I agree with the other posters. paul stamets is the king of mushroom cultivation. Denver is a very different climate than mine or MK's . Oysters in general are considered one of the easiest to cultivate and King Stropharia the easiest to grow in the garden. I am sure that you would have a local mycological society. Telluride, CO has one of the premier mushroom festivals in the US! Check with locals and find out what is easy to grow or gather there.
I have observed several species of mushroom mycelium triumph over competitors in in-vitro conditions. That's pretty neat to watch.
Spore slurry or spore mass innoculations are fairly low effort, so do it often and in different ways and if you are unsuccessful, try try again.
Yesterday I found a poplar branch with a few spring oysters fruiting from it, so I broke off a big piece with mycelium clearly running through it and took it home to bury in a modified hugulculture - poplar logs and branches with mixed hardwood chips and straw, topped with woody compost. I have cautious hope, but if I don't see any results I'll just do it again or spawn with a bag of colonized sawdust spawn.
Growing fungi is different than growing plants. It's a benefit to have horticultural experience, but don't let gardening conceptions interfere with your mycological explorations. Everything is different!
Not that I'm particularly good at either one, but I am trying and learning (screwing up a lot!)
I'm new. Could you tell?
Here is some more info about the Landscape Morel species that I think has a really great chance to become the easiest morel species to grow on wood chip beds by amateur cultivators:
dan long wrote:So you guys are telling me that i can just sprinkle some spores or place a mushroom butt on a chunk of: soil/manure/wood chips/log/cardboard and have a chance that it will produce mushrooms? Why are people on youtube sterilizing or sanitizing everything then? It sounds like the effortutput ratio favors the "shotgun approach" or just flinging some spores all over the place unless you guys are getting like a 2% success rate.
I'm new. Could you tell?
To make a gardening simile out of this: buying sterile spawn is like buying vegetable starts- all of the most delicate work has been done for you, so you are almost guaranteed a success.
This is particularly important with less aggressive or finicky fungi, or exotic or specialized plants.
On the other hand, some vegetables, like radishes, grow great from seed hand broadcast into the right conditions. The key is the right conditions. Most people here have a general understanding of where would be a good place to chuck a handful of radishes seeds and achieve success, but fewer people understand the conditions needed by fungi, generally, and specific fungi even less. So while broadcasting spores, or spore slurry, might work great, it's very much dependent on matching a chosen fungi with its desired habitat, or at least environmental conditions.
Shaggy manes and oyster species are both ubiquitous and agressive colonizers of many substrates, so like the radish, you would be way more likely to achieve success than if you went around trying to hand broadcast celery, or the grocery store button mushrooms.
(Your milage may vary)
If something goes wrong you can more easily deduce the location of the problem, learn, correct it, and improve.
rather than things being hit or miss, and one being forced to make assumptions and guesses about failures and successes.
The big point is educate yourself as much as you can about growing mushrooms, definitely read stamets growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms or the mushroom cultivator . Both have very detailed information about growing conditions preferred by all the cultivated fungi you could find.
John Saltveit wrote:Reading "Mycelium Running", also by Paul Stamets is one that I will also recommend very highly, even moreso than THe Mushroom Cultivator.
Totally, If I only had 25 $ left to spend I would chose 'Mycelium Running" 10 times out of ten. I also own "the Mushroom Cultivator"
both great books
Dan Tutor wrote:Good to know! I haven't read that one, just heard great things. Does it go into specific growth parameters for different species?
Not that it needs to, Paul covers that thoroughly in the other two, just curious.
been a while since I read it, but if it does it's not as many species as Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. That's my bible. But I'm a mush farmer full time
"Yes, some of the practices in the mushroom cultivator are outdated. Mycelium Running isn't just a how to cultivation book. It has a lot of that, but it also has a lot on how mycology can benefit our society in many different ways. It's the newest book, so it has the newest research and techniques."
What's outdated? You also have to keep in mind that some of the ways that 'mushrooms can save the world', Mr. Stamets holds a patent on. He has a crack team of lawyers on payroll, I know someone who has been served a cease and desist order by them. Some of the science, specificially the mycofiltration and oil spill clean up is shaky. Neither were peer reviewed. Mycelium WILL degrade oil and bacteria, but not nearly to the extent which he claims. His numbers for % degredation are quite a bit higher than anything I've seen in a peer reviewed journal. If it was actually going to save the world, the bio-remediation industry would be on board. Something that may have a larger impact is the start-up building insulation panels and packaging materials out of sawdust colonized with reishi mycelium. That is something we need more of.
John Saltveit wrote:Even his company admits that a lot of the info is outdated. Some of the protocols on sterilization are outdated, and some of his best recommendations on how to cultivate forms of mushrooms are outdated. He doesn't mention putting the gills of the mushrooms in sunlight for example, because it had not yet been invented. His section on blewits is not very carefully described.
Oh, ok. I was thinking his more recent book I gourmet and medicinal mushrooms was reprinted less than 10 years ago. The mushrooms cultivator is from the 80's I believe. I have heard people doubt that Paul ever fruited Blewits indoors.
I've learned a lot from magic mushroom forums, which usually have vibrant communities of growers of gourmet mushrooms as well.
The video series on edibles by roger rabbit - let's grow mushrooms!, is pretty good.
I think we are due for someone to write a good book on home cultivation techniques and small farm set ups, demystifying spawn making and sterile technique for the amateur, market,or casual grower.
I have a lot of ideas, maybe I'll get something together over the winter ( my quiet season) and start sharing it here.
I've just been dabbling for five years, so I'm no expert!
I'm just fascinated by fungi.
I think part of the problem is that mushroom cultivators have historically been a very secretive lot, partially due to being tied with illegal psychoactive mushrooms, and partly to guard their hard-earned source of income. It has become abundantly clear to myself and millions of others, including the vast majority of nutrition doctors, that mushrooms can heal people in ways that make it so that almost everyone should have access to mushrooms.
I purchased the spawn plugs from fungi.com and figured I would attempt to keep it alive as long as possible as I collect a lot of wood I find while I'm out and about. (Mostly Oak, Pine, Sycamore and Maple)
They had a buy three special so I did.. I ordered Chicken of the Woods, Pearl Oyster and Shitaki..
I saved one plug of each and put them in jars of Pasteurized (2) Coffee grounds, Oak Wood (from drilling the dowel plug holes) sawdust, and Pine Sawdust (from the wood shop, mostly reclaimed pallet wood run on the jointer).
All of my Shitaki jars are dead (mold contamination)
My Chicken of the Wood Jars are stagnant as I used Pine Shavings. fungicide used on pallet wood most likely? (Didn't have the proper logs.. should have stuck to easier mushrooms for my first attempt but I got carried away the order button was shiny).
My pearl oyster Mushrooms have taken off.. All of the logs I plugged were successfully inoculated. However, most of my jars didn't take.
I only have 3 jars, out of 13 I would consider a success and 1 where you can see it took hold but it looks funky.. I don't like funky.
(1) Reasonable success for me means it didn't cost me anything and I got at least a few positive results
(2) My Pasteurization consists of simmering jars of the medium in a pressure cooker for 3 hours.. No clue what the temperature is.. *Shrugs*
First is a jar of Shitaki spawn contaminated with mold. I wasn't happy with any of the jars I did with Oak Wood saw dust from drilling out the holes for the plug spawn..
None of them look appealing.
Second Picture is Pearl Oyster on Oak Wood saw dust.. The mycelium looks grey and hasn't filled out the jar as well as the coffee grounds.
As far as stuff pretty much anyone can do at home with a few materials, a little space, and some research and experimentation, these are things I've done with a simple thrift store pressure cooker, plastic totes, mason jars, myco bags, baby bottles, Petri dishes, basic sterile technique, and a closet I can clean up.
Extend purchased spawn- by grain to grain, sawdust to sawdust, plug to grain, plug to sawdust, plug to agar, grain to agar, etc.
Start spores- on grain, agar, cardboard,
Make spawn- liquid, grain, sawdust, from spore, mycelium, or liquid culture
Clone fruiting bodies- from store bought hypzigus Tesselatus
Fruit off straw, grain, cased grain, wood chips and sawdust
Store and preserve cultures for later use and indefinite, infinite expansion- p. Eryngi, p. Ostreatus, p. Columbinus, h. Tesselatus, s. Rugosannulata, p. Cubensis (sub strains), p. Azurescens, p. Cyanescens, l. Edodes ( 2 sub strains )
Start shitake logs, stropharia beds, oyster stumps, sulphur shelf stumps, inoculate hugul beds!
I've sourced spawn from fungiperfecti and field and forest, as well as ebay. One ebay culture was contaminated but otherwise I've had great success.
I think home cultivation really needs demystifying!
The problem is that the only book which explains the non sterile method is Stammets Mycellium Running.
It is not the amount of biology he explains in the book, but he is not very straightforward in how to do things.
With the cardboard method for example he does not explain what comes after the cardboard.
Then he thinks everyone does know the wild mushrooms I don't, in Australia there isn't even a book on them let alone a course!
As he sells cultures he does not emphasize very much on methods with shop bought mushrooms, not anyone wants to
spend $50 on some dowels and the variety here is very limited. Yes, a really good book for the home gardener is missing.
These days, my mushrooms are grown only outdoors in non-sterile conditions. I tried the sterile conditions route, but it's just too fussy for me: to get the water right, and the times, and the pH, and the temperatures, and especially the humidity out here in the desert. I am too busy farming to be paying attention to whether or not the spawn has run through a jar of grain. The sterile route requires all types of equipment and materials that I really don't want to pay for. I don't feel like giving a crop that much attention. Sure. my non-sterile outdoor grows might be weedy, and the yield might not be what a commercial lab could produce, but they grow themselves without much care from me.
I need a method of growing where I plant the logs and forget about them until it is time to harvest. That's my basic philosophy towards growing vegetables. That's why food forests appeal so much to me. Non-sterile mushroom growing outdoors works really well for my lifestyle and philosophy towards the world around me. I chop up oyster mushroom butts and use them to inoculate fresh logs, or I make up a spore emulsion and pour it into holes drilled in logs. Easy and straight forward is my motto for growing mushrooms. Today I'm planting hybrid mushrooms by mixing up the spores from 3 different strains, and planting them into the same log. (Gray oyster, golden oyster, and a wild strain.) The most vigorous will survive and thrive, so I'll end up selecting for mushrooms that do well in my climate.
Here's what some of my oyster mushroom logs looked like about a week ago. For fruiting I had to soak them in water and move them into a closed up damp greenhouse. There wasn't enough humidity/moisture this year for them to fruit outdoors.
Stuff the holes with chopped up mushrooms: butts and/or dirty pieces of fruits.
Drip a bit of wax from a candle into the hole.
Or fill the holes with spores suspended in water containing a hint of peroxide.
To collect spores I lay a freshly harvested mushroom in a glass dish for a day or two.
Stack the logs in a shady spot to incubate.
I'm not growing in sterile conditions. Dirty fruits work fine... The logs I'm planting them into are dirty... My hands are dirty... My tools are dirty... The air around the workbench is dirty... They are incubated in a dusty dirty garden full of dirty animals and bugs... The irrigation water is dirty.... For millions of years, mushrooms have been doing a great job growing better-quicker-faster than micro-organisms. All I have to do is get out of their way and let them do what they were born to do: Thrive in spite of the dirt.
John Saltveit wrote:I live in a very wet place with tons of trees, spores, and life. I think the dirty cultivation may be less successful here than where Joseph is. I appreciate the viewpoint, though. It may be very useful to someone in a similar climate.
It's just a different way of looking at the world... I can do dirty cultivation at home, on a small scale... I don't need money to buy supplies from the global corporation: No agar, or gloves, or pressure cooker, or syringe, or canning jars, or disinfectants, or growth enhancers, or inoculants. I don't have to keep records, or monitor progress. I can let the temperature and humidity be whatever they happen to be. I don't like the centralized model of growing mushrooms, so I choose a decentralized model. I could be more successful and more predictable about growing mushrooms if I adopted sterile conditions, and put in the time and study to do sterile properly. But I'd rather plant them and forget about them until harvest time.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote: But I'd rather plant them and forget about them until harvest time.
You're in a dry area, so the fact that you can grow mushrooms is very encouraging to me. I'd like to grow edible mushrooms in a natural way without fussing about sterility, etc. Which kinds have been successful for you? Do you grow them in an irrigated place or do you rely on natural moisture?
Turkey tails, puffballs, and button mushrooms grow wild here. I don't harvest the button mushrooms, because there is a nasty tasting look-alike that also does well here.
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
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