nancy sutton wrote:Thanks for the report, Christine! Very, very interesting... and yes, please, the recipe ;)
hi christine. just curious to what you guys use for sawdust/chips? i know theres little hardwood in alaska. do you guys use the white birch, alder and aspen sawdust ? or is it mixed with softwood sawdust/ chips ? i was under the impression that k.s. doesn't colinize softwood. I'm lucky there is a firewood business just up the road. i just pull up my truck and they load me w/ their tractor for free. its maple, yellow birch , white birch ,red maple and beech sawdust mixed. has a lot of bigger splinters and stuff which the shrooms love! by the way, I've tried beds without amendments and others w/ worm castings and / or urine added. the amended ones produced faster w/ 1/3 more shrooms produced! so have your people save their pee! good growing!
Christine Wilcox wrote:Steve and Corey,
You both have raised some very interesting points. To begin with Steve’s observations, I probably tried to present the problem in a less technical manner to encourage less experienced growers. My household has become a source of mycelium or mushroom for the local permaculture guild, otherwise known as mushroom geeks. To give a more complete answer, in Southcentral Alaska, we have recently been experiencing warmer winters than much of Maine but we are still about 1300 miles to the north. Measures like growing zone focuses on sentinel cold events not on the cumulative climatic effect on soil temperature. Mushroom biology makes them less susceptible to deep freezing events unless they are neotropical fungi that die well before freezing. The northern latitude governs the soil temperature, and this is an important determinate of mycelium growth, since most mycelium have an optimal temp range. The northern regions have a very rich native fungal ecology with a lot of cold adapted competitors. During spawn runs even a few degrees makes a huge difference in grow out of Stropharia rugosa-annulata (SRA) spawn, which is happiest in the 70s. We are also working on strain improvement for our region to select for better outside growth.
I should have made clear that the greenhouse or high tunnel idea for growing SRA is very specific to cold northern regions in order to generate yields faster. What I do know for certain is that a lot of failed attempts have been made to grow SRA in outside beds in Alaska with some recent success in the warmest microclimates. As one moves south, the high tunnel effect on substrate temps may be counter-productive, since some SRA strains are reported to die at a substrate temp of 90F. The greenhouse niche can be used to push limits for fungal growth just as it is for plants. In Maine it might allow efficient growth of blewits, Hypsizgus sps., or reishi. Further south, paddy straw mushrooms could be grown, etc.
Regarding temperature of survival, I have little doubt that the SRA will survive the winter. Stamets in his first book on cultivation suggested -5 F as a limit but your own experience and that others suggest much greater tolerance provided the mycelium doesn’t desiccate. Your oysters should also do well. We give out finished oyster straw bags that we have stored outside for fellow permies to use as garden inoculation after a winter of freeze thaw. It does great. Oysters are popping out of the most unlikely places!
Corey, as you note, nitrogen is a plus and minus for mushrooms. Some strains find free ammonia toxic. The added urine to a giant wood chip pile leads to composting/mineralizaton and a very complex substrate. The SRA goes crazy when it hits this stuff, which is different than the usual advice to use clean substrate.
Thanks for your comments and good growing to both of you.
Christine Wilcox wrote:Wine cap mushrooms (Stropharia rugosa-annulata) have a long association with agriculture in Europe
Christine Wilcox wrote:
...Your oysters should also do well. We give out finished oyster straw bags that we have stored outside for fellow permies to use as garden inoculation after a winter of freeze thaw. It does great. Oysters are popping out of the most unlikely places!
hi christine! i spred mycelium from one of my strropharia beds into sawdust around my fruit trees, bushes and raspberry patches. by mid summer i had them pop up all over the yard! had one in my raspberry patch 12in. and it wasn't completely opened! i stuffed and baked that one!
Christine Wilcox wrote:Hi Corey,
We grow Pleurotus ostreatus, primary the gray variety. It does well in the temperature ranges we have during the summer/fall and does well in indoor cultivation as well.