I had small mushrooms/toadstools on the tops of my bales from time to time. But yesterday, I broke up a bale to put it in a lasagna bed I am making.
Totally enclosed in the bale was this guy. He is about six inches high and four or five inches wide.
Found a mushroom inside my bale!
Karen: don't believe I've ever found a mushroom growing down inside one of my bales, but they sure seem to like the environment, so I'm not surprised.
I had lots of little 'shrooms growing on top of the bales. Now, what I'd like to know is this: How can I use bales for growing some good edible mushrooms, e.g., shitake, oyster, portobellos, buttons even? Karen, that one of yours looks like a King, it's so big!
The thing that amazed me was I had no idea it was there until I broke the bale apart. It was completely inside the bale itself. And it is huge, bigger than my daughter's hand.
Here is some info on growing your own mushrooms. Notice that one of the "substrates" you can grow mushrooms in is straw. So why not straw bales? Mushroom plugs are designed to be inserted into drilled holes in hardwood logs, but mushroom spawn also comes in sawdust. Google mushroom spawn and you'll get lots of info on it and how to use it to grow your own mushrooms.
I was going to see about getting some plugs next year, but where would I get fresh-cut hardwood logs? However, if straw is an alternative -- hmmm. Maybe a whole new possibility for straw bale gardening?
I have also seen instructions for starting/growing morel mushrooms in your own outdoor patches. I think I'll try the easier ones first, though.
Very interesting, Karen; thanks for that link. It's so wet here I bet I could have had a great crop if only I'd had the spawn! I doubt seriously if I could grow a crop in the summer though.
From what I read online, they mostly grow in the spring and fall and are dormant the rest of the time, but I would think your winters would be mild enough for them then, too. You would need a shady place. Some varieties, though, were listed as liking hot weather. They would probably produce in your area except in the hottest months.
I will have to read more online about growing them, but it appeared as though once you get them started in an area outdoors, they will continue to produce for several years, unlike the indoor kits.
I love a challenge.
We go out in the spring, normally around the first week of May (however we have been known to start looking in mid April because we can't wait) for Morels. Last year my SO strapped on a pistol in a holster because of the rumor of cougars in the area. He came upon a group of tourist types that were also out mushroom hunting.
He was quite upset that they followed him in his hunt. I told him that they expected him to protect them. Now, on the coast (of Washington state) people have been known to get shot at while getting too close to someone else's mushroom beds.
In the fall is the time to look for Chantrells. They are wonderful. However, they like the old growth Douglas Fir trees and there aren't too many of them around here. Once again, more of them on the coast.
My son lives in Klamath Falls. I've been told that there are people in that area who make their entire year's income from gathering and selling the wild morels in the spring. And, yep, it wouldn't surprise me a bit that you might get shot for encroaching on someone's mushroom bed. I've heard the same about ginseng patches.
I bought him an indoor portobello kit for Christmas. I can hardly wait for his reaction. LOL. But I think I want to try them outdoors if I can figure out where to put them in the shade and away from the "dog excavation crew." I need to do more reading about growing them in wood chips or straw as a substrate, both of which are easier to come by than hardwood logs.
Karen, I was born in Klamath Falls. Haven't been there since. But, the pictures I have seen it is a lovely area. I have been thru there on the freeway. I never really thought about it as Morel country.
You should go back sometime. While there have been changes -- Wal-Mart and fast food places -- the downtown has been well-maintained and looks as if it is right out of Norman Rockwell circa early 1900s. It's great. My son's house was built in 1913. It's on High Street, which no doubt you remember where that is.
However, that's not to say the town is not progressive. They are putting in thermal heat by tapping the underground volcanic steam, and they have both a two-year college and a four-year college. That's pretty good for a small town.
There are still hundreds of square miles of woods around the area, so no doubt this is where the morels are growing. My son told me about the morel hunting. A friend offered to take Tony when he went -- like a dummy, Tony turned it down. Sheesh!
Karen you sure make it sound inviting. No, I don't remember High street. Should have tho. I might have been born in the house your son owns.
I do remember Crater Lake though. And the Rogue River. Beautiful, but very wild. Wow!! I must have been a super baby to remember all of that.
Will have to go back some day. My grandparents both passed away there. Also an aunt. I think I still have a cousin or two there.
It's a really neat small town, but has nearly everything you would want -- unlike some small towns. High Street runs parallel to the main street one block west. Yes, the Rogue River and Crater Lake are both beautiful areas. When I lived in Portland, I always wanted to go down the Rogue River in a boat, shoot the rapids. Never got the chance. Have you ever heard the old country music song from the 1940s, "Rogue River Valley"? Somewhere on one of my CDs I have a recording of that.
Did you know there are pelicans on Klamath Lake?
LOL, Karen I didn't know there was a Klamath Lake. Isn't it funny, years ago I used to go down to California about once a year, driving, and never took the time to explore the area where I was born. Too bad. Seems we're always in a hurry. Now I haven't been down there in years.
I had to go back and see how we got onto Klamath Falls. You will have to keep us posted on how the mushroom growing turns out.
I am trying hydroponics for the winter. BUT, I cannot find any tomato seeds for growing that way. I understand there are some and they are quite expensive I just can't find where to buy them. If anyone knows please point me in the right direction.
Fun hearing about my birthplace Karen.
Wow, you are really ambitious! I just hope to grow them in the ground. LOL.
This is an interesting article about growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce hydroponically:
It also lists good varieties to grow.
These folks also have some interesting things to say on the subject:
Have a good weekend,
Karen, thank you so much. I was really getting frustrated trying to find seeds. Now, I have placed my order and hope to get them and get them started. Now I don't feel like I am spinning my wheels. Really appreciate your help.
Great! Glad I was able to help.
Good luck and let me know how it works out. Hydroponics sounds way too complicated for me, but I like to learn about what others are doing.
I will. Yes, it does sound like you have to be a scientist. And that I am not.
Luckily, the scientist types have already figured it out. We just have to follow the instructions. LOL.
I can hardly wait to get my seeds and start them. I have everything I need to get them in the nutrients to see how they do. BUT, I read somewhere that it will be a while after they are planted. Oh well, it's a good winter project.