Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oyster Mushrooms

Our newest crop is mushrooms! This afternoon we planted three kinds of oyster mushroom spawn in 18 rolls of toilet paper. It sounds like a kind of wacky idea until you realize mushrooms grow on dead trees and toilet paper is made from wood.

The mushroom project was an ingenious gift from our friend Pat, who thought it would be the perfect crop for a future pizza farm. The oyster mushroom spawn came in bags of grain, colonized by mycelium, that we have kept refrigerated since Christmas.
We used plain, simple toilet paper, no perfumes or dyes. Sara immersed each roll in boiling water until saturated, then set it onto a cooling rack. Once cooled, each roll was placed into a "spawn bag" - a plastic bag that has a small square filter patch to allow air exchange.
We filled the center of each toilet paper roll with the grain spawn, labeled each bag with the type of oyster mushroom (Italian Brown, Golden and Gray Dove) and closed up the top of the bag with a rubber band.
We put the planted bags in a cool dark room inthe basement. In three weeks we should see mycelium growth. Between the 4th and 6th week we will move the bags to the refrigerator for at least 48 hours. When we take them out, open them up to fresh air and leave them in a well-lit room, they will fruit in 7-14 days. Stay tuned for our mushroom crop update in 5or 6 weeks!

Our mushroom spawn came from Field and Forest Products, a small company in Wisconsin that sells many types of mushroom spawn and kits. Pat also sent us shitake mushroom plugs, which we will insert into logs a bit closer to spring.

4 comments:

midwestgreen said...

I'll be watching for updates on this project - my husband would love it. We had inherited a stump growing oyster mushrooms but a) it always kind of scared me given the wild nature, and b) the stump eventually rotted and pooped out. we tried a commercial mushroom kit once to no avail. This might work though... keep us posted!
w

katiegirl said...

Neat idea! I can't wait to see what they do!

Barry said...

Love it!

Linda said...

Very interesting. I'll be interested in how it turns out.