Jeesh, there are many techniques, John. Culturing mulches right among your vegetables can work in sunnier areas with a few shrooms--like king stropharia or shaggy mane (actually shaggy mane doesn't even really need mulch, it grows in soil, too),a nd you can do that in the shade with a wider range of species. Logs are the most common and easiest to control which fungi get to use the substrate: oysters, shiitake are good there. Inoculating stumps is a bit tricky in my experience and I haven't had the greatest success, but I've heard that others can and do. Tall stumps with wedges cut out and then stuck back on with spawn in between is a good way I have heard of too, but haven't tried myself. Those are the methods I have used the most. You can also inoculate bales of straw or hay, really almost any organic substrate. Pau Stamets' books are really teh place to go for the best ideas and info--I am not super familiar with this topic, to be honest. But there are a few useful ideas there. And you can get very creative with it--you can make sculptures of organic material and grow mushrooms on them, if you wanted!
Interesting observation: Creviston Valley Farm has been recycling bags of sawdust used to produce oyster mushrooms. Spreading the sawdust mycilium on the soil robs it of available nitrogen. Until the worms break it down it is not a good soil amendment.
The concept of "soils with lots of fungus=forest" and "soils with lots of bacteria=field" was a real eye-opener for me. I have planted a (tiny) food forest in my front yard on top of a weed-filled sand pit. I have sheet-mulched about 1000 square feet so far and planted about a dozen species of plants in it so far. After reading about the fungal forest soils in Edible Forest Gardens, now I bring home every fungus-covered rotten log I come across. I'm using cut branches and logs to edge my beds and paths, too. This has many benefits:
The logs provide habitat for predators like lizards, scorpions, spiders, and ground beetles.
As the wood breaks down, it adds humus to the soil.
The wood in contact with the soil hopefully means that I am introducing a wide variety of fungi.
I'm saving the city tax dollars by claiming wood they would otherwise have to pick up and dispose of.
Hopefully by this fall the wood borders will be directly producing food by adding shiitake plugs. We'll see!
Check out my progress! www.greenbasket.me
we have naturally grown shaggy mane, oyster and morel that grow in our woods and we have also innoculated logs with shiitake and lions mane mushrooms..We are also planning on chipping some alder and aspen to try some substrate innoculation soon
Bloom where you are planted.
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