelium is the white root looking stuff in the ground, fruiting refers to the actual mushroom popping out of the ground/wood chips, and spores the seed like things in the gills of the mushroom.  Have I got it right?)  In a huge pile of wood chips would take years to fruit.  I just misunderstood.  It's one of those times I'm happy to be wronge.
I put the mycelium sawdust so it surrounds a comfrey root on all but one side then it conects down the east side of a row of tomato plants and goes between each tomato.  I don't know how clear that is, so I have included a simple drawing.  Thank you everyone for all the help I feel so much better.  I will keep watering, and hope next fall or the spring after to see Wine Cap Mushrooms.  Thanks again, Jen.
IMG_20200618_153419490-(2).jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200618_153419490-(2).jpg]
 
Eric Hanson
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Jen,

You got the spore-mycelium-mushroom part all just right.

Actually I like your idea of specifically inoculating tomatoes and especially the comfrey.  Those woodchips by the comfrey will likely fruit for some time and feed the comfrey in the process.  Keep adding chips to the comfrey as they break down and you should get mushrooms popping up for years.

Basically you are correct that the fungi need to consume a supply of wood before fruiting, and I basically think you are on the right track.  A simple adaptation that you could do now would be to wet down the chips one last time, cover with paper, newspaper, cardboard—some type of organic Matt basically—and add still more chips (an inch or so) to the top.  The purpose of the last inch is simply to hold the paper (or whatever) in place.  The purpose of the paper is to hold the moisture in a bit better than chips alone will.

Hugo Morvan has had some great luck using this technique.  As the paper caps in the moisture, the mycelium spreads like mad.  In just weeks, the mycelium spread throughout the chips and into the paper itself.  

I don’t know if this will make the fungi fruit faster but it makes sense that it would.

On the other hand, wine caps will fruit when they are good and ready.  It’s tempting to think that we can control them, but they seem to have a mind of their own.  If memory serves, you sowed the spawn this spring, correct?  If so, then that’s probably a short period of time to get actual fruit.  Don’t worry, they will come in time.

You are off to a great start.  Please keep us updated.

Eric
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Mark Reed wrote:Transplant the mycelia? Do you mean just dig up some soil or take a piece of rotting log that has the mushrooms and bring it home?



Yup. I treat mushrooms just like a perennial plant. Divide them. Move them. Replant them. During any stage of life. Whatever. They live and grow in suitable habitats.

Mark Reed wrote:Take, propagules? Is that just the fruiting body that contains spores?



I used the word propagules when referring to mushrooms because any stage of the life cycle of a mushroom may be used to start new patches: mycelia, spores, fruits, whatever. Just move them to a new suitable place. For example, with morels, a suitable propagation technique seems to be to blend the fruits up in a blender, and dump them on wood chips from the cottonwood or aspen families.
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