Outdoor Mushroom Growing is more of a challenge than using an indoor mushroom kit, but if you have the resources and a little patience they are worth the extra effort involved.
Inoculating hardwood logs with mushroom spawn will provide benefits that you can only achieve by growing the mushrooms outdoors.
Advantages of Growing Mushrooms on Logs
The biggest advantage over using a mushroom kit that’s attained by growing directly on hardwood logs is that you can grow much larger quantities of delicious gourmet mushrooms over longer periods of time.
Rather than being limited to the size of a kit’s growing medium, with logs you can produce mushrooms over the entire surface area of whatever size logs you choose to inoculate with the mushroom spawn.
What’s even better is that from a single “planting”, the mushroom spawn inoculated hardwood will continue producing gourmet mushrooms over a number of years, compared to the few months of production that the typical kit will provide.
It does require more effort to get started, and a longer time before you see results, but growing mushrooms outdoors will ultimately provide you with many more mushrooms at a lower cost per pound to produce them. Not to mention that your initial efforts will continue to reap rewards for many years into the future.
Challenges Facing the Backyard Mushroom Grower
The major challenge to growing mushrooms outdoors is that you’ll need to locate a source for the hardwood logs that will be inoculated with the gourmet mushroom spawn.
Certain types of wood, such as oaks are best for mushroom cultivation, while softwoods such as pine aren’t suitable for the gourmet mushroom varieties that we’re interested in growing.
The three to six foot hardwood logs should be cut from live trees during late winter and inoculated by early spring. You’ll also need a shady spot on your property where you can store the logs throughout the growing process, as this is definitely an outdoor activity.
The simplest way to inoculate your timber is by inserting small wooden dowels that have been thoroughly infused with fresh mushroom spawn. Next week I’ll post an article with all the details for how to inoculate the freshly cut timber with the mushroom spawn and go through the various stages involved in growing gourmet mushrooms.
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