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.