I have a couple of mushroom projects going on.
Shiitake – I am on my second round of growing Shiitakes that I ordered from 100th Monkey Mushroom Farm. I had been wanting to try growing them for a couple of reasons. They grow well indoors, I am using Shiitake all the time in my homemade ramen noodle soup and what a conversation piece!
I ended up ordering from this company because I loved the tutorial videos with Jim on their YouTube channel. The Shiitake video gives tips on getting 3 full growing rounds out of the block which costs $33 (before shipping) for an estimated total harvest of 2-3 lbs.
My first round with the Shiitake blocks (I ordered and grew two of them) resulted in 10.2 oz fairly split between the two.
Time will tell and I am looking forward to the third round when I will layer the block medium along with straw into a plastic planter with holes drilled in the sides for the final opportunity to grow and harvest.
Before I started this project I made note of what I was purchasing Shiitakes for ($1.10 oz) to compare my $33 investment to the retail costs. I have a ways to go to make this project actually be a money saver, but it has been fun and I know the mushrooms I am enjoying are fresh, well grown and harvested within 5 days of use making the monetary aspect more of a fun side project.
Next on my list to try are the Elm Oyster Mushrooms from this same company. As soon as I figure out which recipes to use them in, I will be ordering a box kit.
Morels – my other mushroom project is one that mushroom enthusiasts have long thought impossible – cultivating morels! These elusive and highly prized forage mushrooms have proven impossible to cultivate for decades, but a couple of companies believe they have cracked the code and are now selling morel spawn along with cultivating instructions.
This is more of a long term project since the instructions specify that real production is not expected until the second spring after bed preparations. I purchased my kits from Gourmet Mushrooms and I started two 4 square foot beds about 20 feet apart to try this for myself. I grew up hunting morels in spring and have found them at the Farmer’s Market selling for upwards of $20 lb. in the past few years. They are a wonderful, seasonal treat and the idea of harvesting them from my back yard for years to come was well worth the $33 per kit. Due to the time involved and the weekly compost feeding required, this project is not for everyone but if you are dedicated to the idea of having a ready supply of morels in an easy to harvest location, it might be worth your while.