Category Archives: mushroom

Mushrooming Fun: Stumbling towards the Light

A few years ago, Paul Stamets came into my life via a Ted Talk titled “Six Ways Mushrooms can Save the World”

This was the summer of 2005, my first summer free from College. I was living at home with my parents at the time, and decided to do as many inter library loans on the books Stamets published as I could.

His book Mycelium running awed me into becoming a believer. How intelligently organized Mycelium are as a life form is astounding, and one would be hard pressed to be disinterested in hearing Stamets speak about many of the fascinating aspects of these organisms.

As an example, here is a video of him speaking.

My passion led me to Evolver which was starting a pseudo bio-mimicry operation by calling the regional groups spores, to represent the intelligent nature of these nodal networks of people who are doing work to make the world a more beautiful place.

I then started learning what I needed to in order to grow mushrooms, and started growing Shiitake mushrooms in the summer of 2009. It was an interesting project, but failed because I didn’t make the proper drain holes. Now I am fully equipped with a huge pressure cooker, and machines to make Myco-bags. Sealed and sterilized plastic bags that can grow mushrooms of almost any variety depending on the growth medium used. I used wild bird seed (CHEAP), and so far it looks like the oyster mushrooms are loving it (Pics coming soon).
A friend of mine pointed me to MycoRiseUp, a group that wants to be an incubator for mushroom businesses. We started brainstorming how to create and run a worker owned Mushroom business and laboratory. How could we do this on the bio-regional level so that we can act appropriately in our hugely diverse eco-systems? How could we have a bio-regional myco remediation task force armed and ready to help work on toxic waste sites when they happen? Can we open-source and share our business plans to help share this new paradigm

This is the next level of things to come… smaller scale with a local and regional focus.

Mushrooming fun times on 1/1/11

Spent some time today in the kitchen lab. Created some liquid culture solution and introduced some shiitake culture. I’m spending time lately learning all sorts of smaller techniques that will lead to a well rounded education in the amateur mycology field. Petri dishes with various agar media are next. Some day I’ll actually grow some mushrooms instead of just poking around with cultures. Yesterday I went to Whole Foods and noticed that certain mushrooms were selling to $20 a pound…. needless to say I drooled a little.

Here is a hacked description of today’s project.

100ml water – 1tsp Light Karo Syrup.
Mixed this up 4 times and put them into separate jars.
Covered them with two layers of aluminum foil.
Pressure cooked for 10 minutes. I’m told after 15 minutes of pressure cooking the sugars caramelize, and growth will be slower as a result.
Cooled and then inoculated with some Shiitake mycelium that I had growing on cardboard.
To clean the sharp tool used to cut, I dropped a little denatured alcohol onto the bottom of a shot glas and lit it on fire. Very tiny small blue flame.
To ‘clean’ the spawn, I dipped it in a h2o2 solution – 80ml water – 20ml 30% h2o2.

The Karo syrup solution is now incubating in a 7 gallon bucket with a heat bomb keeping it warm.

Heat bomb keeping the liquid culture jars warm.

Heat bomb keeping the liquid culture jars warm.

Information on the Karo TEK from Mycotopia

Liquid Culture Basics from the Shroomery

An article about the Heat Bomb from 2004 on the Shroomery