I’m just some lunatic macaroni mushroom, is that it? -Joe Pesci

The mushroom logs inoculated last spring are still sitting in the yard.  Maybe mushrooms in the spring if the snow ever melts?

While we wait, how about using some yard waste and play around with indoor cultivation?  I mean c’mon I still have 6 weeks before the tomatoes get sown!  This time I went with Blue Oyster sawdust spawn and Phoenix Oyster grain spawn to experiment with different substrates.  These I purchased from Everything Mushrooms.  I also purchased the digital download version of “Let’s Grow Mushrooms” for $9 which has some clever ideas in it.

I’m just winging it on this project by putting together ideas from various places.  No clue if this is going to work well!

Experiment #1:

First step: chop up the residue from the dried up perennial grass clippings from the flower garden with a few swipes of the lawn mower.

Second step: Steam the clippings in a large canning pot for 2 hours to hopefully pasteurize them sufficiently.  Ah, I love the smell of steaming hay!

Third step: Clean all the old newspaper bags you’ve convinced the wife to save for the past few weeks.   I rinsed them in a no rinse sanitizer I use for home brewing called Star San.  No idea if this is necessary, but you can’t be overly clean.

Fourth step: Fill the bags with the cooled straw a few handfuls at a time adding in some Blue Oyster mushroom sawdust spawn each time too.

Fifth step: Tie the tops of the bags, poke some holes in them so the fungi gets some oxygen, label and date them.  Store in a dark place to let the fungus colonize the straw.

Straw bag day 1 inoculation

Straw bag day 1 inoculation

Experiment #2:

Coffee grounds.  We drink a lot of coffee at work. A lot.  I sometimes grab the grounds and toss them into the compost pile.  I got to thinking it might be amusing to grow mushrooms on it and then pass them out at work.  Recycled work coffee grounds turned into mushrooms instead of going to the landfill. How green.

I used a few bags like the straw above. I also mixed in some shredded paper from our home shredder just for fun.  (Oyster mushrooms will grow on just about anything.)  I moistened the whole batch, added a cup or so of the spawn and  filled some bags. This one might take some practice to get the right moisture level.  They felt pretty heavy and wet.  I let them drain a bit in the sink.

I also started saving our home coffee grounds and filters.  Each day another layer was added plus some spawn.  The holes allow gas exchange and a place for the mushrooms to emerge.  You can see the mycelia filling up the head-space in the container.

Coffee and filters 14 days after inoculation

Coffee and filters 14 days after inoculation

Hmm, what else could I grow mushrooms in?  How about a sanitized Feta cheese container with holes and straw.

Feta cheese container 14 days post inoculation

Feta cheese container 14 days post inoculation

Here are the straw logs three days days later, colonizing nicely.

Three days after inoculation. Starting to colonize.

Three days after inoculation. Starting to colonize.

Now 22 days later look what we have!

22 days later Blue Oysters on straw

22 days later Blue Oysters on straw

22 days post inoculation Blue Oysters

22 days post inoculation Blue Oysters

I’d say experiment #1 is successful so far.  I just need to keep the bags in a moist location (a big plastic tote) and cut some slits in the bags so the mushrooms can emerge more easily.

The “coffee logs” are growing a little slowly and stayed pretty wet.  I suspect the gas exchange was not as good either because it packed in so tightly.  The jury still out on this method but there is definitely mycelia showing.

Off to make another batch of straw!  Hope the neighbors like mushrooms.

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