Pearl Oyster Mushrooms growing at 100th Monkey Mushroom Farm
As we move into winter it is a great time to make or buy mushroom logs for the garden. The Chinese have been cultivating mushrooms on logs since the 1300’s, and are still a major edible mushroom producer.
Growing mushrooms on logs outside is easy, fuss free and you get tasty mushrooms to eat. From winter into spring, during a trees dormant period is the best time to cut. Perhaps you have a tree that has been felled or pruned? You can inoculate these logs with mushroom spawn from point of cutting up to 3 months. Or maybe you might prefer to buy ready-to-go mushroom logs online?
Logs inoculated with mushroom spawn and sealed with wax
If you happen to cut wood that is green, this needs to be left for 3 months before inoculation.
If you have a place in the garden where shade loving plants grow, this is also the perfect place for mushroom logs to thrive. They enjoy a north facing position, under trees, where possible. If the weather is dry they do need watering from time to time, but other than that they are completely low maintenance. Just leave them to do their thing!
As mushrooms are stationary organisms they use mycellium to grow outward, looking for water and nutrients. Mycellium is a functional, fungal bacterial colony which occupy many layers of the soil. They consist of a mass of branching, microscopic threads. As the mushroom’s fruiting body grows the logs degrade, which release important nutrients back into the soil.
Mushrooms growing at Sharondale Mushroom Farm
Growing mushrooms, either on logs, in old paper books or in the soil is a great educational tool for learning, not only for children but for adults too.
Shiitake mushrooms are specifically grown on Oak, Elm, Sweet Gum and Beech. Oyster mushrooms are specific to Poplar, Maples, Oak, Mulberry and Quaking Aspen.
Winter Fungi, Velvet Shank – photo copyright Edible Leeds
If you’d like the easy option of buying online, check out the Rustic Mushroom Company who are based in East Sussex. They sell a variety of mushroom logs, kits and spawn.