Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Mushrooms

A few years ago, we learned that it is possible to cultivate mushrooms. Not those icky ones that sprout in the lawn when it rains too much, but nice edible mushrooms to prepare for dinner. Mushroom distributors sell wooden plugs that have been inoculated with mushroom spores. The instructions direct you to drill small, regularly spaced holes into hardwood logs, insert the plugs, stack the log pile, water and wait. The results can be fairly long-lasting and evidently quite delicious.

Perhaps someday we'll get around to that project, but in the meantime we cheated and purchased a tabletop Shiitake mushroom farm. When it arrived, it looked like a really bad meatloaf. We placed it in a tray, misted with water, and covered it with a plastic tent. Shiitake mushrooms grow in sunlight, so we put it on the plant cart in good light. It began sprouting little mushrooms in a few days, and in less than a week we were harvesting mushrooms for dinner. This wasn't an expensive project, and it appears we'll be harvesting mushrooms for a few weeks. Then we'll let the meatloaf block dry out for a while, re-hydrate and start again. It should be good for three or four flushes.

Homegrown mushrooms taste fabulous! They are far more tender and white than the fresh Shiitake mushrooms available at the grocery store. Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories and high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and vitamin D2. This is a fun project for late winter when there is nothing else to harvest. We recommend it!

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