Incubation and renovation (fungi project updates)

Suddenly everything is moving along with the fungi farm project and the pace is quick. The buckets are already nearly boiling over with vigorously growing mycelium. The past two and a half weeks they have been incubating in the basement and spreading fast through the straw. By about the time all of the straw is colonized you can start the next phase where you provoke them to fruit. Our buckets are basically ready to go right now, but they’ll have to wait a little bit longer until we’re ready for them.

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Oyster mushroom mycelium is incubated for several weeks in a dark still space. During this time the straw is completely colonized by the fungi and it appears to be white and fuzzy.

The old walk in cooler we’re retrofitting isn’t able to handle the high humidity conditions we’re going to need to expose it to quite yet.  Humidity is important throughout the this process because it promotes mushrooms to begin growth and helps prevent caps from cracking. When we’re ready we’ll turn up the lights and airflow in tandem with the humidty in an attempt to convince the fungi to produce mushrooms. The light and higher oxygen mimic the conditions outside. When a growing mycelial network encounters these conditions it ‘knows it’ and will often produce mushroom here as its spores will have better opportunities to spread further distances in the open air.

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Osiris and Martin work filling cracks in the walk-in cooler in order to waterproof the walls and floor to prevent damage to the historic structure.

The room is in the process of being painted and waterproofed. We’ll be coating cracks with putty and paint, then coating this layer with low VOC polyurethane to prevent water getting into the already aged wood walls. Finally a durable tarp will cover the walls to prevent water from collecting anywhere on the surface of the walls or floors and generally protect the wood from damage. After that we can begin hooking up our homemade humidifier and the other sensors we will have controlling the environment inside the room. Both of which we will describe further in future posts. Until then we’ve got some painting to do…

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The first coat of paint is on. We still have more painting to do, waterproofing and hanging up tarp material to physically protect against water and damage to the walls.

Tomorrow, Tuesday the fifth, Osiris and Martin are going to be preparing the next batch of buckets by pasteurizing more straw and hosting a workshop of sorts. This working conversation will focus on the role of mushrooms in ecosystems and food systems while walking through a low-tech process of preparing growing media for mushroom cultivation. Feel free to join us from 6-7pm tomorrow at the farm building (3957 42nd ave S, mpls, mn).

As always, thanks for reading

-martin

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Categories: Farm Update

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