Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mushroom Madness

Sorry folks! I know I am behind with blogging - and I will try to make up, as there is quite a bit
to blog about. So let me start with the Shiitake Workshop which we held here at STARworks.

It was cold and pouring rain outside, but that didn't stop about 45 people showing up for the workshop. Greg Bender and Mr. Iyobar Osagie from NCA&T ran the workshop, and Hugh Martin helped them out. Greg has grown mushrooms for 7 some years now, and we sold his Shiitakes through our CSA last season. NC A&T supplies free spore to those workshop participants who want to start a small 200 log Shiitake operation. If you are interested, contact your local Agriculture Agent and inquire about NC A&T workshops or about getting the spawn.
 I was extremely pleased with the crowd that we drew on such a dreary day.
It looked like everyone had fun learning something new, inoculating a log or two to take home, and making a few new contacts. Some of the participants seemed eager to try and start the 200 log mushroom production this spring. I am still on the fence, as time is running out, and there are soooooo many things in the works in the garden, still...

Here we're all patiently waiting 
for the workshop to start.
Demo on drilling and plugging.
Oh yes, there was a lot of drilling.
Filling the holes with mushroom spawn.
Spawn is sawdust inoculated with spore.
NC A&T is working with many different
strains of Shiitake's and Oyster mushrooms.
After the holes are filled they have 
to be covered with wax to keep out
any invasive mushroom species.

Then the logs have to be kept in a dappled sunlight, semi shade. They don't require a lot of work after the initial plugging, just an occasional watering when there is drought. If you plug at the right time - which is preferably February, early March, you can expect your first "blooming" - or mushroom crop in the fall. Once the mushrooms are poking out from the logs it's a matter of picking them in timely manner. Sometimes it's a matter of few hours...
Good luck to everyone who came!
Thanks Greg for giving up your Saturday, for bringing tools, conducting the workshop and assisting everyone!
Thanks Hugh for dropping in and helping out big time!
Thanks to STARworks Glass Studio for lending space - and everyone who jumped in to clean up afterwards! 
Looks like we may be doing this again next year!

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