What are your favorite "low-tech" and / or "no-tech" ways of integrating fungi and mushrooms into your permaculture design (eg. spore slurries)?
How do you see fungi and mushrooms integrating wholistically in all our design processes: from apiculture, to art (eg. mycopigments), to biocontrols (eg. entomopathogens), to endophytic mycobiomes, to food and medicine, to industrial applications, to mycoremediation, to mycorrhizal symbiosis, to textiles, and beyond...?
The challenge I set forth for this thread is to attempt to describe and / or show as many ways possible that fungi and mushrooms can integrate into our permaculture designs... :-)
I see fungi as absolutely critical to permaculture and really by now I cannot imagine permaculture without a healthy population of fungi.
Personally I focus on growing Wine Caps as a way to break down wood chips into garden compost. The fungi are really just the beginning. Done properly, sowing fungi spawn will also help increase valuable bacteria colonies and both the Wine Caps and bacteria will form associations with plant crops. These associations are so important that they have radically upended my understanding of the way soil fertility works. I used to think of healthy soil as being a bunch of chemicals with a few microbes thrown in. I now see healthy soil as being a few chemicals with a lot of biology. Fungi are one of the keystones behind that soil biology—if you have the soil biology, you basically have the soil fertility.
Mushrooms are a great project to go along with the early stages of developing a wooded piece of land. Our farm is mostly wooded land in the Ozarks and we had to cut in a road and do small scale clearing on the flat spots for building sites and planting.
We plan any clearing for the cold months when the tree has drawn its sugars from the leaves and stored them in the wood. Saw logs are turned into lumber, bigger limbs turned into mushroom logs, and small limbs are mulched and mixed with Wine Cap spawn and put around trees or in between garden rows.
After a few years and 2000 logs we started hosting mushroom workshops. These brought in 20-40 people and was a great way to connect with the community and get our farm on the map as well as pay for all the tools and spawn we needed to continue expanding our mushroom operation.
The standard method of drilling holes (use angle grinder it is 4x faster than hand frill) and filling with sawdust spawn works great but is time consuming. Some species (lions main, reshi, oyster) do great with totem style where you cut a thick log into discs and stack them with spawn in the middle saving a ton of time.
I’m not into cultivating mushrooms. I used to be, but I think it’s way too labor intensive.
Instead, I’ve invested a lot of time into understanding them as an organism and how they naturally occur in ecosystems.
Basically, what it comes down to, is that if you create an environment conducive to growing mushrooms... they will grow.
You do not need to inoculate your soil, unless you’re really keen on growing a very specific species of mushroom, have been able to isolate it from anything else that may grow, and then be able to confidently identify said species within the range of possible morphological variety due to stage of maturity and climatic conditions.
Otherwise, all that you really need to do is to observe them within a permaculture system.
Permaculture gardens and food forests are great for growing mushrooms, as they tend to focus on perennial plants and sinking a lot of wood into and onto your soil.
Most edible mushroom species prefer saprophytic conditions (complex carbohydrates in woody biomass). Some mushrooms prefer to grow on shit (coprophilic). Wine caps are one of those strange species that are defined as preferring wood, but I’ve only ever seen stropharia species growing on dung in nature. Other common edible species that occur on dung are agaricus.
But yes, so as long as you have a lot of woody matter, maybe some piles of cow or horse dung in your permaculture system, you will have mushrooms.
From my observations there are primary and secondary decomposers. Typically the coprinoids are primary decomposers, followed by others. Depending on your climatic and rain cycles, you will likely find smaller species towards the beginning of the rainy season and they will increase in size and diversity as the soil absorbs water throughout the rainy season.
The best time to hunt for mushrooms are about a day or two after rains, when you still have high humidity.
So my suggestion for growing mushrooms would be to understand the growth parameters and climatic conditions of a specific species of mushroom that you want to grow, creating the environment for that mushroom to grow, and then observing over time.
If you get into mushroom hunting and identification, it’s quite easy to harvest spawn from the wild and transplant it into your permaculture system. Also you don’t have to spend any money and have the opportunity to learn a new skill!
Try harder, fail better... stay golden.
Eventually everything connects, keep doing the things
What's that smell? I think this tiny ad may have stepped in something.