Monday, February 28, 2011

Inoculations begin

Here we are, videos of the inoculation process!

First, the drilling. The first year Jeremy just used our regular household drill. I think that lasted about one day. It takes a minute or two per hole! He got a high speed drill which was very nice. This year he managed to find a working adapter so he is using an angle grinder (whatever that is!) which is even faster than the high speed drill. He also uses a drill bit with a stop so he doesn't have to guess how far to drill - it just goes to 1 inch exactly and then he moves on.
(Oh, and those puffs of air are Jeremy's breath - since it was 11 degrees out while he was doing this!)

After the log is all drilled, the spawn goes in. He uses a spring-loaded tool. He stabs it into the bag of spawn to pick up the spawn, positions it over one of the holes, and pushes the plunger - moving all the spawn into the hole. (Conversation and music aren't really pertinent information - in case you're trying to understand what we're saying!)

Lastly the wax stage. Jeremy gets a huge box of wax each year. He breaks of hunks of it and keeps it melted on a little burner. I don't understand it myself, but it has to be at a certain temperature to work the best. He can just tell by the sound it makes, how it looks, etc. I'm amazed. Anyway, he's got these little daubers (a tuft of wool or something on a metal stick) and he uses those to put the wax on.

When the log is done it goes in the "done" pile. Eventually these will go outdoors - when all the piles of snow melt!

Jeremy has volunteers signing up to help him with the whole process - and learn about mushroom innoculation at the same time. I'm contributing by making big batches of soup, cookies, bread, etc to feed the troops.

I think he'll have 15 or so logs done by the end of today (he started yesterday and did two then, so not bad!)

He's hoping to do a LOT of logs, but we're on a deadline. We've read/heard a lot of different (and often conflicting) advice, but he thinks, for the best results, he needs fresh logs from trees that haven't started leafing out yet and it's best to get innoculations done by the end of April or so. You can innoculate past then, but may not have as much success. At least that's been our experience!


Jane said...

Very interesting. You have ALOT of logs to do there. How cool you have an inoculation party. See now my instructions say the log should be cut at least a month before hand because the wood contains and anti-fungal agent that will kill the spawn. So your saying that you can use fresh? Interesting.

Aimee said...

Hi Jane, here is what Jeremy says - some studies (he can't remember where he saw this) have indicated that mycelium grows better if it's put into fresh wood, as in harvested the day before.

The anti-fungal agents do exist in some woods, but much more in southern hardwoods like burl oak (he thinks). There are some anti-fungal agents in woods up here, but apparently they're not as strong.

An advantage of inoculating right away is not giving other fungi a chance to move in; an advantage to waiting is that the anti-fungals have died off.

Basically, it seems like there are as many opinions as methods as types of mushrooms! Jeremy says you shouldn't worry at all, your shrooms will be just fine.

The place Jeremy gets his spawn from didn't inoculate till June last year (!!) and their logs seem to be doing fine. So I guess it's personal preference.

Makes it kind of annoying because people just want to know for sure the exact things to do - but it also allows for a lot of flexibility. =)

APKH said...

I was told the same thing, that logs should be cut and at least 3 weeks old to allow the anti fungal agents in the tree to die away. I did logs last year on two seperate occasions, and I can't tell the difference between them ;) Good luck with yours :)