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Digital Subscriptions > Hobby Farms > May/June 19 > materials for MUSHROOMS

materials for MUSHROOMS

If you think logs are the only way to grow your own gourmet mushrooms, think again.

Growing mushrooms is an area of food production that intrigues and mystifies the home grower. While mushrooms are treated like a vegetable in our kitchens, their cultivation is like nothing that comes out of our gardens. Mushroom cultivation can be particularly appealing to sustainabilityconscious farmers wanting to complete a closed-loop system of production. In the farm ecosystem, fungi play an important role of decomposing materials and providing nutrients to other organisms. When that fungi is also an edible mushroom and the material it decomposes (the substrate) is part of our waste stream, that can make growing them even more exciting.

“A lot of things that we throw out are cellulose-based that many mushrooms can degrade into compost,” says Willie Crosby, co-founder of Fungi Ally, a mushroom farm in Hadley, Massachusetts, which grows mushrooms for sale and educational purposes including agricultural waste products, such as soy-bean hulls and sawdust, and materials found in the home, such as cardboard and baby diapers — yes, baby diapers.

“We typically feel comfortable growing mushrooms on these things,” Crosby says. “The only thing to be concerned about when growing mushrooms is heavy metals because mushrooms hyperaccumulate heavy metals.”

If you want to start growing mushrooms, think beyond log culture, which, while popular, can be labor and resource intensive. Instead, turn to one of the following substrates for cultivating your own “mushroom garden.”

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Hobby Farms May/June 2019, High Tunnel Irrigation Options, Rural Living for Pleasure and Profit, For your Animals Best Health, Poison IVY Prevention & Tips, And More....