mushrooms, so much so that she grows them on her property in Georgia.
She uses the homegrown fungi in recipes, sells
them at local farmers markets and pays her property taxes with the
A forest ecologist with the University of Georgia College of
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Workman shares her mushroom
knowledge at workshops and classes.
For temperate climates like Georgia's, Workman recommends backyard
mushroom growers use warm weather strains of starter.
"The inoculation material is usually a mixture of sterilized saw dust
or other fiber substance and a liquid culture of the specific fungus,"
The material costs $25 to $50 for small amounts and can be ordered from
various sites online.
|Three Growing Mediums
grow in three basic mediums: wood,
soil and dung. For growing shiitake mushrooms, Workman recommends using
wood as the growing base.
Most sources recommend oaks, but sweet gum, elm and other hardwood
"Trees used for mushroom culture should be cut in the winter before the
sap rises. If the tree has budded, it's too late to use it."
with 5 to 20 Logs
Logs used for mushroom growing should be easy to move and small, say 8
inches in diameter and 2 to 4 feet long.
Beginning mushroom growers should start with 5 to 20 logs. To insure
success, the logs should be inoculated as soon as possible, or within a
month from the time they are cut.
"Lay the logs on a tarp if you can't immediately inoculate them. You
don't want to lay them on the soil and give insects or other fungi an
opportunity to enter the logs."
Select trees with few low branches and avoid any with broken or rotten
limbs. Treat the logs with care. Injured areas could become points for
diseases or competing fungi to enter the logs.
Insert Starter into Holes
To inoculate the logs, drill holes three-eighths of an inch deep every
6 inches using an alternating pattern.
Insert the inoculants material and cover the holes with melted wax.
Stack the logs in a log cabin arrangement or slant them in inverted-V
places hers three to four logs high in a crisscross pattern on a
concrete block base.
Label the logs with the year and the innoculum type.
Well and Often
Keep the logs well irrigated for 4-6 months. Workman typically waters
10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening every day.
Water needs will vary depending on rain.
"If it rains, don't irrigate the logs as they shouldn't be overwatered.
If the logs aren't watered enough, the mushrooms will crack or just not
A white coloring under the bark or on the ends of the logs is a sign
that fungus is actively growing inside the wood.
To initiate a fruiting cycle, soak the logs overnight then restack
them. In two or three days, "little buttons" should emerge and begin to
Most logs should produce mushrooms for about five years.
in Spring and Fall
Mushrooms will emerge from the inoculated logs in the spring and fall,
usually best when the days reach 75 to 80 degrees and the nights are
above 60 degrees. The logs will likely not produce much during the
summer, but will come back and continue to produce mushrooms through
Moisture, temperature and day length governs how much fruit is
produced, and how many mushrooms you will have to use or sell.
University of Georgia College of
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
to Grow Oyster Mushrooms
are a high yield, fast growing
crop. They are known to help lower cholesterol levels and are a great
source of potassium, iron and protein. This "instructables" article
provides a low tech, step by step guide to growing both pleurotus
ostreatus (winter strain) and pleurotus pulmonarius (summer strain). Click
to Grow Oyster Mushrooms
Mushrooms in the Willamette Valley
and Mushroom Kits
Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits and Nuts
Products in the United States
Mushrooms growing on decaying wood