Despite S’s disapproval I have stolen the bottom part of three of my freshly felled alder trunks to try out my mushroom spawn kits. These were a present from a sister and I am very keen to see how they do for me. I have not tried growing mushrooms on wood logs before. I once had a home buttom mushroom kit, which was fun, albeit not that productive. I have also tried (and failed) before with growing oyster mushrooms on newspaper logs, but I’m hoping to have another go on newspaper with the rest of this spawn kit. The kit came from Ann Millar albeit through a third party I think.
It is important that the logs used are freshly felled. This is partly so that they have not been infected with other non-edible competing fungi, and partly so that the moisture content is high enough for the spawn to live and grow. The instructions with the kit suggest not more than three weeks old, which seems a very short period of viability. The logs are a little small in diameter, but I don’t think that should matter too much – they may not last as well as a bigger log. They are supposed to be 10 – 15 cm, and I think mine taper down to less than this. I suppose the biggest risk is thay may dry out.
The mushroom spawn comes on wooden dowels, they have now reached their best before date – but have been sitting in the fridge so should be good to go. The process is simple: Drill appropriate sized holes in the fresh logs, insert spawn infected dowels, wrap in plastic and leave in a dark place for 6 to 18 months till spawn permeates logs, initiate fruiting by moving to light damp location, pick mushrooms, rest and repeat. Since I have three sorts of mushroom spawn, I have also labelled the three logs with a metal label tied round with string.
They have been placed in separate binliners (to save cross infection) under a bit of pond liner under a trailer. They should be out of the way there for a bit. I’ll check on them every now and then to see how they look.