Inoculating with Wild Oyster Mushrooms: an experiment in the biomass berms

Earlier today I went and harvested some oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) from a big dead maple we keep walking and driving past. I grabbed a small chunk of them last week, and since they were getting a bit dried out I didn’t go back. But then with a soaking rain yesterday they sprung back to a more edible state (some being a little waterlogged in fact), so I grabbed them all.

I would have grabbed most of them anyway, but now I have some to eat and not just for this experiment.

Separating the mostly edible caps from the little bits of stipes and mycelium mass (I was purposefully a little rough pulling them off the tree), I took the less edible parts for an experiment I had been thinking of: innoculating the leaf bags we placed in the new berms.

We had planned to innoculate the bags to both hasten the breakdown of the leaves as well as produce another crop and support the plants that will go in in the spring. The plan was to do one level with wine cap mushroom (Stropharia reguso anullata) and the other with oyster mushroom, so why not try using a wild strain of the readily available oyster mushrooms? We can save money and diversify the fungal genetics on the homestead while doing a food harvesting task we would probably do anyway.

Now to be fair, I’m not totally sure this will turn out to be a good way to propagate mushrooms, but everyone I’ve talked to who has tried it similar ways has said it usually works if you put parts like these in mulched garden beds and such. So I’m fairly confident I’ll get at least some mushroom growth from this, particularly as I jammed a lot of mushroom “butts” in there.

For the other berm, we’re planning to propagate wine cap mycelium on grain, sawdust, and cardboard and insert a large amount in the coming weeks, as well as inoculate the mulch around a number of perennials.

Hope it works!

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