I'm out in the south eastern cascades, right where the forests run out and the prairies begin. We have a limited supply of water, and our summers are just as hot and sunny as Yakima, or Kennewick. we've faced significant challenges keeping anything moist through the summer. We've found it quite a challenge to cultivate mushrooms.
We've tried several types of mushroom cultivation so far:
Shiitake logs on Oregon White Oak, free standing above ground
Shiitake logs on Oregon White Oak, burried in sunken woodchip beds
Oyster's in "burritos" made cardboard and cold-pasturized wheat straw and pine/oak chips
King Stropharia in the soil of our annual garden
Except the king stropharia, All the other mushrooms were in areas of full shade (only sparse dapple light, and protected from prevailing winds) yet they still dried out.
All of the methods above were marginally successful, and made more successful by the input of large quantities of water. Water which we had to draw away from other growing systems. We would prefer to use as little water as possible, and design the system to maintain it's moisture by design.
Wondering if you can help me understand how we might better design a system of mushroom cultivation in a dry cold region where extra water in the summer is not available.
what species might be appropriate for these conditions?
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
posted 4 years ago
Species that have worked well for me in the high-desert are cold-weather mushrooms that occur naturally in this area, and that fruit first thing in the spring, or late in the fall during our rainy seasons. They are oyster mushrooms, morels, and puffballs. Someone around here is wildcrafting chantarelles, and I find turkey tails, but I don't know growing conditions. There are other wild mushrooms in this area that grow under similar circumstances, but I haven't tried to ID them well enough for eating.
I agree with Joseph to start with local species that are adapted to local climatic conditions.
Mushrooms need lots of water to form many large fruit bodies. This is unavoidable. However, you dont need to use pristine water. Grey water works well for Stropharia and oysters. I have not tried with Shiitake logs, but it doenst hurt to experiment. Sinking the logs, etc into the ground, creating more humid microclimates with understory plants, and placing then areas where water collects are some other ideas.
I hope that helps
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