This is an idea followed by a few questions. ---------- It seems that with most hugel beds, the underlying wood is completely covered in compost and soil. I've been investigating the cultivation of mushrooms on logs and they stress the importance of maintaining a moist log. The depths of a hugel bed are easy to keep moist and this moisture would naturally wick toward the exposed ends of the bed. Thus the risk of the log completely drying out is eliminated and temperature would be moderated as well.
The plan would be to cut logs at 10 ft. long but to only cover the centre 6 or 7 feet with soil, leaving between 18 to 24 inches of bare wood protruding at the ends of the bed. These log ends would be inoculated with the desired mushroom spores.
Mushroom “roots” travel quickly through damp wood, so it should be possible to inoculate only the log ends but have the whole bed nourish the fruiting bodies. I would therefore expect the small amount of exposed wood to be more productive than a similar quantity of wood that is not attached to buried logs. Plants would shade the log ends before the heat of summer arrives.
I have unlimited access to clean water and some of my sites are naturally boggy (about half an acre has drainage “problems”). Water is already wicking well on piles created last year.
I could also see sticking posts either vertically or on some angle into the north slope of beds. These posts and the original log ends would eventually rot off and collapse which would create a more traditionally shaped mound. I have a constant supply of 3-6 inch hardwoods which could be cut to 4ft. lengths and driven into spent hugel beds which would perpetuate mushroom production and rejuvenate the hugel bed for vegetable production. Production manuals encourage “shocking the logs”. A log that is pounded 2 ft. in with a sledge hammer, should be sufficiently shocked.
NOW THE QUESTIONS
1. Have any of you done this or some version of it?
2. I'm in a cool Pacific climate. What varieties of mushroom work in this climate with minimal care ?
3. Would you expect mushroom production to hurt or help the bed in regard to suitability for vegetable production ?
4. Am I correct in assuming that fruiting bodies could be nourished by portions of the wood which are up to 40 inches into the bed and covered in soil ?
5. For those who have tried mushrooms on logs or stumps - Did you find that your time spent was well paid in a strictly monetary sense? Did you get at least $20 per hour worth of finished product for your trouble.
I probably eat less than 10 pounds of mushrooms per year currently. Although this would rise if they were always there, I'm looking at this primarily as a cash crop.
Thank you in advance, Dale.
Porcini--although cultivating Porcini is next to impossible. You must find them...and then guard the knowledge of the location as if it were buried treasure. Chefs will pay big bucks for Porcini.
My son pushed over a bunch of aspens and wild cherry when he put the soil dug from our and neighbors ponds into the woods..covering the pushed over trees with clay and sandy soil and muck. Now we get flushes of mushrooms, mostly inky cap and oystsers and also a poisonous variety ..they pop up along the length of the buried logs
If you live in the coastal range, or west of it, you can grow just about any temperate "primary saprophytic fungi" on a majority of hardwoods For "instant" results, both in fungal fruitbody formation and a "matured" hugel-bed, I would recommend using our native Red Alder
Shiitake will probably be your best investment: very marketable, medicinal and goes for a good dollar amount . Be sure to aquire a known culture... I would suggest taking the time to drill and plug the length of the logs, as well, in addition to the ends.
I think your idea is fabulous! Already thinking of various deployable versions of my own!... Using hugelkultur beds, you should have great success from the west foothills of the Cascades and on west right to the oceanline
2. no regional info, but reishi can be harvested over a long time frame and i speculate less fussy to dry
3. big guess - veggie growth by +/-%10
4. yes, like stumps, but i think yield per wood mass is moderately compromised, although probably a tolerable amount in this case due to saved labor per wood mass and improved fruiting conditions
5. know a few people who have not banked on their mushrooms that much, connections and harvest habits being crucial in certain fresh species markets and the dried market requiring a threshold scale or top dollar efficient sales route. or value added product. the money is possible if the wood is in your way. i still theorize stumps would be the best if not spread out.
Abe Connally wrote:I wouldn't expose the logs, I would have them basically covered, but just leave a thin covering on one end. This will help keep them from drying out.
All of the videos and manuals stress cleanliness. Many store the logs on palates or other raised area to prevent soil contact which could cause the wrong type of fungi to take hold. A few stand their logs in mucky soil to avoid having to water. They are sometimes invaded bu inedible mushrooms.
I think if you started out with a hot compost within the bed, which is inoculated upon cooling, most of the production could be of desired species. So, having any of the wood covered presents some risk and is already a departure from best practices.
Many species require contact with the soil, and several benefit from it. It is common practice to bury logs in soil for outdoor growing. Exposing the log just risks drying out.
The key is to choose a compatible species that competes well.
If you incorporate wood chips in your piles, you could inoculate those as well. That is a common thing with oyster mushrooms, which grow fast and compete well against other species.
Dale Hodgins wrote:Exposed Log End Hugelkultur - allows mushroom cultivation at end of each bed.
Some ideas around a form of this have been knocked around in some of the fungi sub-forum threads:
I didn't get a chance to try the "mycokultur" swales this past season, but it is still high on my list once our house construction has calmed down a bit...
I would suggest starting with oyster or turkey-tail for strains that are aggressive enough to deal with competition from other fungi that will likely occur in the bed. They are very adaptable to different types of wood and growing conditions.