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Low tech mushroom cultivation

As Mark mentioned last week, our favorite part of the Organic Growers School was the two talks we attended led by Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain.  Even though Tradd runs a big operation, supplying spawn both retail and wholesale and testing out fascinating fungal partnerships in the lab, he really understands what the little guy is looking for --- simple, low tech techniques we can use to grow mushrooms in our backyard.

For example, while most people will tell you to carefully drill holes, pound in your plug spawn, and paint over the holes with beeswax, Tradd says that you'll get nearly as good results in much less time by cutting two inch deep gashes in logs with your chainsaw, pushing in (cheaper) grain or sawdust spawn with your hands, and then waxing over the holes.  Everyone else tells you to inoculate your logs in late winter, but Tradd says if you've got freshly cut wood, go ahead and throw spawn in it --- you won't get quite as good survival rates, but why waste the wood?

This week's lunchtime series pulls together the most relevant information from Tradd's talks, but I highly recommend that you visit his website to download more in-depth mushroom cultivation handouts, to watch his tight and entertaining mushroom videos, to buy spawn specialized for the southeast, or to sign up for his mushroom cultivation workshops (a bargain even at the $150 price.)  I know I sound like a paid advertiser here, but the truth is that Mark and I both fell in love with Tradd's passion, knowledge, and independence, and have decided he's our new fungal guru.

This post is part of our Low Tech Mushroom Cultivation lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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