Friday, November 22, 2013


     When I posted Things You Can do With a Tree Stump, I left out growing fungi in or on them.  Growing mushrooms needs to be posted separately.  There is a lot to learn, to know and to grow.  

     Mushrooms are often grouped together on the food charts with vegetables as they provide many of the same nutritive aspects of beans, grains, and meat.  Mushrooms are so low in calories, are fat free and cholesterol free.  You can add a serving of mushrooms (about 3 ounces) to add a serving of vegetables to a meal.  A mushroom omelette is equal to having a meat and a veg as the meal.  

Shiitake Mushrooms     You can easily grow mushrooms if you do not yet trust your foraging skills to find safe mushrooms to eat.  You can get started for under $35.  Even if you desire Shitake mushrooms, have no logs to grow them in and no sealing wax at home, you can start Shitake for under a hundred dollars.

     These pearl oyster mushrooms cost $32.50 for an organic starter kit.  They come with an encouragement to follow directions and start them within a week or they will start themselves!  Then in two to three weeks you can start harvesting mushrooms.  This is a good time of year to try this variety as they grow in 60-75 degree temperatures.  

     I have posted the link for this company as it is a GIFT shipper.  You may purchase this gift and tell them when you want to give it, so they ship at the right time.  This supplier ships this variety on within the contiguous United States.  You may have to go online to find a dealer that will ship what you want to where you want.
     If you are feeling more adventurous and are ready to grow other varieties of mushrooms, try the log growing variety outdoors.  Cut oak logs about 3 to 8 inches in diameter and about three feet long.  Wait until your mushroom spawn arrives and melt sealing wax before drilling holes in the log.  Drill holes, plant the mushroom plugs in the log, seal the holes to keep stray spores and too much moisture out of the holes.  Keep the logs damp so they do not dry out and keep them out of the sun.  They can last several years with several flushes, or crops with resting time in between.  

     For years, my dad worked for Ralston Purina's mushroom plant here in Florida.  As a truck driver his job was to drive down to the horse track in Hialeah, Fl.  They apparently, had the best horse manure.  They bed their horses in straw not sawdust and were particular about keeping the stalls clean.  So, several times a week, he hauled a double trailer of nearly 100,000 lbs of manure to grow mushrooms in.  The manure sat in mountain like piles in the florida sun, baking and sterilizing, then it went inside to be cut (broken down like mulch.  They added gypsum to it to make it 'fluffy and continued to sterilize it with heat and cold.   

     Due to federal guidelines and the litigious nature of this nation, every spawning of mushrooms happened in nes sterile growing medium.  Hence, 100s of thousands of pounds of poo, weekly!  I don't suggest you grow yours in foul soil, but you can get two flushes from a single spawning.  

     With a little research at the sites that sell the mushroom spawn, you can find varieties that grow in cleaner, less smelly mediums like straw as pictured here.

     With the growing of mushrooms in clean medium, you can have meat without the by-products of meat on the hoof, such as poo, blood and guts.  Mushrooms are not a substitute for any other food, but if you can grow them you can stretch your budget dollar or increase your knowledge and/or income.

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