We inoculated the second mushroom bed today. This one is stropharia from Field and Forest. I went to them rather than Paul Stamnets because I figured that it was better to get spawn from Wisconsin than Washington. We still have Hypsizygus ulmarius (which they call “Garden Oyster”) on back order from Fungi Perfecti.
Meanwhile, both vendors discouraged me from buying oyster or shiitake spawn and dumping that into a wood chip bed. But inoculating logs sounds way too much like work. I think I’ll just order some, dump them onto sawdust chips and see what happens. Stamnets’ book is full of pictures of oyster mushrooms growing out of phonebooks, chairs and copies of his first book, not to mention buckets of coffee grounds. Shiitake seems to be pickier, but if I give it oak wood chips, I hope that will suffice.
Also, it’s pretty clear that except for the log cultivators over in CJK, nobody knows a whole bunch about raising saphrophytic mushrooms. They certainly don’t have the level of basic confidence that regular gardeners and farmers have.
It’s my gardener experience, but I still think I’ll be more comfortable buying outdoor fungus from zone 4 Wisconsin rather than zone 7 Washington. So I’ll call Field and Forest tomorrow, and get 5 pounds each. I can even tell the truth: I’m clearing a new garden for next spring, and I have the logs now. I just won’t mention that the logs are firewood and I’m growing the mushrooms in chipped slash. The worst case is that I’m out $60, less whatever mushrooms I actually get. I think it’s worth it.
While we were out there today, we found some mushrooms growing on some old oak logs that had been cut by the power company a few years ago, and we were moving them to make way for the new garden. Anyway, there they were, two whitish/tannish colored mushrooms. We took them back to the house, did some spore prints, which were white, and I think I’ve identified them as Tricholomopsis platyphylla (Megacollybia platyphylla), sometimes commonly known as Platterful Mushrooms. These are a bit aged, and it’s our first attempt at identification, so I don’t think we’ll be actually eating them.