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Making room for mushrooms

It's been a few years now since last time I grew edible mushrooms at home. Today, making treasure of some maintenance cutting that I had to perform on a couple of willow trees, I prepared them into the medium base where to set some dry mycelium of oyster mushroom (pleurotus ostreatus).

Willow wood is the best kind to use for inoculating this type of mushrooms. In about two months time it should be ready to go in the ground; then hopefully in the fall of this year we should be harvesting the first batch. So this is what I did.
This cutting job was a total hand tool operation, quite easy to perform and absolutely necessary in order to have again an easy access to new fresh branches of willow that are needed to tie down grapevines. First I had to saw the pieces into manageable size logs.

Then I chopped each log in a half. Luckily this turned out to be much easier than I expected and this short handled axe was just perfect for the job.

Then it was time to get the mycelium and some hemp twine ready to tie together the two halves of each log. This dry mycelium is in the form of small whitish balls: it was a bit tricky to spread it around because it's dry... and rolls down everywhere if you're not careful. For this reason I did it on top of a big plastic sheet, so that at the end I could collect that little mycelium that I had lost all along.

When each log is filled up evenly, they need to be tied together with the hemp twine.

So here are all the sandwiched logs. They will have to rest for a couple of months, protected in a plastic sheet (not air tight) until the mycelium will spread out in the wood. I will try to keep them at about 20-30 degrees Celsius. Then I will have to find a shady spot sheltered from strong winds, where to bury them in the ground and let the mushroom grow... the journey has started!

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