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Mushroom Inoculation Workshop 2-24

On Friday February 24th, BOP partnered with Real Food Farm to host our first mushroom inoculation workshop. Twenty-one attendees helped us to inoculate sixty logs with enough spawn to produce several hundred pounds of mushrooms over the course of the life-cycle of the logs.

Earlier in the month, we went to the Genesee Valley Orchard to thin out some of the apple trees there and gather logs for our inoculation. If you’ve been following our blog since last summer, you’ll know that the apple trees at Genesee Valley are too close together.  By using them for the inoculation, we were able to prevent the wood from going to waste!

When selecting a mushroom strain for inoculation, you want to be sure that you select something that’s appropriate for the wood you’re using. There are many different types of mushrooms available and they all prefer different conditions, so do your research! For this workshop, we used PoHu oyster mushrooms. They prefer wood that is hard, but not quite as hard as oak or maple. Softwoods like pine and cedar have antifungal compounds that will inhibit growth and may make the mushrooms toxic.

The actual process of inoculation is fairly easy, but can be time consuming: textimage

  1. Inoculate when daytime temperatures are above freezing and soon after gathering logs to prevent them from drying out. Logs should only be stored for 1-2 weeks (depending on the weather) to prevent any contamination.  
  2. Set up your pots to use as a double boiler.  Boil water in the larger pot and melt the wax in another container.    
  3. Begin drilling holes perpendicular to the trunk. Start 2 inches from the end of the log and continue to drill holes every 4-6 inches in a straight line down the length of the log.  Holes should be the depth of the plugs (about 1 inch).  
  4. Roll the log and start drilling a new row two inches up from the first. Stagger your drill holes to create a diamond shape. Continue in this fashion until the entire log has been drilled.
  5. Do not drill holes ahead of time, they will dry out quickly and can collect other types of spores.   
  6. Insert the spawn plugs by hand or with a hammer and seal the tops with melted wax. Use wax to seal the ends of the logs and any breaks in the bark.

If you’re interested in growing mushrooms or are already growing your own feel free to join our google group! Email Kevin at kevin@baltimoreorchard.org for more info.   

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