The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to Cultivate Edible Mushrooms for Free, Part 3

Stem butt of a morelTechnique 2: Producing spawn from stem butts

An alternative to starting with spores is to start with stem butts.  This technique works well for morels and oyster mushrooms and allows you to clone a mushroom strain.  (Using spores allows "cross-pollination" (not really, but close enough) similar to how gathering seeds from butternut squash grown near a pumpkin would result in a new variety.)

First, gather your mushroom carefully, being sure to pull up the bulbous base and a bit of the root/hair-like growth branching out from the base of the mushroom --- this area is called the stem butt.  Cut the stem where it begins to narrow above the butt and discard the top (aka, eat it).  The stem butt can then be used to make spawn in several ways, the ones I'm most interested in being....

This post is part of our How to Cultivate Mushrooms for Free lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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