Grow some fungus indoors this winter
While virtually nothing is growing outside this time of year, I am trying my hand at growing indoor mushrooms.
Saturday, January 1, 2011 - 14:42
LEFTOVERS? No, that is not last year's fruitcake. (Photo: Laura Early)
I am sitting inside my house, looking out the window at the cold rain falling outside. For me, winter is the most miserable season, and I assume that this must be the case for other folks, too. Even though we aren't covered in snow, everything in our vegetable garden is dead, the yard is brown, the skies are gray, and it is much colder than I prefer. I am very thankful that I live in South Carolina and not Michigan at this time of year.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, the subject of the picture above is not adding to my misery this season. In fact, it is actually quite exciting — it's an oak block covered in tiny pinny shiitake mushrooms! In spite of the gray and brown shades of death outside, I will be fostering some gray and brown delicious (hopefully!) mushrooms inside.
I have never grown mushrooms before, but it is supposed to be pretty easy on the small scale. There are plenty of companies that sell indoor mushroom growing kits online, but to keep the money close to home and cut down on the transport, check out Mushroom Mountain. Mushroom Mountain is an organic mushroom farm right here in the upstate of South Carolina selling all kinds of growing kits and awesome mushrooms.
To get the block started, I just spritzed the block with plain tap water. Then, I set it inside of a milk crate, wrapped around the sides with plastic wrap. I put plastic over the top, as well, to create a moist environment for the fungi. A few times a day, I take the plastic off the top to let some oxygen in to the mushrooms because unlike plants, they take in oxygen along with the carbon they are getting from the oak block. I am keeping my little mushroom project in the kitchen pantry so they are out of direct sunlight, and the 'shrooms should just do their thing.
Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll be cooking these shiitakes into a nice, hearty and nutritional soup! Check back to see how this project works out.
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