Toward Fruitbody ?

It has been three weeks since we attended the mushroom propagation workshop hosted by Gnomestead Hollow Farm and Forage, a three hour event followed by Driftwood Catering’s wild mushroom fungi-to-table dinner, an all-in-all rhizomatic and friendly time, with attendees from neighboring counties and as far away as Tennessee and North Carolina. We stuffed four bags with blends of straw, millet, and sawdust, along with crumbled cultivars (busted up blocks) of a couple of different kinds of mushrooms. They sat in a cooler in the well house for the past three weeks; two of the bags are ready for slitting, but the other two didn’t turn out. One principally straw-based bag molded; another underfilled millet bag held too much moisture and, as such, appeared underdeveloped and questionable.

Figure 1. Two successful (so far) propagation attempts, Italian oyster mushrooms in a millet+straw substrate.

For the two good bags, the slits are set—two per bag, about 1.5 inches each, one set in the shape of an I and the other in the shape of a plus sign, because we’re learning. Each slit now gets a few mists of water 3-4 times per day, and this is supposed to prompt fruiting, what we hope will become yields of enough oyster mushrooms to enjoy for a meal or two. And all of this is precursor to a longer-projected attempt at more routinely propagating mushrooms so these home cultivated varieties can be a regular feature in evening meals.