Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shiitake Mushrooms

Fifth grade came out to the garden and planted mushrooms on Valentine's day.  Chris Richmond, our mushroom mentor brought all of the equipment we needed and told us a little bit about mushrooms and how to plant them before we got started.
Ian, our handy-dandy maintenance dude drilled holes in logs.  For this batch of shiitake we used sweetgum logs.
Next we loaded up our inoculators by tapping them in a can of spore mixed with sawdust:
We put the inoculators over the drilled holes and pushed the spore mix into the holes:
The log was then moved down the table for sealing.  The children took swabs of hot, food grade paraffin and sealed the spore holes and any other open spots on the logs in order to keep moisture out and prevent other fungus spores from getting in.
The finished logs were then carried over to the log pile where they will wait until this time next year to bloom.  If we are lucky, we'll get a few mushrooms as early as this fall.  
Note that there are two children carrying what looks like fairly small logs.  These are fresh cut logs with most of the sap still in so they are very heavy!  Below is the start of one of our log piles:
Once all of the logs were finished and piled, Ian and Chris (our mushroom planting instructor) painted the ends with more wax.  Below is a picture of the finished piles.
If you are interested in learning more about planting shiitake or other mushrooms or ordering supplies for planting, check out Field and Forest.  If you would like to know more about mushrooms in general, Mycelium Running is an excellent book to have a look at.  If you live in the Chapel Hill, NC area you could also contact our mushroom guide, Chris Richmond at 919-932-1335 or via email at  

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