Mushrooming – learning new things.

I could not have thought of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than when I received an invitation from Trinity Sessions to join Matt and Sven, from Afrifungi, to learn how to cultivate and grow my own edible mushrooms as I simply LOVE mushrooms in any form and can proudly say I’ve even baked the odd mushroom cake.

We had a brief introduction on how mushrooms start off, their purpose and the understanding of FUNGI as the superhero’s of the natural world. This part really intrigued me as we have always had mushrooms sprouting up in our garden or fungi growing on logs I’ve saved from trees which have had to be cut down or discovering rather large mushrooms in our parks and cemeteries – next workshop I need is to attend is how to forage for mushrooms and how to identify edible ones.

Onto the practical side – we were each given a log suitable for the growing of Shiitake mushrooms, these were from an Oak Cork tree. Holes had to be drilled into the log, keeping a diamond pattern going all the way around, after which we plugged them with little Shiitake mushroom plugs (available from Afrifungi) using a wooden mallet (hammer) to tap them securely into place. Lastly we painted melted wax over each plug and our logs were complete. Now to find the perfect spot for my log in the garden as I exercise patience for the next eight to twelve months not forgetting to keep it moist once a week. I am so looking forward to watching this process and eventually harvesting my shiitake mushrooms for the pan.

Onto the preparation of our Oyster Mushroom buckets. This was relatively easy to do and I wondered why it has not become more popular for households to have their own oyster mushrooms to harvest. Into a 5lt bucket, with a few holes drilled in, we layered straw substrate and cultivated spawn for oyster mushrooms, pushing each layer down tightly until the top of the bucket was reached. On reaching the top we piled more straw substrate on so as to allow the lid to push the layers down even tighter. We then taped up the holes with sticky tape which one removes once the straw is covered in a white web called mycelium, allowing the mushrooms to develop out of these little holes. This is going to be exciting to watch.

We had such fun even wanting to name our logs and buckets and starting a social media page to show off our “babies” growth to each other. I can highly recommend taking this workshop, which you can do by contacting either Matt or Sven @Afrifungi on Facebook.

I would like to thank Trinity Sessions and Afrifungi for this opportunity – I loved every minute of it.

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