Lasagna Party!

What’s better than talking about mushrooms? Well, eating them…but after that is most assuredly growing them! In mid December the Chicago Culture club set out to undertake this adventure by making mushroom “lasagna”, bags of full of alternating layers of straw and spawn.

Our goal was to create a couple of these inoculation bags, as well as a flat tray, and have some of our members take them back to their homes, grow some edible mushrooms, and keep track of which growing conditions worked best. We asked ourselves questions like, can we grow these in our bedrooms? Does it have to be by the furnace? Am I going to wake up with mushrooms growing out of my nose? Due to the availability of straw to use as a substrate, we decided to use oyster mushroom spawn for our first attempt, which we had ordered the week prior from Fungi Perfecti.

Besides ordering the spawn in advance, we also prepared by soaking a large container full of straw in garden lime over night, started the day prior. We dumped out the excess liquid, draining the straw until it was just wet enough for a few drops to come out when squeezed.

Next, under the guidance of a couple of our members who have previous experience with starting mushrooms, we began filling up large plastic bags with the straw. We were trying to make the one container of straw we had prepped go as far as possible, so each layer of our lasagna was about four to five inches thick, slightly smaller than the recommended six. As each layer of straw was laid, we sprinkled a small handful of the oyster spawn across the substrate, then another layer of straw was added.

After a few layers, voila!

We also attempted to lay out one tray of substrate and spawn to try the flatter approach. For this method, we cut the straw into smaller pieces in order to give the spawn an easier time taking hold in the shallower bedding.

We’re excited to see what will come of our efforts. Will we be chowing down on our home made oyster mushrooms? Will we be constantly reminded of our failed efforts by the unproducing sack of straw in the corner of the bedroom? We’ll let you know as soon as we do!

Until later, Chicago Culture Club.


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