welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Thursday, December 17, 2015

mushroom update...

It's been a month since we started the oyster mushrooms and I've been keeping a loose eye on them. Today I thought I'd take an updated photo to show how well the mycelium is taking over the straw.

But then as I checked more of the bags...

I think there will be mushrooms for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


The latest new, big experimental project here on the farm is mushrooms. I tried a very small batch of these a couple years ago and it went well. So the time finally seemed right to work on a bit of a larger scale.

What we have here is a bag of grey dove oyster mushroom spawn growing on grain, as it came from the spawn farm.

These oyster mushrooms will grow on straw in plastic sleeves. The first step is to chop the straw into small pieces (we used a leaf vacuum - noisy, but effective), then pasteurize it. We did this by using a sterilized stock tank and really hot water, letting it soak for an hour. We also added hydrated lime to adjust the ph of the straw to give the oyster mushrooms an advantage over any stray fungus that might have been around.

Next, we spread the straw out on a clean table to cool off.

Then added the grain spawn.

 Next, the bags were stuffed with the straw/spawn combo.
(intern Machelle stuffing bags on a warm fall day)

The bags were closed with zip ties and hung in the greenhouse. Oysters like growing in light rather than the dark and manure of button mushrooms.

 Holes were poked into the bags to allow for  a bit of air exchange.

 And here's what it looks like now.

I'll post photo updates as the spawn fills the bag. If the spawn fills the bag. If we didn't totally screw this up. 

My heartfelt and abundant thanks to intern Machelle for all her hard work this fall; planting seedlings, weeding, hoop house building, harvesting, mushroom making, and all the other things she pitched in and helped with. Your energy, enthusiasm, and good company were much appreciated!

Speaking of interns, I'll be posting a notice here soon about internship positions opening up for next year.