Frequently Asked Questions
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- I just cut down my logs. When can I inoculate them with spawn?
You can wait a week up to 2 weeks when the weather is warm, and 2 weeks up to a month in the cold months, after cutting your logs.
- What is the best diameter size of wood?
This is up to you. The bigger the diameter the longer it will fruit. Every inch of diameter equals approximately 1 year of fruiting. Just beware, very large logs are hard to move around, and it takes longer for it to fruit for the first time.
- Are bigger logs better?
Bigger is certainly not better. But logs that are too small is not good either. Maitake and Chicken of the Woods do like very large diameter oak logs, but you will not be moving these around anyways.
- What about length?
Any length is fine as long as you can carry the logs. Maitake and Chicken of the Woods do like very large diameter oak logs, but you will not be moving these around anyways.
- What kind of wax should I use?
You can use paraffin, cheese, or bee’s wax.
- When is the best time to plug logs?
When trees drop their leaves. in the fall, the leaves will drop and all the sugars that were in the leaves streamed back into the tree trunk. And mushrooms love to eat sugar. However, the difference in the fruiting between the wood felled in the summer, and the ones felled in the winter is not much of a difference. We do it all year round and get great results.
- What mushrooms are best for what wood types
- Oyster Mushrooms – poplar, oak, sweet gum, basically any hardwood
- Maitake – Black Locust, Oak
- Shiitake – Red Maple, poplar and any other hardwood
- Chicken of the Woods – Oak
- Nameko – any deciduous hardwood
- Elm Oyster – oak, poplar, and any other hardwood
- Lion’s Mane – oak
- Shimeji – any deciduous hardwood
- Turkey Tail – turkey tail does not discriminate against any hardwood
- Where can I put my logs after they are plugged?
They need to be stored somewhere in the shade, so they don’t dry out. They can also be covered with a tarp so the moisture stays in. if you don’t cover them up, make sure that you mist them once in a while to promote mycelium growth.
- How should I stack my logs after I plug them?
Logs can be stacked log cabin style, as high as you want, some log growers like to lean them on trees, and against buildings on the north side.
- The logs I have cut are heatlhy, but have a fair amount of lichens (grey) growing on them. Does this make them bad choices for mushrooms? Can I brush off the lichens before I plug the logs?
This does not make the logs bad for plugging, and the lichens do not need to be brushed off, they are just hitch-hikers.
- Do you have any portabella that we can use to plug logs?
Portabella do not grow on wood/plugs, they are planted in your garden, with compost and woodchips.
- I want to try innoculating some Beech logs with the spawn. I will do some by drilling and some totem method. Would it hurt the Spawn if I put it in a food processor or blender to make it easier to spread on the totem, or should I just crumble it?
This is totally OK, but I would use a food processor, I don’t know if blender will work.
Composting With Mushrooms
- What mushrooms grow well in compost?
Blewit, portabella, almond portabella and shaggy mane.
- My coffee cultivator is starting to grow green mold on it. Should I throw it away?
Try spraying the green mold with some bleach water or hydrogen peroxide, and see if it goes away, if it doesn’t go away, and the greenmold takes over your coffee cultivator, throw it in your compost pile and start again.
- I was going to inoculate the kitchen waste (coffee, food, and paper) in a bucket inside. Is oyster my best bet? If so which strain/variety?
Try leaving out the food out of your inoculation project, cause then it will get contaminated quickly. Coffee, and paper are fine for the oysters (brown and/or warm blue), you can use cardboard as well.
- I have many many boxes of books. I am interested in inoculating whole boxes removing a few books putting spawn in between and reboxing. Is this possible? It would help me to be able to harvest mushrooms and later use the books as garden compost.
Yes this is possible. Your books need to be well soaked in water first. You will need to put your whole project into some kind of plastic bags, to prevent the moisture from escaping. One problem you might have is that you don’t really know what kind of inks are used to print those books. For example, if the inks contain heavy metals, you will not want to eat those mushrooms.
- I’m able to get a fair amount of grounds and filters from a local gas station, allowing me to fill a few black plastic planters if I wanted to. Instead of the daily layering you show online, could I just layer it all at once and cover it with another planter (I remember you showing this method in your slide show)? Also, do I need to water them?
Yes, you can do it all at once. This way your fruiting will happen sooner, and less contamination. If the coffee grounds are moist themselves, then you do not need to water. When the mushrooms start fruiting though, make sure you mist them, so they don’t dry out.
- What oyster mushrooms are the best to grow on coffee?
Blue, brown and phoenix. Blue and Phoenix for the warm months and brown oyster for the cooler months.
Growing Mushrooms Outdoors, In Your Garden
- What do blewit and king stropharia like to grow on?
They like woodchips, leaves, cardboard, wheat straw. Paper will be fine for this in addition to the cardboard. Blewit even likes compost.
- Does king stropharia and other mushrooms grown on the ground survive over winter months? Many time we get winter nights below freezing. Can I treat the mycelium like a perennial and will it survive until the nutrients are exhausted?
The mycelium will survive the winter, so yes, you are treating it like a perennial 🙂
- Can I make mushroom beds in the Fall and Winter months?
Yes, you can make mushroom beds any time of the year.
- I recently inoculated beds with portabella spawn using fully and partially composted rabbit and chicken manure as well as yard waste compost. In some of the manure I used, other mushrooms had already fruited (I am not sure what kind) and I am wondering if this will pose a competition risk. I went ahead anyhow, but am wondering if this will be an issue or there are things I should look out for. I’m located in RI, if that makes a difference.
You have coprinus, a “weed” mushroom that loves compost and manure, generally they will not be a huge problem but will compete somewhat, I would be sure the compost has been properly pasteurized to minimize this species. Also, if you are using our Almond Portabella strain it does not like cool/cold temps, so be sure you are doing this indoors this time of year or you could risk killing the spawn. It should never fall below 45/50F for too long. Check your areas that you spawned to look for mycelium spreading or not.
Growing Mushrooms on Agricultural Waste
- What grows on wheat straw? Any of the oyster mushrooms will grow on wheat straw.
- What else can I grow oysters mushrooms on? You can grow them on peanut hulls, kudzu, cotton seed hulls, wheat straw, oat straw, corn cobbs, cotton waste, banana frawns, water hyacinth, or any other kind of dried vegetable waste. Not Fruit, but the leafy stuff.
- Do I need to sterilize the agricultural waste before I add the inoculant in? You don’t need to sterilize it, but you will need to pasteurize it. This means boiling it at 160-180F for about 2 hours.
Oyster Mushroom Kits, Spawn & How to Grow Them
- I have lots of fruit flies flying around my mushroom kit. How do I get rid of them?
Take a little dish, and pour some apple cider vinegar into it, then one drop of dish detergent fluid, just one drop, and set it next to your mushroom kit. The fruit flies will get attracted by the smell, fall into the dish and the tension from the dish detergent will pull them under the surface. Hope this will help with that. I put a dish like this next to my compost bin in the kitchen, and it works wonders.
- My mushrooms are starting to curl? Wat’s wrong with them?
Nothing is wrong with them, they are just aging. Don’t let them get to this stage, as they will not taste as good as when they are younger.
- When is the best time to pick my oyster mushrooms?
Pick them when they stop doubling in size. Or when you see them starting to curl.
- Which oyster mushrooms should I be planting in which seasons?
For very cold weather, plant these: TC-14, White oyster, Elm Oyster, Brown Oyster, Cold Blue Oyster
For Cool to warm weather, plant these: Warm Blue, Elm oyster, Brown oyster
For very hot weather, plant these: Pink Oyster, Golden Oyster, Phoenix oyster
- I have laid my 30 shiitake logs on the ground and covered tem with leaves to keep them moist. Is this an acceptable practice?
No this is not an acceptable practice. There are many ways of stacking shiitake logs: log cabin style, leaning them against trees, putting one log down on the ground, and then laying several logs perpendicular on that log, leaning them against your house on the north side.
- How long can I store my spawn when I receive it and how?
Spawn can last 6 months up to a year. Store in the fridge for best results.
- Where do your cultures come from?
Most of our cultures are native to the South Eastern US. We pick them in the woods, and expand them in our lab. Lots of times, we will get phone calls from mushroom lovers when they find a mushroom growing on an interesting wood type, and ship them to us for expansion.
- Do you offer grain spawn?
Not at the moment, but will in the near future.
- How do you ship your spawn?
USPS Priority, large volumes of spawn we ship via UPS.
- Where do you get your woodchips?
From our local mill, and sometimes from the arborist, and then at other times from the energy companies when they are cutting trees down in our neighborhood.
- Where can I get cotton seed hulls, wheat bran, wheat bales and other growing substrates?
Try your local feed store.
- Can I disolve the mycorrhizal granules, and water them in?
Yes, this is probably the easiest way to get your mychorrizal fungi to the roots of the plants.
- What plants do the mycorrhizal granules NOT work with?
Brassicas and Blueberries. Everything else goes.
- How much mycorrhizal granules do I use per gallon of water to disolve them?
Cooking With Mushrooms
- How do mushrooms taste?
- Lion’s Mane: When sauteed, lion’s mane takes on the flavor and texture of lobster. Good in warm salad with a light winaigrette
- Morels: Their mild flavor add an earthly flair for sauces, soups and stuffings. They are also good stuffed. Cooked with butter and shallots, morels add a smoky, nutty note.
- Chicken of the Woods: So named because of it’s texture. Best when eaten young, this mushroom is silky and delicious when sauteed. Can be substituted in any dish that calls for chicken.
- Reishi: This mushroom is known to stimulate the immune system. Dried and grated, this mushroom is steeped in hot water for tea.
- Hen of the woods: Medical claims that this mushroom initiates T-cell stimulation. Also a gourmet edible when sauteed, with an interesting crisp and delicate texture.
- Porcini: (mycorrhizal, cannot be grown)This is a meaty mushroom, rich in flavor. They are good in cream sauces and delicious grilled.
- Chanterelles: (mycorrhizal, cannot be grown) This aromatic mushroom has the enticing odor of apricots and a rich distincitve peppery flavor. Great sauteed and used in cream sauces and soups.
- Black Trumpets: (mycorrhizal, cannot be grown) Similar in flavor and use to the
- Chanterelles. There’s a lot of taste in it’s thin black flesh.
- Lobster: (mycorrhizal, cannot be grown) A hearty mushroom, rich with flavor. Named for it’s red and white colors. Best sauteed and used in stir fries and cream sauces.
- Fairy Ring: This delicate mushroom is full of flavor. Great in recipes featuring this mushroom only. Sautee with fresh herbs.
- Matsutake: (mycorrhizal, cannot be grown). This prized mushroom has a spicy fragrance, that of pines and cinnamon. It’s flavor is robust. Great grilled alone or sauteed with your tuna steak to make a fabulous meal.
- Cauliflower: It’s flesh is similar to that of the Hen of the Woods, although it is thicker. Good sauteed and used with poultry.
- Shiitake: This mushroom takes on the oak flavor of the tree it grows from. Woodsy and meaty in flavor, this unique mushroom will dress up any dish. Great in stir fries, soups, and with eggs
- Do you offer mushroom compost? Yes, please call Roger at 864-859-3080
- Can I come pick up spawn at your farm? Yes. Come by Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm.
- Do you sell wholesale? Yes, buying a box of 12 bags of our 5lb sawdust spawn will reduce the price from $25.00 to $17.00. Buying 6 bags of sawdust spawn will reduce the price from $25.00 to $20.00 per bag.