I have been clearing a couple stands of red pine and besides saving some logs for hugel mounds I have been running some through the woodchipper. I have been using some of these chips for sheet mulching to make soil for my garden expansion next year. Is there any sort of fungi I could inoculate the chips with to help break them down quicker, hopefully before next spring? Would be a big plus if it was edible but not necessary.
There are many fungi that you can inoculate it with. The other thing to consider is: what would you like? Do you want something to eat, too, or just purely functional? There are types of mushroom that taste like lobster and shrimp (Lion's Main). some that taste like chicken (Chicken of the Woods, maybe), etc. What do you want? There are many possibilities. You could eat and dine on reishi or portebello mushrooms. Your imagination really is the only limit.
Phoenix Oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius) and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) can be grown on pine logs or chips, at least according to Paul Stamets. Field and Forest recommends growing Blewits (Clitocybe nuda) on "pine needle/ pine chip duff mixed with organic matter, making it a good candidate for seeding into piles of chips, sticks, and leaves". Good luck!
"In a fruit forest everyone is happy"- Sepp Holzer
Whatever is growing well in your area (i.e., pops up in great numbers after a summer downpour).
With all due respect to the what the mycophage aficionados have posted, growing edible mushrooms is work. If you get edible mushrooms popping up out of your sheet mulchwood chip pile, you will be very lucky indeed. All I get are Amanitas and the dog vomit slime mold. But at least that lets me know that fungi are working, that stuff is breaking down and feeding plants that I can eat.
FWIW, when the conditions are right (i.e., it's warm and damp enough) I get fungi growing in wood chips and other piles quickly without doing anything.
If you want to speed things up, you might just go look in old piles of woodchips, under rotting trees, etc. and grab a shovel full of whatever fungi you see growing and throw it in. But I bet there are spores aplenty around just waiting for the right place to grow.
Ian, I think the best one in your climate in wood chips would be King Stropharia/Wine Cap/Garden Giant/Stropharia Rugosoannulata. It likes to grow naturally on wood chips. Buy some spawn and mix it into layers of fresh wood chips. I would probably do it in the Spring in your climate. All climates are different. John E gets big summer downpours. We don't . We get long drizzle in the fall through Spring. That's when most of ours come out.
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