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

Morel and King Stropharia beds

In addition to suggesting ways to make our mushroom log operation lower tech, Tradd also had hints to create morel and king stropharia beds that actually work.  I've dabbled in both of these species, but have barely gotten any fruit, so my next attempt will use the much more specific techniques advocated by Mushroom Mountain.  (I stole the images here from their website, where you can go for more information and to buy spawn.)

How to build a morel bed

Morels are one of the toughest mushroom species to grow, but Tradd has a lot of luck when he locates his beds in a damp, shady area near one of the trees morels associate with (tulip-trees, ash, cottonwood, etc.)  Make a 4 foot by 4 foot by 8 inch bed by layering wet newspapers; a mixture of soaked hardwood sawdust, wheat bran, and shredded leaves topped with one cup of pelletized lime; another layer of wet newspaper; a mixture of peat moss, sand, and lime with a pH of 7.5 to 8.0; 4 cups of spawn; then one to two inches of leaves or wheat straw.  Water the bed to keep it moist for two months, then water once a month until winter hits.  If you've followed these instructions to the letter, you should collect your homegrown morels in the spring.

King stropharia bed

King Stropharia mushroomI'm a bit daunted by the complexity of the morel bed, but I think that we can tweak our king stropharia methodology and actually get a crop from this species.  The trick here seems to be using layers of cardboard to seal the moisture into the bed.  In a shady spot, put down a layer of wet cardboard, then sprinkle on a bit of King Stropharia spawn.  Add three inches of hardwood chips or compost and mix in more spawn.  Lay down a sheet of wet cardboard or newspaper, punching or tearing holes so that water will be able to pass through to the chips below, then sprinkle on spawn and add three more inches of wood chips/spawn mixture.  Finally, mulch with straw or leaves.  The tricky part is remembering to water --- every day for a week, every other day for the next three weeks, then once a month if you don't get rain.

I have to admit that just writing out these directions makes me lean toward focusing most of our efforts on low-work oyster mushrooms.  But it's never good to put all of your eggs in one basket (and I like a challenge), so I might try at least another king stropharia bed this year, if not a morel bed.

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This post is part of our Low Tech Mushroom Cultivation 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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In which month I should make my bed??
Comment by Piyush Bhalala Mon May 4 01:03:39 2015

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