Enjoying fresh mushrooms is like nothing else. Rich with flavor and meaty with texture, these fun fungi make a great meat replacement in any dish. But did you know mushrooms are also easy and fun to cultivate? Here at Fifth Season Gardening Co. we sure do love to grow some beautiful mushrooms, both indoors and out! We have some great products to make mushroom cultivation as easy and fun as possible, and in this blog, I’m going to go over some of the ways you can cultivate mushrooms of your very own.
For the outdoor cultivator, one of the most popular ways to grow some mushrooms is with mushroom logs. You can get them pre-inoculated with mushroom spawn, or you can inoculate your own mushroom logs. Choosing to inoculate your own logs is more work, but it will be more cost-effective, giving you more logs for less cost.
If you choose to go the route of plugging your own logs with mushroom spore plugs, it’s important to make sure you use fresh, healthy trees to source the logs from. It’s best to plug the logs soon after cutting them, waiting no longer than two months. You will also want to be selective with what trees you source your logs from. White Oak, Red Oak, Sweetgum, and Maple are some of my favorite varieties to use.
Once you have logs cut into workable sizes, it’s time to drill some holes and plug them with mushroom spawn. Drill the holes 2 inches from the top of the log and space the rest of the holes every six inches. The holes should be 1 ¼ deep with a 7/16 drill bit. You can then place the sawdust plugs that have been treated with mushroom spawn into the holes, and cover them with a soy wax. After this, you want to soak the logs for 24 hours and then stack them off the ground for the colonization period. Depending on the variety of mushrooms, the colonization period can be four months to a year, at which time they should be ready to fruit and produce mushrooms. At Fifth Season Gardening Co. we stock some great varieties of mushroom spawn, such as oyster mushrooms, lion’s mane, shiitake, and chicken of the woods.
If you’re just venturing into mushroom cultivation, you might want to try pre-inoculated mushroom logs. They also make great gifts for cooks, mushroom-lovers, and gardeners who like to try a little something different! Mushroom logs come pre-loaded with spawn plugs, and taking care of them is easy. Simply place them outside in a shaded, damp area sheltered from the wind. Your logs will need to receive regular rainfall, so during dry periods, you should soak your logs in rainwater, well water, or tap water that has been left to sit overnight so the chlorine can off-gas. As with logs you plug yourself, pre-inoculated logs will take a few months up to a year to fruit, and they should produce multiple flushes of mushrooms over multiple years. One thing to remember is to check your logs regularly – you don’t want to miss out of harvesting your mushrooms because the logs fruited near the bottom first and were hard to see! Our mushroom logs are produced locally by small family farmers, and we offer a number of different varieties.
Another option for mushroom cultivation would be indoor mushroom kits. This is an easy way to get started with growing mushrooms and produces great fruit. These kits are as easy as adding the mycelia-inoculated substrate to the sterile growth media provided. You will then mist the media once a day to keep it moist but not waterlogged. Soon the mycelium will take root in the media and start to produce mushrooms. You can expect to get two flushes of fruit from a tabletop kit like this one. It’s fun, simple and at the end you will have beautiful specimens to enjoy!
Whatever way you choose to cultivate mushrooms you will be sure to enjoy it. Mushrooms can grow fast and have large harvests when given the right environment and are properly taken care of. Come on down to Fifth Season Gardening Co. so we can show you how to grow your own!