First Mushrooms

I was walking by the mushroom totems (previously) the other day when I noticed this:


Opening the paper cover revealed more:

Let us out!

One of the three logs is in full flush, and the others are not far behind:

Oysters on log

This was just a trial to see if this inoculation technique (the totem method) will work for me with one of the species of wood that I have in abundance (poplar). So far I have been very happy with the results. Compared to the plug spawn method (where hundreds of holes need to be drilled in the log and filled with mushroom spawn), the inoculation was very quick and I have not touched the logs since wrapping them in the paper bags. The best part so far has been the flavour. These mushrooms have a richer and more complex flavour than any oyster mushrooms I have had before. 

If all goes well, I may be scaling up production next year. I still need to monitor the overall productivity of the logs as well as the harvest window. Since oysters fruit naturally and cannot be "forced" on a schedule, I need to see how long they can hold on the log (before getting over ripe) and how long they can be stored for. I suspect both periods may be short.

Mushroom totems

I'm trying out an interesting oyster mushroom production technique this year. In the early winter I cut some poplars out of the woodlot and dragged them to the driveway. The next step was to cut some short lengths that could be re-assembled into standing "totems":

Cut Logs

Each totem is about 30 inches high and made up of three separate pieces - two larger on the bottom and one small on the top. 

After taking them out to a shady spot, I re-assembled them piece by piece, with mushroom spawn (sterilized and inoculated sawdust) sandwiched in between each layer. Then I tied on a paper lawn waste bag to help hold in some moisture.

Log with spawn on top

Re-stacked - one covered and one uncovered

If all goes well, we'll hope to see some oyster mushrooms in the fall or next spring. If it works out, I can see scaling up to include mushrooms in the CSA shares in a year or two.