Stropharia Rugoso-Annulata

The name of this blog being what it is, you may assume that we’re only interested in the chicken-y qualities of certain mushrooms in the genus Laetiporus.  Given how many delicious and useful mushroom species there are, we found it necessary to delve into a new fungal arena while we are scouring the land for chicken logs.

Meet Stropharia Rugoso-Annulata (the red caps pictured below to the left of the morels).  These particular mushrooms found their way into my belly in the spring of 2010 before I could clone them, so we relied on to supply us with quality spawn to start our patch.

If you haven’t read the post “Changes,” check it out for some info on what Stropharia can be used for on the farm.

On Friday, I was joined by Ms. Mac’s AP Environmental Sciences class at the site of the mushroom garden.  We mixed spawn in with woodchips, sawdust, and a little straw, then filled burlap bags with the mixture to create what Paul Stamets coined “bunker bags.”  Hydrating the substrate was easy.  We dipped the bags into the little stream of spring water which trickles through our fungal sanctuary.

Not the most sterile of procedures, but working outdoors you have the luxury of sometimes getting by  without pasteurizing substrate.  Plus, since King Stropharia mycelium feeds off of microscopic critters, we may have been doing it a favor by not being particularly careful.  When we have a lab at the school, we will then be able to start similar bunker bags with a cloned wild strain of the species and students will try their hands at the art of sterile tissue culturing.  For now, we’re keeping our rustic-style bunker bags under a pile of leaves to protect them from the sun, hold in moisture, and generally insulate them from the elements.  With the hot, dry weather we’ve been having, we’ll have to keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t dry out.

Stay tuned for more chicken-y blog posts.

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