In mushroom cultivation I have found many new things that bring me joy
Mushroom cultivation? Why not try it myself! Writings of MycoMedica Ltd. convinced me. I decided to grow oyster mushrooms. After a year of experience, I have found that the path from ordering the substrate to eating the mushrooms is the fastest as well as the safest with oyster mushrooms. I had ordered a substrate for oyster mushrooms and received it via mail delivery. I will not specifically write that I was amazed at the package and its white contents. When I mixed the contents with boiled straw, I got some weird looks from my family. My family members thought something is wrong with me, because they had never heard of mushrooms grown in bags, much less seen any. I put the bag in a warm place and waited. This period was very interesting as I was waiting in anticipation. When I noticed the smell of mushrooms through the holes in the bag, I was really excited. Indeed! After three weeks, some white spots appeared, peeking through the holes. They were far from resembling mushrooms. However, in a couple of days, the oyster mushrooms began to gain their characteristic grey-white appearance. Marvellous!
When cultivating shiitake mushrooms on wood, I almost gave up, because I had waited for 14 months and there was still no sign of mushrooms. A phone call to MycoMedica Ltd. solved the problem by suggesting submerging the logs into water for two days. I installed a sprinkler above the logs and sprayed them every day! But that was not enough, because apparently, the logs were still dry on the inside. Then I ‘dunked’ them into a 200 l barrel and after two days put them back to their place again. After a day or two, the whole family was excited about the small ‘newborns’ that were peeking out of the logs. I did not know what shiitake looked like. When we prepared them, we figured out that by taste we could easily confuse them with porcini mushrooms. They are delicious! We cook them on olive oil and, in the end, add a bit of parsley.
These are the highlights of my life with mushrooms. Really beautiful experiences, however, many times also painful. The words that I would emphasise: cleanliness, temperature, proper moisture.
For me, mycelium overgrowing the substrate – a snow-white blanket, is something most beautiful in this interesting hobby I am not giving up.
Sobetinci, 12 September 2013, Mirko PRELOG
How I started cultivating mushrooms
Andrej is the one that got me into mushroom cultivation and I am not sorry I listened to him. It is true that mushrooms can also be picked in the forest, but the excitement of anticipation when the inoculated log will have its first harvest, is great. We ate the first mushrooms with a special respect and pleasure, and happily told everybody that was willing to listen about our success.
Oyster and shiitake mushrooms were our first ‘guinea pigs’. We prepared suitable surfaces for their growth, chopped up fresh beech trunks into one-metre-long and about 10-cm-thick logs. Holes were drilled at a distance of about ten cm (with a number 7 drill bit) and hyphae-inoculated plugs inserted into them.
We stacked the logs in a humid and shaded spot and during the year, when it was most hot and dry, we were watering them very much like lettuce in the garden, and waited and waited. When we almost gave up and moved or even threw some of the logs on the ground, the mushrooms ‘awoke’ and cheered us up. Taking pictures was necessary, as it always is with new events. Only then we cut them off and ate them slowly and with pleasure, like a great treasure.
Many thanks to Andrej for showing us a new world of cultivated mushrooms, which make a great supplement to all kinds of food. However, my wife would know more about that. You should try it as well. You will not regret it!
Prof. Mihael J. Toman, November 2013
|Mycelium-inoculated beech logs stacked in a shaded and humid spot||After a year, oyster mushrooms started to grow||Shiitake, pretty and delicious mushroom, grew more shyly|