Friday, April 19, 2013

Without Even Trying

So, in the afternoon, after my lovely yet fruitless morning of mushroom hunting, we took a walk down to the creek for our first spring swim.  As I ambled down the road enjoying the wildflowers and the warm afternoon, I was suddenly stopped in my tracks.  There, in the rocky sandy soil piled up on the side of the road by our overzealous road grading crew, was a beautifully shaped, 4 inch tall morel!

As we continued our walk we became more alert and by the time we made it back up to the house we had collected eight lovely mushrooms!
They made a succulent side dish for our eggplant risotto supper.

The following morning we decided it was finally time to take matters into our own hands.  This winter we ordered plug spawn from Fungi Perfecti so that we could grow our own mushrooms.  We've been gradually preparing to "plant" our special garden ever since.  We selected a tall slender maple tree that was growing in the bottom where we plan to put in a pond, cut it down and sectioned it into four foot lengths several weeks ago.  Then yesterday we got out the spawn (I love using the term spawn), the scrub brushes, the drills, the mallets, the Coleman stove and the paintbrush and we set to work.

Does this sound like garden planting to you?  If not, then look and learn!
First brush the logs clean of potentially competing life.
Drill holes on a four inch grid pattern around the entire log.
Tap in the mycelium covered plugs.

Brush melted wax over each plug and the ends of the logs.

Stack the logs in a criss-cross pattern

and add water.
There it is.  The beginnings of a lovely mushroom garden.  The logs will be covered by a canvas tarp and will remain in their stack for about 6 to nine months.  Then, after they are fully colonized by the mycelium they will be introduced to the soil.

Next year we hop our efforts will bear fruit. Shitake, hen-of-the-woods, chicken-of-the-woods, and reishi.

Apparently all gardens are not created equal!


  1. What? No morels in the garden?!

    1. Morels are tricky. No one has ever come up with a reliable introduction method for growing them intentionally. Fungi Perfecti doesn't even try. As soon as someone comes up with a method, I'll be right on it!!

  2. Barb, I am so envious. This is something I have been wanting to do for a very long time... and for some reason I haven't. The woods across the road from our house are absolutely full of mushrooms of all types, and I have never been brave enough to trust my judgment on what is or is not edible... but seeing so many of them has made me want to grow mushrooms I would know were safe. I think you've inspired me to actually do this!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that! Just remember to be patient and enjjo the process!