Myco-Culture

What, you may ask ,is Myco-culture, or better yet fungi-culture? I thought I was being brilliant in coming up with a new term for the growing of mushrooms, but one quick Google  search and I found a number of  hits on the internet.  More specifically, there is an on-line discussion group called Mycoculture.org found at http://mycoculture.org/  which is.. “

an email-based discussion group sponsored and maintained by members of the Cultivation Interest Group of the Oregon Mycological Society, to advance the Society’s goals of education and public service, by providing a public forum for the exchange of information and discussion about all aspects of the cultivation of mushrooms. MycoCulture.Org provides a permanent home for the discussion group and brings this service to the Web.

Membership is free, and open to all professional and amatuer mycologists and mushroom cultivators and other interested persons at the discretion of the Moderator.”

 The cultivation of mushrooms…that’s what I’m taking about!

The reason I am talking about this is to… brag!  Yes to brag.

Last year at the end of the oyster mushroom season, I came home yet again with a basket brimming with oyster mushrooms.  I had already picked and dried as much as 20 pounds of fresh oysters, we had eaten several feeds of them fresh, and after the last eating, Chris developed some sever GI symptoms.  We weren’t sure if it was due to the mushrooms or something else she may have eaten.

Having an over abundance of mushrooms, I decided to try something new. I wanted to see if I could grow my own. I had read that oysters are one of the easiest to grow, so what the heck, give it a try.

I had noticed a dead standing Alder tree in the woods just across the street from me. I took a good handful of mushrooms down to the tree, stuffed them unceremoniously under a piece of bark that was peeling off and basically forgot  about them.

Last week I remembered that I had done that “seeding” and figured I should give the tree a check.

I went down this morning and lookDSCN1473 at what I found….DSCN1472 DSCN1474

 

I was stoked!!Oysters growing all over the tree, as well as some very young buds starting.  With a bit of rain that is predicted to be  coming  this weekend, it ought to  help them flush like crazy.

This is the crack in the bark where I put the mushrooms.

DSCN1475

 

This was a great experiment and shows me how just how easy it is to grow your own mushrooms.

But this was not my first and only attempt at mycoculture.  Last year being such a stellar year for mushrooms here on the coast, people were really generous at sharing their finds.  A fellow SCSHROOM member had dropped by one day with a big pile of Lobster mushrooms.  Some were getting a bit on the weepy side, so he was going to chuck them.  I asked if I could have them for a “seeding” experiment.  He very generously gave them to me aswell as some choice ones to eat.

For those who are not familiar with the Lobster Mushroom, the fungi, Hypomyces lactifluorum, is a parasitic mold that attacks various species of Russula and Lactarius, turning them in to a completely different mushroom. They change from a white plain looking mushroom to a brilliant almost florescent red mushroom, all convoluted and fairly dense. They also have a slight seafood flavor.

I am told that on the east side of the Rockies there is a similar species of mold that turns the host mushroom green.  I haven’t seen those yet, but of someone has, I would love a photo, and a description of how they taste.

Last year there were hundreds of  large Russula Brevipes and R. cascadenis growing on my street.

I had heard from other members that one of our local mushroom gurus  had been systematically spreading the parasitic mold  in the local forests and had begun to see more and more lobster mushrooms each year. His method was to just toss the over-ripe mushrooms among the non infected Russula’s.

My approach was to take the bright red mushrooms, put them into a blender and liquefy them. Actually I made more of a brownish slurry.

I then went to the patch where the Russula’s were growing and where they have returned the last few years. I spread the slurry in their midst and surrounding moss.

The mold has to infect the mycellium of the host mushroom before they start to fruit, so I am very hopeful for a patch of lobsters just down the road this fall.

This year I did a similar thing with the morels that I picked just a few weeks ago.  Some I ate, some I dries and some were too old.  Those and the trimmings I put into the blender and whizzed them up.  Again, brownish slurry, which I left in the blender jar overnight ( don’t know if that will make a difference). Next day I took the “slurry” out to the back 40 and broadcast  it in what I hope was a good spot.  Now I wait until next year to see if anything will come up.

Last year I also took some Gypsie Mushrooms – Rozites caperata – and threw them in the mossy areas amid the Firs in the back 40 that abuts onto  our property. It was very similar habitat to where I had found them growing.  Forever hopeful!!

On a final note, Chris was very brave and decided to give the Oyster mushrooms a try again  this year, to actually see if her symptoms were due to having an allergy to the mushrooms.  She had eaten all the other species I had picked last year, with no problems.  I a happy to say that she has tasted them and had no reactions…. so I didn’t poison her last year with mushrooms.  It could have been something else I made, but we will never know.

Keep your eyes on the ground and hope to see you on the trails some day….. coastalshroomer.

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