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Growing mushrooms in soil rather than logs or chips

 
Dave Green
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Hi

Is it viable to plan on growing mushrooms in the soil direct rather than logs? Im doing a plan for a site and logs/chips are not readily available. There are trees there but I do not want to cut them down.

Obviously, this is how nature grows mushrooms normally but is it something that man can replicate with the typical cultivars that we permaculturists use such as Oyster and Shitaake?

I couldnt find anything specifically about this on here but maybe I didnt go back far enough in my searches or use the right terms. One website I saw recomended slicing off the turf, putting spawn down and then covering with the turf again.

I wondered if this was something that was practical as an idea in my cold temperate climate. I imagine that the yields would be smaller and less predictable; does anyone have any information on this technique of growing mushrooms?

Any help would be great and apologies if this is a regularly asked question that I missed.

Thanks
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Different species of mushrooms grow best in different substances. Edible mushrooms that grow in soil include common button mushroom, morels, and puffballs. Around here, we have a wild poisonous mushroom that looks very similar to a button mushroom, so I don't grow common mushrooms outdoors.

 
Dave Green
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thanks Joseph
 
patrick canidae
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Card board, twigs, and shipping pallets can all be found in urban areas. Visit a few shops and you'll be amazed what you can get for free. Your yields won't be as high as in fresh material, but it can still produce product. I have covered sheets of card board with thin layers of broken up twigs and even taken slats from shipping pallets and shattered them with a big hammer or chunked off slivers with an axe, put on the spawn, dampened lightly, rolled up like a jelly roll and fastened with wire, placed in a semi shady place, and grown oyster and wine caps this way. If you can't take a whole pallet home, you can take a bucket or backpack with you and shatter off pieces to carry that home.

A few calls to estate gardeners might yield a few 5 gallon buckets worth of branches. Where there is a will, there is a way!
 
Dave Green
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thanks!

i've found that a lot of the shipping pallets around me have been treated with nasty stuff but you can find safe ones, so that's a great idea. Cardboard also, but I was thinking of something more permanent - will the mushrooms innoculate the ground around it once the cardboard rots down?

As for collecting branches from elsewhere, another great idea. Is there a time limit on using fresh branches? i.e. not taking branches that are too old and have other funghi already present


many thanks
 
patrick canidae
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Correct, fresh is good. Of course, if not possible, you can always bake them in the oven at the lowest setting possible (below flashpoint for wood!) to sterilize them, and then soak them in water for a couple of days prior to incorporation into a pile.

The wine cap is very competitive and can often outcompete other fungi. You can grow mycelium on pure cardboard and keep it going until you collect a big enough batch of materials to start your bed.

Get on youtube and search growing wine cap or king stropharia mushrooms. Lots of good, free information there! You can also see the growing mycelium on pure cardboard technique to propagate your own mushrooms once you get going. A good patch of wine caps can become a perpetual motion mushroom machine if you can keep getting medium to add to your beds or to make new beds.
 
John Saltveit
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I agree with Patrick. Wine cap is the easiest for temperate areas. You can get wood chips for free in places where trees normally grow.
John S
PDX OR
 
patrick canidae
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http://www.permies.com/t/21402/fungi/Oyster-mushrooms-grown-shredded-sterilized

Another thread here of someone growing oysters on just cardboard

Long term, plant some rapid growing deciduous bushes or trees that you can cut limbs from and make your own grow bags, beds, rolls, etc.
 
Rob Bouchard
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A friend of mine is one of the top commercial mushroom growers in North America, I've spent a fair bit of time working around his farms. They grow in peat Moss beds in extremely computer controlled environments. The peat is the substrate and they mix a potent compost that feeds them. So yes you can grow in other things than wood.

Cleanliness is king with mushroom farms. The compost never touches the ground, out of the compost building, into the truck, off the truck on conveyor belts into the grow rooms.
 
Dave Green
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Thanks John/Patrick/Rob, I appreciate your insight

I have more questions from those posts if you dont mind

-I looked up wine caps and they are definitely on the list now. They seem ideal. Does anyone know what foodies think about them? Do they get used by restaurants/gourmets much and have a good reputation for flavour? I'm just thinking of my ability to sell them and whether they are considered a step above the simple button/chestnut mushroom that you get in all the supermarkets here.

-re: trees for substrate. This is probably a stupid quesion but im thinking about alders, hazel and willow. According to wiki they are hardwoods so would they be suitable? I dont know how but I had it in my head from my bbq obsession phase that alder was a softwood. Can 1 or 2 year old growth be used or is that too much bark/phloem/cambium/sapwood to heartwood?


thanks guys!
 
patrick canidae
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Wine caps tend to lend them selves to cooking with a little lime or lemon juice and savories. Or wine. I've found them to lend them selves a little less to the butter and garlic or onion simple saute, although one of my good friends only cooks them that way. I also like them grilled. I coat them with a little tallow and sprinkle on anything from dill and ground pepper to nutmeg and clove. They have a richer, earthy flavor with a little oaky, tanic red wine taste to me as they get a little larger than ideal.

Wild man Steve Brill has a recipe on them I think.

I would think any non-coniferous trees would work. I do know that some species of mushrooms don't like the salicylic acid in willow bark. I doubt it would be a problem if in a mixture. Just keep track of proportions and record results.
 
Peter Ellis
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Go to fungi.com, the fungi perfecti website. paul stamets is The Guy on growing mushrooms, written more than one book about it. Visit and read there. Ask some questions, you will get excellent answers from them.
 
Dave Green
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Thank you Patrick and Peter


Will spend some time on that site later, thank you
 
Adam Pickatti
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If you can import straw(or anything lignin and cellulose rich; the book "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms" has a great list of wood alternatives ) then you can grow oysters, if you can find a source for clean sawdust you can grow just about anything, short of that you still have a couple options
The Almond Agaricus grows very well co-cropped with tomatoes or cucumbers in hoophouses(or anywhere your temperatures are 50-95f) it grows on compost and can yield a pound a square foot.
For colder areas you can grow blewits, they like nitrogen rich compost and only fruit after frosts. The easiest natural way(assuming they grow in your area) to propagate blewits is to throw a bunch of mushroom stem butts in a blender with a little water, macerate then freeze, take frozen block and place inside the top third of your compost pile, check the pile in 3-4 weeks and look for fuzzy purplish mycelium, usually works. Anywhere you spread the compost you'll be inoculating with blewits.


Fieldforest.net has both
Happy spawning
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Adam Pickatti
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Alder logs are great for oysters or turkey tails, chipped is great for stropharia. Never had willow big enough to grow out as logs but the stropharia love them as well and I've heard oysters do to. Make sure the willow is fully dry though because it will regrow from pieces that come out of big chippers. And I've never tried hazel but Corylus is listed as a suitable species in GGAMM-paul stamets

Bonus pic of my stropharia patch included(we covered over the alder chips w/fir bark{viable substrate for oysters too} for vanity.)
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Dave Green
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thanks Adam that's some great info there


With the willow needing to be dry, should i dry the logs or the chips? Im just thinking that I keep hearing you want to innoculate wood/logs before other fungi get in there?
 
Adam Pickatti
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If you are plugging willow logs you should do so a week or two after cut while still wet, avoid ground conduct while colonization is happening and you should be fine( never grown on willow logs before). I usually get chips that have willow mixed in from the dept of transportation. I spread them out for about a week before I innoculate to let the anti fungal properties dissipate, during this time most of the the willow dries out enough to not root. After the pile is innoculated I keep an eye out for fresh willow growth and put those pieces that didnt dry out in direct sun where they can be dried the rest of the way.
 
Dave Green
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nice one, thank you
 
steve bossie
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i have 4 wine cap beds i started 2 yrs.ago on hardwood sawdust i get from a firewood business down the road. i got over 30lbs of shrooms from those beds last summer. they like maple, beech. w. birch and y. birch sawdust.
 
edward boskma
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Mushrooms needs something to eat. In the forest they naturally eat wood that falls from tree's and leaves. You can technically use any kind of organic matter to grow in, but It is my experience that anything you want to grow, will always grow better if its covered with a layer of mulch, just like in nature. Soil is already digested organic matter etc, ready to support new plant life. I'm sure you can grow mycelium in there, but my guess is you want to support the life cycle and therefore insert something that is breaking down so mushrooms can grow. (I don't know how well mushrooms will grow with just soil compared to food from the forest floor? Breaking down organic matter is part of their functions, that is why they live). If you can't find anything but you have land, then I would advice you trying to grow different species of your own straw. I knew a guy who in a controlled environment could grow mushrooms in 7 days. If you are just starting out, you could grow the straw, harvest it, inoculate with mycelium spores and grow from there. You could also cut down all your straw and leave it on the land, take away 10%, inoculate it with mycelium, and then redistribute over the rest of your crop if you want to grow mushrooms outside, technically this is how I would do it myself.

As you can see I'm full of good idea's so I hope someone wants to do land sharing with me in Europe, I want to do the whole regreen the desert thing somewhere in an empthy paddoc or peace of land.

I also have a question about mycelium myself:
Does anyone know if all the mycelium of all the species is connected? Or do all different mushrooms have their own little network? I'm really interested to see how this works!

Cheers,
Sander
 
steve bossie
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mycelium connects with its own species but competes w/ others. blewits will grow in finished compost but they take over a year to get established and fruit. king stropharia (wine caps) need sawdust or straw as a medium and they don't like conifer sawdust or leaves. my first patch failed because i added leaves and spruce sawdust. a little coffee grounds or composted manure used very sparingly adds a little nitrogen giving bigger flushes. I've also grown oyster mushrooms in 2ft. piles of sawdust covered w/ straw. they come out in as little as 5weeks after putting the piles out.
 
steve bossie
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Adam Pickatti wrote:If you are plugging willow logs you should do so a week or two after cut while still wet, avoid ground conduct while colonization is happening and you should be fine( never grown on willow logs before). I usually get chips that have willow mixed in from the dept of transportation. I spread them out for about a week before I innoculate to let the anti fungal properties dissipate, during this time most of the the willow dries out enough to not root. After the pile is innoculated I keep an eye out for fresh willow growth and put those pieces that didnt dry out in direct sun where they can be dried the rest of the way.
i tried inoculating fresh willow and it never took but the aspen i cut and did at the same time produced. it takes a long time for willow to die. the ones i had, put out new growth for 3 months. probably why the mycelium never took. maybe if you set the logs in a dry place till it stopped producing shoots, then soaked to rehydrate, then inoculated . willow would be ok. but until it completely dies ,the wood produces antifungals that keeps the wood fungus free.
 
Dave Green
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thanks Steve/Edward, this is all great information

If I was planning on doing short rotation coppice, do you think I am risking it a bit by counting on willow logs for innoculating with funghi, due to their anti fungal properties? I was going to mix the coppice with poplar and hazel but was going to focus on willow as they seemed to have the most potential for sellable produce (basketry supplies, rods for gardeners, floristry/decorative) as well as being easy as hell to propagate.

thanks
 
Henry Jabel
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You might want to look at Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) and Shaggy parasol (Chorolophyllum rachodes) they relatively common in the U.K and they used to grow wild in my previous residence. They are happy near trees and in grassland. We never put woodships down for them or cultivated them in anyway but the grass was cut annually sometimes taken away for bailing sometimes not.

paul stamets mentions the latter gows on grass clippings and would guess the other one does too (as well as woodchips). He doesn't sell this spawn because in the US as they have a similar poisonous mushroom, however we don't have it here in the U.K (for now anyway). It also seems to be relatively easy to get spawn for them here too.

They are both quite tasty so well worth growing.

 
Dave Green
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thats terrific Henry, thank you

I now have a decent list of different mushrooms to try. I am going to trial some of this on my allotment if I can get hold of some willow logs/chips
 
steve bossie
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the willow could be used but put it in a dry dark building till it stops sending out sprouts then soak overnight in a barrel or pond to rehydrate, then inoculate. the oyster mycelium will colonize it quickly then. should get flushes in 4-6mo you could chip them also and make beds for wine caps too. or compost the chips and next year inoculate w/ shaggy manes, blewits, parasols.depends what you want and how long you're willing to wait. oysters are the quickest and easiest. good luck!
 
Dave Green
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thats great advice, thanks Steve


because they are in a building, will there be less chance of other funghi colonising it?
 
steve bossie
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Dave Green wrote:thanks Steve/Edward, this is all great information

If I was planning on doing short rotation coppice, do you think I am risking it a bit by counting on willow logs for innoculating with funghi, due to their anti fungal properties? I was going to mix the coppice with poplar and hazel but was going to focus on willow as they seemed to have the most potential for sellable produce (basketry supplies, rods for gardeners, floristry/decorative) as well as being easy as hell to propagate.

thanks
hybrid poplars also grows really fast. would be better for mushrooms but you don't get the other benefits. id chip the willow after its dried and make oyster mounds in a shady spot. they will produce in 6 weeks. you won't have big wood anyway right? if the logs aren't at least 5-6in. its not worth doing logs as they dry out too easily.
 
steve bossie
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Dave Green wrote:thats great advice, thanks Steve


because they are in a building, will there be less chance of other funghi colonising it?[/quote yes. and keep them dry.
 
Dave Green
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thanks that is great advice


i'd heard that 3-4 diameter inch was ok, i take it that isnt completely true? It makes sense that thinner logs would dry out quicker


It seems to me that mounds of chips would be easier to create than cords of stacked logs, plus I could use any size wood. Going to consider that in my plan as a possible alternative to logs, because this seemed like something that would take a long time if we are talking stacks and stacks of logs and multiple soakings each year. Plus I could keep the bigger wood for timber/poles in the future


If I was chipping a LOAD of willow, do you reckon the dark room is only place I should store it? Would on top of a tarp/concrete and covered by tarp be ok?

 
Henry Jabel
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Dave Green wrote:thats terrific Henry, thank you

I now have a decent list of different mushrooms to try. I am going to trial some of this on my allotment if I can get hold of some willow logs/chips


If you are growing it in your allotment you might want add some innocullated chips to your veg beds. In mycellium running there is a section where it compares companion veg and fungi. The best combination is Elm oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius) with brussel sprouts and brocolli x4 the total yield (fungi and veg) weight of the unmulched control.

The wine caps also significantly increased production too but fruit one or to years after establishment. The good thing about the winecaps too from my experience is they can tolerate disturbance very well which is obviously useful in veg beds.

The only diminished effect on the plant growth was produced by oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) but the total yield of fungi and plant was greater than the controls. So best to keep the oyster to log cultivation.
 
Dave Green
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nice one Henry!

i had considered innoculating some beds of perennials but never annuals. I am trying to move towards a more permy approach with less digging and more perennials but will always use at least half my beds for annuals so any way of stacking functions in an annual bed is appreciated, plus if I dont dig them there is hopefully a chance of the mushrooms surviving. I've used some mycorhhriziiahalalalalalazal powder before but that doesnt give me a crop. Using some winecaps seems a great idea, and thanks for the sprout/broccolli idea; i do normally plant them together with some nasturtiums/marigold and some herbs for a bit of a polyculture but hadnt thought of funghi

cheers!
 
steve bossie
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Henry Jabel wrote:
Dave Green wrote:thats terrific Henry, thank you

I now have a decent list of different mushrooms to try. I am going to trial some of this on my allotment if I can get hold of some willow logs/chips


If you are growing it in your allotment you might want add some innocullated chips to your veg beds. In mycellium running there is a section where it compares companion veg and fungi. The best combination is Elm oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius) with brussel sprouts and brocolli x4 the total yield (fungi and veg) weight of the unmulched control.

The wine caps also significantly increased production too but fruit one or to years after establishment. The good thing about the winecaps too from my experience is they can tolerate disturbance very well which is obviously useful in veg beds.

The only diminished effect on the plant growth was produced by oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) but the total yield of fungi and plant was greater than the controls. So best to keep the oyster to log cultivation.
it could be done but you would have to fuss over them all the time. i think if willows chipped, a week later should be able to inoculate w/ oyster spawn. I've taken wine cap colonized wood chips and put them in between my raspberry rows about 2-3in. thick . then covered w/ a half inch or so of fresh sawdust and kept moist. got quite a bit of mushrooms that way. got to make sure the chips are completely white w/ mycelium though. works good in between mounds of potatoes too!
 
steve bossie
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if you want to make a lot of mycelium from one bag of spawn. fill a bunch of burlap sacks w/ wet sawdust and a couple handfuls of spawn in each sack. mix it good , tie off your sacks ,then stack your bags on top of one another 3 high then start another pile right up against the 1st. place right on the ground in shade. place 1 empty bag on top and draped over each pile to keep in moisture. keep moist. in 3 months your burlap sacks will turn all white from the mycelium. then its ready to be broken up and placed around plants, start new beds etc. just cover w/ fresh sawdust or straw and it will fruit sometimes in as little as 3 months. also in dr. paul staments mycelium running book. a worthwhile purchase!
 
steve bossie
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you can also do this w/ oyster mycelium and let them fruit right out of the side of the sack!
 
Dave Green
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thank you very much Steve! I want to try that idea with the bags
 
steve bossie
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make sure you use hardwood chips or shredded straw. shredded cardboard works too. they don't like conifer sawdust. good luck! let me know how it comes out.
 
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