Growing your own mushrooms with Spore Plugs

A couple of years ago, I was given a grow your own mushroom kit for christmas. It was awesome! I was super excited to grow my own!

I spritzed my mushroom every other day or so. Then tended the little mycelium to make sure everything was going well. And waited anxiously for my mushrooms to grow.

Just kidding, I forgot all about it, let it dry out and killed everything. Eventually, I just put the fungus block into the compost. Whoops.

This time, I got a little more serious. I purchased plugs from Fungi Perfecti, to grow my own! I’m very excited.

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Plug Spawn

I purchased Phoenix Oyster Mushroom  plugs to grow on a Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) that fell down during the winter.

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Phoenix Oyster Mushroom

 

I followed the directions to drill the log with 5/8″ holes and fill with the mushroom plugs.  Then I covered those holes with beeswax. It didn’t take me very long  to insulate the log and I’m excited for the results. This was all done in early April.

Currently, my log is laying in a shady grove, elevated off the soil where I can spray it with water to keep it damp during the dry summer.

In my area (and most areas), you can inoculate logs with oyster mushrooms in the summer. You can find out more information on the Fungi Perfecti website.

If I’m successful, I’ll be inoculating more next spring!

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Mycelium covered log

 

I also purchased several books to to guide me through my mushroom growing journey. My favorite so far is Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets, the founder of Fungi Perfecti. Because I have a book addiction, I also purchased his older book, The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home. My next purchase will be his other book,Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.

To round it off, I purchased Mushrooms Demystified the bible on identification of fungi by David Arora. I have a field guide by him as well, All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms.

I’m gonna come right out and say that mushroom aficionados are weird. Have you ever met a serious mushroom hunter in the woods? I met this crazy man the other day, he was older with white hair, reminiscent of Albert Einstein but crazier. It was July and we were surprised to see a mushroom hunter out at that time so we asked him about it. The slight smile and far away look in his eyes told me how much he loved mushroom hunting. Mushroom people are passionate.

 

 

 

 

All images are from fungi.com, they are not my own and I will remove them if requested.

 

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Update on sustainable practices

Over ten months ago, I wrote a post about becoming more sustainable. This post was a  resolution/goal list of sorts so I decided to include updates on how I’m doing.

Stop buying non-recyclable and non-compostable items.

So I haven’t exactly stopped buying these things. I buy a lot of things online and it’s a  habit I need to stop. While some stores have all sustainable packaging (Mountain Rose Herbs and Grove Collaborative are two examples) and most have gotten rid of styrofoam packing peanuts, many still include inflatable plastic bags.

Has anyone considered the difference in cost between buying online and driving to the store? Seriously, I’d like to know. All stores are at least a 20 minute drive from my house so I consider buying online and shipping to my PO BOX to be my best bet.

Reduce Plastic Purchases

I have definitely done this!  I try my best to purchase the most sustainable packaging in the store.

Buy used, organic, fair trade, or sustainably produced clothing and shoes

I made an actual New Year’s resolution to purchase clothes made in the USA or that were used. So far, I’ve done this at 90% of the time. One major slip up was when I had to buy something for a funeral but I consider that an exception.

I’ve recently discovered thredUp and I love purchasing quality used clothes online.

Shoes were definitely harder. I was shopping for running shoes this last winter and couldn’t find anything that would work for my feet. I finally found these Newton Running Shoes that are sustainably made. I’m considering purchasing these Softstar Shoes for running as well.

Only buy organic and biodegradable toiletries and beauty products

Check ✔︎and Check ✔︎

Only buy food in bulk

This has not happened, but I’m working on it. I try to visit Winco as much as possible. I rarely buy processed foods and generally make everything from scratch.

We are working on getting all of our meat from sustainable sources. Currently, we buy organic chicken and eat elk and deer hunted by ourselves or friends. We hope to replace hunted Grouse and Turkey for the chicken this fall.

Make my own:

I make my own granola, bread and vanilla. I have made my own cheese, crackers and yogurt. I’ve also purchased everything to make my own chopsticks but I haven’t done it yet.

Soon I hope it make my own beer and wine. This will have to wait until we have the space at new place.

Drive less, bike/walk more. Combine trips.

In my new job working for a Conservation non-profit I drive less because I work from home and I also combine trips when running errands.

Grow my own tea and drink less coffee

I have not bought a tea plant yet but it’s on my to do list once we move to our new place. I do drink less coffee.