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starting up log cultures

Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
With cooler weather on the way, I have mushrooms on the brain...

Just put in an order through Fungi Perfecti for plug (dowel) spawn. Ended up getting some of each of the eight types they have available.
http://fungiperfecti.com/plugs/plugs.html

This should be enough to try out three to five 3-4 foot logs for each species, that way we can see what we like and what does well here.

I'll be taking down a dozen or so oaks and a couple of doug fir tomorrow that are in the right size range (6-12" trunks) which should give me more than enough wood for this round of experiments. I'll let the cut wood age a week or two and then innoculate with the plug spawn.

Has anyone here tried growing the Turkey Tail mushrooms?  This will be my first experience with them and I'm curious about others experiences.  The customer rep at FP recommended to keep them away from the other species.


"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
Thanks hvala.  I have the first two books by Paul Stamets.  I have not yet splurged for Mycelium Running.  It's on my list for next year.

At this point I'm more curious regarding other home/amateur growers experiences with the Turkey Tail (and other species).
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I just got out my old mushroom logs and started moistening them after a long period of ignoring them.  Looks like something is growing around the plugs, but I don't know if it's anything I want.  I moved the logs to my aquaponics area and put them in a leaky tub.  I'm moistening them with fish tank water.  They're logs for Chicken of the Woods, Shiitake, and Oyster.


Idle dreamer

Franklin Stone


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 152

Turkey Tail fruiting by frankenstoen, on Flickr

Turkey tail are easy to grow. I grew the above on sawdust blocks from a specimen I collected in the wild and cloned. Turkey Tail is incredibly aggressive and it decomposes wood at a frighteningly fast rate.
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
Hi Frankenstoen - beautiful picture!  I'm glad to hear you had good luck with the Turkey Tail.  Cloned from the wild, even!  Did you excise part of the fruiting body or use a piece of the mycelium for propagating the culture?

From the picture background, it looks like the blocks are in a tent type set-up.  How heavy is the spore load from Turkey Tail?  Hopefully not as bad as Oyster types...
Thank you!
Franklin Stone


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 152
I cloned to agar from a fruiting body. It's a very aggressive fungus, so cloning to cardboard is probably fairly easy too.

My fruiting chamber was outdoors at the time. The weather was quite dry, so I used the plastic tent with a humidifier to bring up humidity.

I would estimate that the spore load is greater than oysters, as the fruiting body is much slower growing and longer-lived, but I didn't really notice - I was growing Reishi at the same time and I was overwhelmed by its massive amount of chocolate-powder-like spores. (The Turkey Tail spores are whitish and less noticeable.)

This is a photo of the bottom of a sawdust block that had been removed from its plastic bag and was sitting on plastic shelves - hence the rectangular pattern. Every possible surface is turned into a spore-launching surface:


pore surface by frankenstoen, on Flickr

More pictures of Turkey Tail here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankenstoen/sets/72157618167582738/with/3643216358/
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
Very interesting and more nice pictures!

I'm pretty well set on getting set up for outdoor production.  I keep thinking that it would be nice to set up some small block buildings for environmentally controlled conditions, but the heavy spore load for some of the species I am most interested in seems a large net negative.

Mushrooms have so many positive aspects, I would hate to risk becoming reactive to some of them by forcing their growth in to artificial conditions.

Outdoor culture using chip/branch beds and above and below ground log culture seems the most attractive.
Franklin Stone


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 152
Southwest Oregon is a very nice climate for outdoor production of mushrooms.

There are a lot of drawbacks to raising fungi indoors. The high humidity needed means that the structure must be built of materials that won't corrode or rot. The temperature requirements mean that heating may be needed in winter and cooling needed in summer, meaning fossil-fuel inputs. The fresh air requirements (6-12 air changes per hour) mean fans running constantly. The spore load in a closed environment is a serious health hazard.

Ironically, your climate is well suited for indoor production using cheap hoop-house structures made from plastic and steel. In climates with greater temperature swings, the costs go up greatly. After a lot of research, I really think that the only practical indoor solution in a climate such as we have here in Ohio is to build an underground vault out of masonry or concrete (which has a huge start-up cost.)

A compromise for your climate might be to build shadehouses out of natural materials. A structure like this could help hold humidity during the summer and heat during the winter in a fairly mild climate. Check out the Shiitake Cultivation Handbook and the Oyster Cultivation Handbook discussed at this thread: http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/5543_0/fungi-/fungi-cultivation-resources for some pictures of "hut" structures used in third world countries for mushroom growing that are built out of natively found materials. While such structures lack permanence, they do blend into the surrounding landscape with grace and are biodegradable.
                          


Joined: Apr 12, 2011
Posts: 36
frankenstoen wrote:
Turkey tail are easy to grow. I grew the above on sawdust blocks from a specimen I collected in the wild and cloned. Turkey Tail is incredibly aggressive and it decomposes wood at a frighteningly fast rate.


hey frankenstoen, What are your thoughts on which of the more common edible/medicinal types is the fastest decomposer?  Based on what I have read it sounds like turkey tail followed by pleurotus but wondered if you had any real world opinions?  A few times I have filled bags the spawn plugs came in with sawdust from drilling the logs along with a few plugs and was amazed how quick reishi colonized the sawdust.

I am in the process of thinning a woodlot and innoculating the logs both for mushrooms and to more quickly build up forest floor duff for our forest garden so quicker is better and I already have more than enough edibles going.  Raft culture with turkey tail  amonst the trees in the garden is where I am leaning on future energies
Franklin Stone


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 152
Turkey Tail absolutely destroys the wood it is living in, in a very short period of time. Oyster does a very good job of digesting wood, but there always seems to be some leftovers for other fungi to eat. Reishi likes to "remodel" the wood - sawdust blocks colonized by Reishi are extremely durable, almost leather-like even after multiple fruitings - I couldn't even break them apart with a hammer- I had to abandon my Reishi when I moved, so I never actually saw the blocks finish decomposing.  (Shiitake like to "remodel" as well.)

The strain of Reishi that I used was a warm weather strain from the deep South and it really only fruited well during the hotter months when I was living in the Pacific Northwest. While it colonized aggressively and quickly in cooler weather it then seemed to "sleep" until the temps got into the 80's. (F) A cool weather strain might behave very differently.

In contrast, the strain of Turkey Tail I cloned was from the Pacific Northwest, so it may have been better adapted for that climate.

Reishi and Turkey Tail are both considered potent medicinals and both are easy to dry and store. In some areas they may have some economic value.
                          


Joined: Apr 12, 2011
Posts: 36
thanks frankenstoen, great info.  I actually meant turkey tail rafts above but wrote reishi for some reason (now corrected).   The info you posted on reishi has given changed my thinking somewhat though, seems like both have attributes in this application.  I am actually trying to do several things; slow sheeting of water over the cleared portion of property, build up “forest floor duff” and provide water sinks to hold excess water for release to trees when needed as a forest does.  From what you are saying turkey tail rafts seems like a shoe in for rapid buildup of duff however reishi sound best for the stacked check locks I am placing uphill of each planted tree.  I don’t really care about monetary value mostly just looking for something that does the job best is low maintenance and protects the forest garden from parasitic fungi species and something we can eat/make tea with.  I am hoping to create self perpetuating beds that each year or two I can just throw on a fresh log or two the keep things running.

A side project I just started in the forest that I have been thinning which combines log, stump and chip culture.   Stumps were inoculated with plugs from the top and a few spots in the side with maitake.   I didn’t have a lot of proper size oak logs (maitakes preferred host) on the property so took some smaller ones and hit them up with maitake plugs, once they started to run they were cut into smaller sections and placed in a dug out area exposing some roots of freshly cut apple and cherry stumps kinda like giant plugs  then covered with a mix of oak/birch/honey locust chips and mulch.  The first two stumps I did with stamets maitake but plan to do two other stumps within a close distance with other maitake strains and let them “mingle” and hopefully hybridize for a strain best suited to the site.  Maitake seems to have very aggressive mycelium also.

maitake0 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr


maitake2 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr


maitake1 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr




maitake4 by pv_agroforest, on Flickr
Franklin Stone


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 152
I found a Maitake growing on a large Honey Locust tree a few weeks ago:


Maitake by frankenstoen, on Flickr

I don't know how often this occurs but it suggests that Honey Locust could be an alternative for oak in certain cases.

I will be very interested to see how your fungi forest progresses as it is something I have been wanting to try for quite a while now.
richard valley


Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 195
Location: Sierra Nevada mountain valley CA, & Nevada high desert
We have a few acres of Fir with some pine. I'ed like to try some plug here. I'ed have to protect them from the squirrels, I'm guessing with wire. Well, soon all will be buried in snow, after the thaw.
                        


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 3
Location: ND
I am trying several log cultures in the northern plains in the spring so I have been doing some homework lately. I will try at least three varieties that are better suited for the harsh winter climates. I do plan on moving the logs into a shed and covering  for the winter months. Any thoughts on that? How about some suggestions on the varieties best for me. I have cottonwood and elm available and I plan on using the elm. Thoughts on that? Thumbs up on the fungi form.


Where the Buffalo roam
M.K. Dorje


Joined: Feb 23, 2011
Posts: 152
Location: Orgyen
As I just stated on the other mushroom-growing thread, Field and Forest Products (fieldforest.net), has lots of high quality spawn. Since they are from Wisconsin, they also have lots of good strains, books and info for cold-climate mushroom growers. Good luck!
richard valley


Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 195
Location: Sierra Nevada mountain valley CA, & Nevada high desert
Are turkey tail mushrooms edible?
Rebecca morgan


Joined: Mar 02, 2011
Posts: 12
Hi there, So I just found a couple of logs with turkey tails growing. I took two small ones and am hoping to propogate them. I just wanted to put my idea for my plan of action and see what other people think. here we go:

I am going to try spliting the log into little slivers down to where I can see the mycelium. I m then going to place the wedges on wet cardboard with a lid on and from there just keep it wet and wit to see. After I see the mycelium has taken to the cardboard I cAn make saw cuts into hardwood logs and wedge the cardboard in......

I am also going to try wedging one of those slivers of original turkey tail covered log into a crack I make in a big leaf maple stump I put a crack into with an axe..........

What do ya'll think. I have read about all these really sterile environments for propogating mushrooms but I just can't believe that sterilization and grow kits are the only way to go.

I also hope that this works so I can try cultivating oyster mushrooms I wild gather and any others I caan find.

thanks for helping this noobie out
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
selfhealed - it sounds like a plan worth trying to me.

in addition to splitting the log in to slivers, if it is possible, it may be worth cutting across the grain to make "rounds", as well. these can be placed in between other sections of recently cut logs like a vertical sandwich. Securing wedges of the fruiting turkey tail logs in to cut out pieces of recently cut logs should also work in a similar fashion.

I found some wild growing turkey tails on our property a few weeks back, too. I am trying to let the fully mature (and spread as many spores as possible) before I use the wood to propagate them further
here is link to the picture:
http://wellheeledhills.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/wild-turkey-tail-mushrooms-3-1-12.jpg
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
richard valley wrote:Are turkey tail mushrooms edible?

Hi Richard - they are not your typical culinary type mushroom. They are tough and leathery/woody, depending on the stage of maturity. Most folks use the mushrooms (or an extract of the mycelium if growing them for commerical purposes) to make a tea by boiling for some time. Do a google search and check out all the medicinal purposes that they have been used for over the years...
Rebecca morgan


Joined: Mar 02, 2011
Posts: 12
Thanks so much Kay Bee, I think the rounds is a great idea! I also appreciate you mentioning waiting to take the mycelium out of the forst once they have had a chance to do their thang. Woo Hoo !!!Does it matter if the log I try and innoculate is fresh cut should I wait?
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
I hope it works out for us both!

the instructions for the plug spawn that I used from Fungi Perfecti last fall stated that it was best to inoculate logs that had been cut at least a couple weeks prior, but not too long (more than a couple months, if I recall correctly). I think it was to allow the natural anti-fungal properties in the wood to degrade or inactivate.

Good luck and i hope you post some pictures of your efforts and success - I'm curious what general part of the world you are in, if you are willing to share the info.
Willy Kerlang


Joined: Apr 29, 2011
Posts: 106
I notice in the pics of those plugs that you are leaving the plugs half out of the wood. Is that how you are supposed to do it? I bought some mail order a couple of years ago and drilled holes in a log so that they went all the way in. Nothing ever happened. Of course that could have been due to a multitude of factors. These were shitake plugs, I believe.
Rebecca morgan


Joined: Mar 02, 2011
Posts: 12
OK kay Bee, or anyone else interested/ with something to say............ I reinvented my plans due to a wonderful happenstance.. So I found 7 felled trees by a beaver who left wood chips I gathered and carried off to home base. I took card board box #1 and shredded egg cartons cardboaard and beaver chips mixed together with chunks of the log cultured with Turkey Tail mycellium. Covered all that with more beaver chips and put the box in a tote that collects the rain water up to a certain point that doesn't submerge the box but allows moisture to soak up and me to be able to teter toater the boxes so as to be able to moisten the whole box. Box #2 I took and layereed beaver chips then place cardboard layers that I had peeled open to expose the corragated innereds. I placed both the mycellium log chunks and fruiting turkey tail mushrooms in between each of the splits then layered again with beaver chips. This box was placed in the same tote explained before in shade that lasts all day except the last hours of when the sun is so far west it peaks around the house.
I dont know what I am doing..... if there is to much water, or any other number of conditions that could e alterd to improve the chances of the mycellium spreading to the rest of the "food" I provided.
What's up?
by the way Kay Bee,
Im north of you just east of vancouver WA
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
selfhealed - sounds like an interesting experiment. Any idea what types of trees the chips are from?

If you can try and keep the chips from being dripping wet, I think you will increase your chances of success. Are the boxes or tote sealed? If so, I'd suggest providing an opening or other way to get aeration to the substrate (chips/cardboard/etc). It shouldn't need a lot of aeration, but sealing it tightly probably wouldn't be best.

One other thought is the risk of contamination or competing organisms taking over the chips. If you look up above at Franklin's pictures of the turkey tail growing on the sawdust blocks, I am assuming they were sterilized in some way (heat and pressure, most likely), before adding the turkey tail mycelium or spawn.

Starting with non-sterilized wood may work just fine with an aggressive organism like turkey tail, but I think it may have a reduced chance of success as compared to starting with sterilized substrate.

It will be interesting to see how it works out!

Thanks for sharing your general location - sounds like we are on a similar seasonal timeline.


Willy - I am assuming the plugs that were not fully inserted in the pictures were for illustration purposes for the picture (some all the way in, some partially in, some just placed in the drilled holes). they should definitely be hammered in to the logs all the way.

Rebecca morgan


Joined: Mar 02, 2011
Posts: 12
I believe the chips are cottonwood....
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
sounds like a good soft wood source - hopefully you will be able to see some growth of mycelium within a few weeks.

I need to get out and check my log cultures to see if there is any activity after the last couple of warm days. Since I used Oregon white oak for the majority of my log cultures (I used Doug-fir for the phoenix oyster and chicken of the woods), I'm not sure if I will get any fruiting activity out of them this spring, or not. It may take until longer in the year for most of the strains. I am hopeful that the more aggressive types like the turkey tail and oysters will start to bear within the next month or so.
 
 
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