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

Turkey tails

Turkey tail mushroom on a shiitake log.My mushroom identification skills are sub-par, but I know for a fact that this little guy shouldn't be growing out of the side of one of my shiitake logs.  I'm pretty sure it's a turkey tail, which is a medicinal species and a useful decomposer of fallen logs.  Unfortunately, the turkey tail's presence means that the shiitake spawn probably lost the battle for that log.

We're still relatively new to mushroom cultivation, and losing a few logs to invasions of wild fungi is pretty normal.  Nevertheless, we'll take some steps to keep our other logs turkey-tail-free.  It's good for our logs to be close to the ground for humidity, but we've propped them up on metal pipes to prevent direct contact.  After all, as I learned this winter, the soil is jam-packed with fungi.

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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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I just came over from Achorn farm blog. I happened upon your mushroom post. I am seriously interested in mushroom culitvation. If you have any time I would love some tips about how you got started. I have been considering log innoculation or indoor growing. Logs seem easier in the sense that you can innoculate them and leave them but the indoor seems more complicated but a quicker result. Do you have any advice for an new interested mushroom cultivator?
Comment by Amy Sun Feb 28 10:12:40 2010

Thanks for dropping by!

We haven't tried indoor cultivation --- we don't have lots of space indoors and don't want to spend all the money on creating lab-like sterile conditions. So I can only recommend outdoor cultivation at the moment. :-)

We've tried oyster mushrooms and shiitakes, and are also trying morels and king stropharia (aka winecap) this year. Oyster mushrooms are by far the easiest, and you can grow them on almost anything (logs, wood chips, junk mail, etc.) Also, we're about 50% of the way to figuring out how to propagate them so that we don't have to buy the spawn, and have discovered that oysters are the easiest to propagate. We also have found that we like their taste best. It's an all around win-win!

To get started, I'd buy some plug spawn and put it in logs. That's pretty failsafe and relatively cheap. After you get some logs established, you can start figuring out how to propagate them to expand them into anything else you want.

Comment by anna Sun Feb 28 10:21:57 2010

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