Some weeks ago, two friends and I pooled our resources and invited a local permaculture expert for a consultation. We're all trying to redo our yards and gardens to be more edible and sustainable.
As our little group walked our property, we talked about various plant options. However, it was the shade -- yes, really, the SHADE -- which really excited the consultant. He found it ideal for considering... mushroom culture! I smiled politely, and kept taking notes on my clipboard because, of course, I didn't know the first thing about how to proceed with that variety of, er, crop. When I learned that he was offering a 'shroom workshop, I signed myself up, taking TruffulaBoy the Elder with me for good measure.
My son and I were quick converts. The workshop began with Paul Stamets' TED Talk on "6 ways mushrooms can save the world. (If you've got 18 minutes to spare on this, it's worth your time.) What an eye-opener! After a short discussion on mushroom basics, we headed outside to make mushroom logs to take home.
Now, we wait. Our log, impregnated with oyter mushroom spawn, has a special place in the back yard, nestled on a pallet. Yes, it is resting in the shade. It's way too early to expect any visible signs of 'shroomy goodness. Those are months away. Still, I cast an expectant eye its way when I visit the adjacent compost piles.
The next part of this project is putting in a mushroom patch or two. Those will be on the ground, using hardwood chips.
If you want to see more immediate results, or try your hand at indoor mushroom culture, the Back to the Roots Mushroom Garden Kit will get mushrooms onto your plate in days, rather than months. An enviro-bonus is that its made using recycled coffee grounds. Green Phone Booth readers can sweeten the deal with coupon code mushrooms4me10 for 10% off the kit price, and free shipping if you buy two or more.
Stay tuned for more on our ongoing garden adventures!