Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mushroom Farming

Another activity that caught my attention...    Homegrown Edible Mushrooms.  Oyster, Shiitake, Button, Portabella/Crimini....  i love all food, and mushrooms are no exception...

So i am getting some research time in.

In my Pinetree catalog there is a company called Fungi Perfecti, who i might do some ordering from if i decide to start this project.  They seem to have a decent price setting and somewhat more conservative atmosphere.  There are other places that are a little different, they sell stuff to grow any mushroom, but you have to make up your own kits and they aren't really helpful... they also seem to (though they deny it) be prepared to set you up to grow hallucinogenic types of shrooms.
I ran into the same annoying atmosphere when i was looking into growing my tropical collectors' plants and maybe some garden veggies under grow lights in the basement (i was hoping to find a way to have a greenhouse environment in the winter without an actual greenhouse since i don't have the  money or hubby's blessing to build one-poor guy) . The only places i found with much info on growing things under lights and hydroponics were pothead sites for growing weed.  So that was annoying. I was loathe to join any forums related to the seller's sites because that is simply not a facet of culture i felt a desire to be part of.

I did also notice that there are a few different methods of growing the mushrooms. Some of the shabbier (gurneys, etc.) seed catalog companies state that the boxed mushroom kits can be placed in the sink cabinet and grown there. The mushroom growing sites that appear more reputable seem to be saying that the sink area is totally not recommended.
There is also a mushroom growing lingo that i need to get a handle on before i buy anything so  i know what i am getting into. There are also the scientific concepts to grasp, remember high school biology?

There is one place i liked the setups they sell, Mushbox and though they may deny it,  they well aware of what mushroom grower they cater to. Their page header shows a cow in a field of mushrooms. Growing up rural, surrounded by cow pastures, i am well aware of where and in what, at least one type of psychedelic shrooms grow.  So, i'm not sure that this Christian woman wants to buy from them and i can imagine what their associated Forum is like.

Unfourtunately Fungi Perfecti is also light on beginners' information at their site. They do give basic descriptions of their kits, but i like more detailed info than that. I want to know what instructions i have to follow so i can plan where to carry out the project, how time consuming the hobby is, the longevity of the kit, if i can culture the spores and transfer them outdoors once the box kit is spent, i want to know if the different types of edible mushrooms can be dried in my dehydrator and stored how and for how long,  i want to know if the amount of fungi i harvest from them can compete price wise with the grocery store. I also want enough information so that i can decide if i have good luck with one kit, if it is possible to expand to multiple kits and if i can do it all on my mini, portable greenhouse. Because if so, that means i need to buy another since i plan on using the current greenhouse to hold my wintersowing project.

So i googled and fiddled with the search terms and i found this company Mushroom Adventures, they are pricier than Fungi Perfecti but they have their kit instructions on their website right here!  This is exactly what i was looking for to start. So for the next few hours or days- depending on time between other things i must do, i will be studying and familiarizing myself with the jargon and concepts with those preliminary pages.

....and i did find another article hidden among Fungi Perfecti's pages : Maximizing spent kits. This is exactly the info i was looking for to supplement the above Instruction Sheets.  So, it looks like i can use the remains of the mushroom boxes to start outdoor mushroom colonies.  There are a few areas in the yard that i may actually be able to put mushroom patches/logs/structures, its a pretty exciting concept.   The mushroom kits are not cheap and it means that the money spent for the kit in the winter/fall can be used for another purpose and i won't necessarily have to buy another product to try growing them outside. It also means that if i get a disappointing results from the boxes, they may have a second, more successful life if the material is set outside.

I may have to save up and buy another portable greenhouse...

...and this article looks quite promising....