Friday, April 9, 2010

Fun with Fungi!...Mushroom Madness...Shitake Wacky!

Over the past few months at BV, I've heard vague references to "when we start growing our mushrooms!" Of course I asked a few questions, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that the mushroom mystery was resolved.

Margaret and Salem took a class from Randy Bettini of Bettini Farms in Brown Summit ( check out the Bettini oyster mushroom) a few months ago, ordered their spawn and wax and a search for fresh poplar and oak logs began, not too skinny, not too fat...

Our friend Eddie Matthews scored the logs, delivering them on a cold morning to Beta Verde. The next week, I arrived back at Beta Verde to find the logs in a very different state.

Margaret and Salem had already dipped the ends in warm cheese wax (I hope no one was planning to use that crock pot again!), sealing any all open cuts on the logs. The next two steps were drilling and stuffing. Under Salem's guidance, I learned how to drill the holes in the logs, using the power drill (and wearing safety goggles, of course) with a special drill bit that only drilled an inch or two deep into the wood. We then filled each hole with a mushroom spore/saw dust mixture ( There are many varieties of shitake mushroom spawn - BV chose Chocoluv and WW70). The holes were then sealed with wax.

Once the wax dried, we stacked the inoculated logs like Lincoln Logs and left them to grow! Though the mushrooms won't be ready until the fall, Margaret and Salem will be checking in on them throughout the summer and hoping for a successful inaugural mushroom crop at Beta Verde!

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