Help growing your own mushrooms

Blocks can also be grown outdoors in cool damp weather, but they will need some protection from direct sunlight and slugs.

Help growing your own mushrooms

It may surprise you to learn that British Columbians eat more mushrooms per capita than all other Canadians.

One of those serious gourmets is my middle daughter, Rochelle, who has taken Mycology (the study of mushrooms) to heart.

I think it all started during those family hikes we used to take when she was just a kid. I would often find her scrutinizing the mushrooms in hopes of finding a tiny fairy sitting on them.

That passion for fungus was recently re-ignited while she was working at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia, helping to reorganize a century-old collection of spore prints and water colours among their vast selection of natural wonders.

Then came a chance encounter with ‘The Mushroom Man,’ Scott Henderson, at the recent Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Country Fair, and with the parting of a mere $10 she became the proud owner of a block of sawdust with the promise of Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes or Lentinus edodes) to come.

The substrate cube she brought home (in a bag) was little more than a compressed block of red alder sawdust with some wheat bran, millet grain and limestone, inoculated with Shiitake mushroom spores.

As per instructions, she put the block in the refrigerator for a few days to activate it, after which she doused it with some cold water and allowed it to drain.

The block was then covered with a plastic bag and placed in a cool growing environment, which in this case is the garage.

It still needs a little light to develop properly, so she opens the door to the garage for several hours a day to allow the sunlight from the kitchen window to peek through.

The first crop was little more than one large Shiitake mushroom, so she allowed the block to rest for several weeks and then started the process over – except that this time she gave the substrate block a spanking, or thumped in on a hard surface to help with the re-activation.

Rochelle can expect up to three more crops before the block is expended.

Of course, I understand that there might be a few people out there that are not so enthusiastic about growing mushrooms in the house. Thankfully, these same blocks can also be grown outdoors in cool damp weather, but they will need some protection from direct sunlight and slugs, which have also developed an appetite for mushrooms.

You can order kits and spawn locally by visiting The Mushroom Man’s website (www.shroomstore.ca).

For those of those with a general interest in all things fungal, you might want to pick up Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest from Timber Press – a handy photographic guide with descriptions of 460 mushrooms that is small enough to take along when you go hiking.

We even have two local societies dedicated to mushroom culture including the Fraser Valley Mushroom Club (www.fvmushroomclub.ca) and the Vancouver Mycological Society (www.vanmyco.com), which will be holding its annual show in the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Floral Hall on Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show will include mushroom displays, speakers, cooking advice and you are also welcome to bring in your own samples for identification. The cost is $3. for adults, with children 12 and under getting in for free.

 

Mike Lascelle is a local nursery manager and gardening author (hebe_acer@hotmail.com).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker at his former law office. (News files)
UPDATE: Becker suspended from practising law for 14 months

Statement from former Pitt Meadows Mayor says anxiety and depression played role

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: Hair salon discriminates based on gender

Maple Ridge reader wonders if other women share her feelings on the matter

Developers are moving mountains to create a new heli park at Pitt Meadows Airport (Neil Corbett/The News)
New infrastructure at Pitt Meadows Airport

Rebuilt terminal building one of many projects at YPK

Pitt Meadows resident Bruno James de Faria shared a picture of Pitt River Bridge taken from the West Coast Express. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Commute flies by – literally and figuratively

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Two people were sent to hospital after a fire was discovered in a north Pitt Meadows home just before the lunch hour on Sunday, (Nov. 29, 2020). (Shane MacKichan/Special to The News)
Couple burned fighting fire in their Pitt Meadows house

Two occupants were transported to hospital while firefighters battle a blaze in a Harris Road home

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism widespread

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Most Read