Home Grown

Ha! I thought the title would make some of y’all do a double take.

I decided to try my hand at growing mushrooms.  For my first act, I’ve decided to go with shiitakes.  I ordered my mushroom growing kit from Mushroom Mountain in South Carolina.

I first heard about Tradd Cotter while I was perusing the podcasts on the permaculture podcasts website.  After listening, I was thoroughly intrigued. Then I remembered that I saw a TED talk a few years ago given by Paul Stamets and was floored then too. Absolutely riveted. I had no idea fungus could be so incredible. I mean, who knew it (they?) could do so much? How could one not be fascinated by mushrooms? Though I found mycelium to be intriguing, the thought of studying it more simply fell off the radar. Not because it wasn’t worthy but mostly, but because other things came up.

After rediscovering my fascination with mushrooms I decided to get Tradd Cotter’s book and maybe give growing mushrooms a try. I ordered the shiitake fruiting block from Mushroom Mountain and was expecting it any day. I got the book earlier in the week so I thumbed through it and paid closer attention to the shiitake section.

If for no other reason, find or buy the book and just look at the photos.  Some mushrooms are particularly stunning.  Others are just…weird.

Anyway, when I got home today I found the fruiting block on my porch.  I brought it in and couldn’t wait to open it!  That is, until I opened it. It was this big, semi-light block of fungus.  There were already some mushrooms growing which was comforting.  To be honest, I had no idea what to expect.  But I didn’t expect anything so large.



The directions read that I should submerge and soak the block for 8 hours and then put it on a plate, tent it with the tent it came with, and mist it twice a day every day until the shiitakes are about 2 inches long.

No problem!  Or so I thought.  The directions did say that the block would float and that it needed to be weighted down.  Let me tell you.  This thing REALLY wants to float!


Weighing it down was a bit of a challenge, but I did finally prevail, after a few misfires and several relatively small puddles on the floor.


At 5:30 am tomorrow I’ll take it out, tent it, and wait for the mushrooms to grow.

10/17/2014 update.

I need a life.  It’s 5:18 am and here I am snapping photos of fungus.  HA!  I’m such a tree hugger.  That said, Pierre soaked overnight per the directions, and the block is noticeably heavier, maybe, 15 pounds now.  I’ll set him on a plate and tent him, and he’ll stay in a room with bright, indirect sunlight.



Steps 1 and 2 are complete.  Step 3 – misting twice a day until the shiitakes are about 2 inches long, is next.  I’ll post photos as all the little Pierre’s start to grow.  How exciting!  Anyone up for mushroom ravioli?

Stay tuned!

10/19/2014 update.

I noticed some dry spots on the block and I’ll be keeping my eyes on those areas.  I’ve misted these areas a good bit and removed most of the run off water so that Pierre is not sitting in a puddle.

Dry spots on the side of the block

Dry spots on the side of the block

Dry spots on the front of the block

Check out the little Pierre’s!




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2 Responses to Home Grown

  1. Alex Ojeda says:

    A great start to a beautiful future. Also, at the Permie Faire, a local mushroom enthusiast named Ryan Smith is going to be teaching a mushroom class!

  2. admin says:

    I’ll be attending that workshop for sure.

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