GROWING MUSHROOMS IN EARTHSHIPS
Edible and medicinal mushrooms are an excellent food source and addition to a healthy diet. Mushrooms are very nutritious for the body. Also mushrooms are fat and cholesterol-free and they are low in calories. More over mushrooms are the only non-animal food source that contains vitamin D. Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (panto- thenic acid), B7 (Biotin) and B9 (folate). They are a good source of import- ant minerals such as copper, potassium & selenium.

Mushrooms can very easily be grown in any home, by purchasing mushroom growing kits at your local nursery or gardening store, or order-ing them online. These are normally a bag of mushroom spawn inoculated sawdust that, when watered produce mushrooms, that can be grown in any kitchen. These are great kits for children to grow.

Earthships located in a dry climate, are more conducive to growing mushrooms, because not only can one grow the afore mentioned mushroom kits, but one can also grow mushrooms on logs and stumps placed in the interior grey water planters, as one would grow them outside. Outdoors in northern climates, one can only grow mushrooms during the warmer months, but in Earthships, one can grow mushrooms on stumps and logs all year long no matter where your Earthship is located.

If it is instant gratification that one is be after, then the spawn inoculated sawdust kits would be the way to go. Mushroom kits are easy and quick and come with easy directions to follow, so we will not be covering this method here.

Growing mushrooms on stumps and logs however involves some work and an investment of time and patience, but the results are more long term, and very rewarding.

Firstly it is a good idea to do some research. The first step is to know what type of hardwoods are available in ones area, as most medicinal and edible mushrooms grow on hard-woods.

Late Winter and early Spring is the best time to cut the stumps or logs, as this is when they have the highest concentration of sugars in their sap, which is what the mycelium will feed on while it is colonizing the stumps or logs. Get freshly cut stumps or logs of oak, cottonwood, aspen or whatever hardwoods are most abundantly available. Stumps should be no more than 14 inches in diameter. Logs should be about 4 to 6 inches in diameter and about 3 feet long. Once the stumps or logs have been cut, they need to sit for about 3 weeks or a little more, so the natural defense mechanism that all trees have, that prevent fungi from growing on them while they are alive, can die. This usually happens after three weeks after the tree has been cut down. Do not use stumps or logs that have been dead or cut down for more than three months, as they will have dried out too much and may not have enough nutrition left to feed the mycelium. They may also already be colonized by other mushroom spore.

In the three weeks while waiting for the logs to “sea- son”, order plug spawn from Fungi Perfecti at www. fungi.com. These are 1 inch dowel rods that have a spiral groove carved around them which has been inoculated with mushroom spore. They come in a package of 100. These come with specific instructions on how to inoculate the logs/stumps . One uses a 5/16 drill bit to drill 1.5 inch holes into the wood. In the case of stumps, the holes are drilled into the face of the stump about a inch to an inch and a half from the bark in the heart wood around the circumference of the stumps face, about 2 inches apart. In the case of logs, one drills the inch and a half deep holes in a diamond lattice design, around the entire log. The inoculated grooved dowel pugs are then hammered into the holes with a rubber mallet. The holes with the plug spawn inside are then sealed with molten bees wax. The cut faces of the logs and stumps also need to be sealed with molten bees or cheese or non gmo soy wax, to prevent the logs from drying out while they are being colonized by the mycelium. This takes 6 to 12 months, so it is best to place your inoculated logs/stumps on another log or on a tray, in the grey water planter and just top water them when you water your planter. They should not touch the soil, otherwise they may start to rot.

Once 6-9 months have passed, one can check for colonization signs on the cut faces of the logs./stumps, under the wax. One may see darker intersecting dark circle like designs under the wax in the wood.

At this point one needs to initiate the fruiting by submerging the logs/stumps in a vat or barrel of rainwater, or lay them in a stream or outdoor cistern for 48 plus hours. This length of time will be determined by how dry one’s climate is. In northern New Mexico at Earthship Head- quarters, we submerge the logs/stumps for about 4 days, sometimes more, as the climate here is high desert and the air is very dry, which is not conducive to growing mushrooms.

This soaking is what simulates the Fall rains that initiate forest mushrooms to fruiting. The logs and stumps imbibe the water from the stream or cistern and become water logged. The logs/stumps are then removed from the water and placed in their shady spot in the grey water planter inside an Earthship, not in direct sun. Keep water- ing the logs/stumps when watering the plants and food growing in the grey water planters. In a few days to 2 weeks, mush-rooms will start growing out of the logs/ stumps. The fruiting flush will continue for about a week to 2 weeks and then decrease. Trim the full grown mush- rooms from the logs/stumps and prepare them to eat.

The logs/stumps then need to be left again to rest, for the mycelium to keep colonizing the logs/stumps. Every 3 months or so, one can reinitiate the logs/stumps by put- ting them in rainwater again for a few days, and repeating the process. This can be done for about a period of 2 years after the initial inoculation.
These flushes of fruiting mushrooms are most prolific

initially and do lessen over the 2 year period. One can get huge flushes of delicious mushrooms to eat and dehydrate for later use.

We have grown Pearl Oyster mushrooms and Shiitake Mushrooms that taste so much better than store bought ones. They also grow much larger. The Pearl Oyster mushrooms have a similar taste and texture but better than chicken. The Shiitakes have a taste and texture similar to, but better than red meat.

The best way to prepare them is to brush them clean with a soft brush and slice them, saute them in olive oil and butter or ghee with garlic. Just when ready, drizzle them with tamari and serve. very delicious and nutritious!