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About DufferinShroomer

  • Birthday 07/26/2009

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    Southern Ontario Dufferin County

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  1. Hang on lemme check. Yikes I am apparently alive and as well as can be expected. Did I screw something up?
  2. If you are messing around with growing mushrooms here is something that you can try that is pretty interesting, free, and might result in creating a new patch of mushrooms growing sort of wild where ever you want them. The technique goes by a number of names but perhaps the most common would be stem culture. What you are doing is basically cloning a mushroom from an existing mushroom then planting it outdoors. Here is how it works: First you need to find a suitable mushroom to clone. It needs to be a saprobe and you need to have dug it up with at least some mycellium still attached to the stem. You want to be doing this with fresh mushrooms. Get some clean corrugated cardboard from a cardboard box and cut it into some squares that are about 8 inches on each side. Rinse it under running water to remove any dirt and surface chemicals then soak it in warm water until the cardboard is quite soggy. Once it is soggy get some sort of bowl, turn it so its open side faces down on the counter and drape your soggy cardboard over it to let excess water drain off. You want the cardboard to be soggy-damp but not so wet that water runs out of it when you pick it up. While it is draining you can start to cut up your mushroom into small pieces. Just use the stem. The ideal piece will be about a half inch long, maybe a quarter inch in diameter and will have a bit of mycelium attached to one end, maybe an eigth of and inch or a quarter of an inch. You dont need much. Sometimes just a piece of stem without mycelium will work but I have found that the bit of mycelium pretty much guarantees success in getting your colony started. Lay the cardboard out flat and place 6 - 12 stem pieces spread out across the cardboard keeping an inch or so away from the edge of the cardboard. 12 is better than 6 but sometimes you just work with what you have. If you are lucky you can get away with just 1 piece but you are trying to colonize the cardboard quickly so you will have more luck with the extra pieces. Once the stem pieces are on the cardboard you roll up the cardboard into a sort of burrito. To want the result to be moderately tight without being super tight. You will see that because the stem pieces were spread out they will end up sort of evenly distributed among the layers of cardboard. Then put an elastic band around each end so the cardboard cant unroll on its own. Now you have to put the burrito into a plastic bag so it wont dry out. I suppose any sort of bag would work but I have always used a large zip freezer bag and zip it closed. You are done now with the setup. Put the bag somewhere where it will stay at a warm room temperature and wait. Examine the burrito every day or so to make sure it is neither drying out nor sitting in a puddle of water in the bag. After about 2 weeks you can peek. Very carefully start to unroll the cardboard. With luck you will see that live growing mycellium has started to grow and colonize the burrito. You shouldnt have to unroll the whole thing and when you see some extended mycellium stop unrolling, roll it back up and replace it into the bag making sure it is still damp. Now comes the tricky part. Patience. What you want to end up with is a burrito that is really well colonized with mycellium actually penetrating 1 or 2 layers of the cardboard. Having just a couple of the stem pieces with 1 inch hairs of mycellium growing on them isnt going to get the job done. You want to get the burrito to the stage where you can say geez look at all that mycellium. That might take another couple of weeks or even longer although different mushrooms have different growth rates. When you are happy with your burrito you will plant it outdoors. I like to have made a half dozen burritos because well something horrible might happen to a single try. This next part is important. You are going to plant the burrito(s) where you want to establish a wild patch. because of that you must find a spot where your patch will find an environment it will like. Blewits like wood so put them in a place where there are buried branches and dead wood on the surface and shade. Meadow mushrooms like ummm meadows but they also appreciate a lot of organic matter like a couple of shovels of manure. Use your imagination but know that if you plant blwits in a meadow they will surely die and if you plant meadow mushrooms in deep woods they also will likely die. I dig a hole about a foot deep and replace half the soil so the bottom half of the hole has sort of loose soil then I dump a bucket of water into the hole and let it drain. I never know how deep to plant the burritos so I compromise a bit. I place the burrito in the hole at about a 45 degree angle pointing down so that parts of it are at different depths. Im not sure this helps but I doubt that it hurts. I fill in the rest of the hole and water it then walk away and just forget the whole thing. With a bit of luck the mycelium in the burrito will keep growing right out into the soil and you will have established your new colony of mushrooms. I said forget about them because it is unlikely that your efforts will result in an immediate flush of edibles although they might. More likely the planted organism will continue to grow quietly underground and fruit at some point in the future when you least expect it but I have seen reports of getting a flush of edibles in a couple of weeks. At this stage though there is nothing much you can do if you dont get a quick flush. If your organism survived it will fruit when it gets the urge. If it didnt survive well just forget about it. The only thing you can do after planting is try to keep the spot a bit damp if you can especially if the weather turns hot and dry. Digging up your burrito to see if it is alive will almost certainly kill it and I wouldnt do that unless I had planted a lot of them in one area.
  3. Kevin, you are on the right track, sort of. In my opinion if you want to collect edibles then wandering through some random forest looking for things that are interesting is pretty much a sucker's game. The high success plan is to develop an inventory of 'spots', ie places where you know an edible fruits reliably and where you know pretty much exactly when it will fruit. Ideally you will eventually have enough spots to cover the whole season and you can simply go harvest rather than go search. Having said that, I have to point out that there are 2 problems with that approach. The first and most obvious problem is that everyone starts with zero spots. You said you have places that reliably produce edibles so you are off to a great start. What you have to do now is find places that are reliable to cover those gaps in your calendar when your hemlock forests arent producing. That is going to take legwork, almost no way around that. When looking for new spots I would look in other than hemlock spots, you already have that. If you already have a morel spot or two my next order of business would be to target Pleurotus populinas, the spring oyster mushroom. These fruit on dead poplar trees right after the morels finish and where I live the fruitings can be spectacular. The really nice thing about a forest with a lot of dead poplar is you have a forest with a lot of dead trees on the ground which will feed other species and in my experience a good oyster spot will yield other mushrooms later in the season. I would have a perpetual search happening for Boletus edulis. These are not so common where I live but they are easy to look for. Here the main tree is Norway spruce. Norway spruce generally hasnt naturalized in our forests and generally they are found at the edges of lawns like park land or university campuses. The tree is pretty distinctive and with practice you can spot some at 60 mph. If I see even as few as a half dozen mature Norways I will make a point to check them any time Im nearby from late June right through to the end of the season. It takes about 2 minutes to check a dozen trees and sometime you can find a nice reliable spot that will give up a couple of meals with no work at all. I live in Ontario Canada and the go to summer mushroom here is the lobster mushroom. Im not sure if they are common where you are. Mostly you have to just keep working at closing all the gaps in the season so that there will always be something for dinner and you know exactly where it will be. Oh ya, the second problem with having an inventory of good spots is that sometimes a species will just stop producing in a spot. It happens and you have to deal with it. I deal with it simply. When I visit one of my spots and finish harvesting whatever it is Im picking that day I try to make a point of spending a half hour to an hour doing the random walk in a random spot thing. It probably wont be productive but if 2 or 3 times a year you stumble on something edible then you are adding to your inventory of spots in anticipation of one of them stopping production. I would also concentrate my efforts in forests that are nearby. A good spot that is a 2 hour drive from home isnt a good spot in my opinion. I hate to drive more than 15 minutes if I can possibly help it. Driving for an hour or 2 and finding nothing just sucks. Driving 15 minutes and finding that the soil is too dry this week is no big deal. I also make sure I talk to anybody I meet about mushrooms. So you live on 20 acres? Do you have any woods? Do you ever find any mushrooms? Asking is free and every so often something spectacular happens. I live an hour north of Toronto and a few years ago the Toronto mushroom club held an organized foray in a forest about 5 minutes from home. They were after morels but I knew that season was finished here and the 20 people who went off into the woods were going to come back with nothing. I stopped in at the foray just to say hi to some folks I knew. I was having a bad knee day (arthritis) so I had no plans to go for a hike but there was a mountain bike club out riding in the woods. Perfect. As they started coming back to the parking area I started talking to them. Any chance while you were out riding that you saw a stump that was just covered in an ugly orange fungus? One guy said ya he saw something like that and he told me exactly where it was. About 3/4 mile in along a trail that club members were never going near and my knees werent going to let me walk the round trip. I found a club member who had come out of the woods without seeing a mushroom and yes he willing to go for a walk. So I told him how to find the trail and off he went. I was hopeful but I couldnt know if my info was reliable. An hour and a half later the guy emerged from the woods toting 2 of those fabric re-usable grocery bags full to bulging with fresh chickens. About 20 pounds. We split the haul and the beauty of it was I never left the parking lot. Dont be shy about asking folks if they own woods or if they have seen a mess of mushrooms, you just never know...
  4. My brother sent me the link to this brief video which I found pretty interesting. It makes the case that Santa was a shaman from Lapland who used Amanita muscaria as his main medicine. It explains a lot from the lots of red in Santa lore to flying reindeer and flying Santa. https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/578959/shaman-santa/
  5. There is only one significant mushroom club in Ontario and that is the Toronto based Mycological Society of Toronto. They offer an identification course but it isnt very practical for you to attend. My suggestion would be to look for nearby naturalist clubs and contact them. Google is your friend.
  6. https://wildmushroomhunting.org/index.php?/topic/229-ontario-mushrooms/&tab=comments#comment-202920 There ya go. There is only a handful of members from Ontario who actually post here and that thread doesnt get used much these days. You can of course fix that by using the thread. If you are in Toronto then you should seriously consider joining the mushroom club. The club is called the Mycological Society of Toronto and in spite of their pompous name they are a good bunch of folks. The club organizes forays in spring and fall (and sometimes does a summer chanterelle hunt). I think these forays are a 'must attend' for anyone wanting to learn more about mushrooms.. The forays work like this... The group meets at a preselected location in the area of the foray. Sometimes this will be right where the group will look for mushrooms but sometimes the foray leader will take a quick scout around several nearby forests and select the best spot for that day. Once the group gets to the final destination they get organized and everyone spreads out into the woods (generally around 9:30am) . Ideally you want to find an experienced member to tag along with. Around lunch time everyone meets back at the starting point. The idea is to collect specimens from as many different species as you can and yes if you find a big fruiting of edibles go ahead and pick them. When folks get back to the starting point their catch is arranged on tables and when everyone is back the foray leader will identify every species found (hopefully). You can ask questions about each mushroom, learn about edibility, and how to identify it. You can even fondle them if you want. Typically the spring forays are morel hunts and the fall forays rack up big numbers of species. The most productive fall foray that I attended had almost 50 members head into the woods and when they returned they had collected 150 different species. The spring forays are a different deal. there isnt much fruiting and the group either finds morels or they dont. The forays are held basically every weekend both saturday and sunday in various significant forests withing about an hour drive of Toronto. You can expect to find decent numbers of species in all the fall forays but you have to understand that the forests are selected for their ability to host a pile of people (including parking for 50) and these are not the secret hotspots of the members. And the existing members wont be eager to tell new members where the very best spots are located until they get to know them and maybe they still wont. Still you can learn a ton from the forays which are free to members. Family membership last I looked was $30/year which is the bargain of the year. The club also puts on an identification course, hosts a gourmet mushroom dinner, and has other member benefits. Their website is www.myctor.org The photo is the id table at one of the club's forays.
  7. Sue, Start watching lobster spots around the same time as you start finding chanterelles or maybe a week later. Remember that lobsters will fruit in the same spot each year seemingly forever. I have never found a lobster spot that has actually not fruited the next year.
  8. Whatever else you do, do not eat it as there is a decent chance it would kill you. This appears to be a member of the amanita genus which counts among its members some of the deadliest of mushrooms. I'm not very good and nailing down individual species of amanita (although I think I know what this is) so Im not going to post a guess. There are a small number of amanitas which are edible but you dont want to be making that determination based on information someone gives you on the internet.
  9. Sue, Nice photo of a nice harvest. Morels should be starting now where you are too.
  10. First thing I want to say here is DONT SHOOT THE MESSENGER! I have no real opinion on the value of medicinal mushrooms except that they probably dont do any harm and that some of them probably have some medicinal value. So please refrain from calling me an idiot. This morning I saw a post by M... that had some pics of what appear to be oyster mushrooms and noted that 2 of the groups in the photo had fruiting bodies neatly stacked one above the other in the way that Hypsizygus generally fruits. I havent found Hypsi in a couple of years so I went to Michael Kuo's mushroomexpert.com to look at his entry for Hypsizygus to refresh my memory. The link to the entry is here: https://www.mushroomexpert.com/hypsizygus_tessulatus.html but to save everyone the trouble of going to look Im going to paste what Kuo said there about medicinal mushrooms. He said: " Regarding the putative "medicinal" properties of this mushroom: I am sorry to put it this bluntly, but this mushroom is not going to cure your cancer, nor any other ailment you may haveā€”and if someone has sold you a product based on the assumption that it will, you have purchased some snake oil from a witting or unwitting charlatan. The only health benefits associated with consuming species of Hypsizygus result from the exercise involved with hunting for them in the woods. There is no legitimate scientific support for the idea that mushrooms are medicinal in any specific, eat-them-to-get-better way. None. There is only pseudoscience, bad science reporting in the mainstream news media, and very wishful science reporting in the alternative health media. For further information, see Nicholas Money's "Are mushrooms medicinal?" (2016). " So of course I found Nicholas Money's "Are mushrooms medicinal?" (2016) on the internet and actually read what the guy had to say. If you are into medicinal mushrooms then you also should read this because he essentially says nobody has actually proved anything about the usefulness of mushrooms in curing anything. He also takes a pretty big swing at Paul Stamets and his company Fungi Perfecti. The link to this piece is here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878614616000180 enjoy.
  11. This is a pic of the first Leucopaxillus I ever encountered. It was in a stand of pure spruce. The ring was sort of spectacular. It was too big to get the whole of it clearly in one photo but it did make a complete circle. I dont often see many species form a well defined ring and I wonder if a tendency to fruit in a well defined ring can be used as an identification point with any sort of reliability.
  12. Usually when I see a big ring of white mushrooms in the forest my first thought is Leucopaxillus albissimus and that might well be what you have here. https://www.mushroomexpert.com/leucopaxillus_albissimus.html
  13. Be careful eating these. There is an abortive Tricholoma that looks very similar but which is larger and my understanding is that the tricholoma is not an edible.
  14. I feel better about calling something agaricus if I can see a ring. Not sure if Im seeing a ring in these photos.
  15. Thanks Dave, The season here in Ontario looks to be developing about a week later than historical averages. I still have some snow on my lawn and the ground is frozen solid.
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