Integrated Living Systems Design LLC
Soil to Soul

Mycology and Sterile Culture Technique

Learn the basics of Mycology, Sterile Culture Technique and Mushroom cultivation in 1/2-day workshops with Neil Logan.


Neil explains the basics of Mycology.

Students packing bags with inoculated grain at the Oakhaven Permaculture Institute 2003 "From Spore to Carpophore" mushroom cultivation workshop.

Neil gives the overview of bulk substrate preparation at the FLC Earth day mushroom cultivation seminar.

Utensils used in low-tech kitchen cultivation of edible fungi.

Substrate and utensils ready to be sterilized.

Packed in the autoclave.

Typical kitchen cultivation set-up.

After 24 hours of soaking a 55-gallon drum is packed with substrate being pasteurized.

The bags of straw are fully submerged and the temperature is brought up to 160 F for at least 2 hours.

The bags of substrate are removed and drained.

The substrate is broken open in a sterile basin (plastic baby pool or tarp) and allowed to cool to the touch.

The substrate is immediately inoculated with grain spawn.

The spawn is broken up and poured into the warm, moist substrate.

The spawn is thoroughly mixed before being stuffed into breathable containers.

In this case the mushroom bags are suspended in a special outdoor grow chamber.

One month later the mushrooms fruit through perforations in the bags.

Once colonized with mycelium the plastic can be removed and the block placed in a humid environment.

Once fruiting is initiated the mushrooms develop over several days.

The mushrooms are harvested at maturity.

The mushroom blocks can be submerged in distilled water and cold stratified to re-initiate fruiting.

An alternative to using plastic bags was developed during a Permaculture event at Lost Valley Educational Center. In this case Willows and Cascara are woven together to form a basket that can be stuffed with inoculated substrate.

A large stone was placed on top of the substrate to add pressure to the substrate thereby simulating a giant log.

Mushrooms fruit in the fall and spring and newly inoculated substrate can be added to the basket each year until it rots and returns to the soil.

The fungi release fertilizer for the trees roots below while giving food. The entire system will become soil over time providing valuable phosphorus and other nutrients.

Oak, Pear and mushroom basket work together as a synergistic system: A fruit, nut and fungal guild!

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