The red alder logs inoculated last year at Leafhopper Farm are colonizing nicely; even fruiting in some cases! The shiitake are still shy, maybe even predated by another fungus – we’ll hopefully know this fall when the logs fruit. You can see in the stack pictured below, mycelium is spreading across the wood layers and turning the ends of these logs white. If we really wanted to get technical with the stack, we could send a scraping of the mycelium to a lab for confirmation, but for now, we’ll just keep monitoring the stack and hope that by October, fruit will bloom.
Blooming is the name of the game with our turkey tail stack next door. Trametes versicolor is one of the easiest mushrooms to cultivate on a log stack, and sure to show fruit within the first year of inoculation. Here below we can see the young fruit developing from a more subtly whitened log butt. This modest polypor is a popular medicinal mushroom. Polysaccharide-K is a very promising medicine that The American Cancer Society claims “slows the spread of cancer cells. PSK also appears to have some immune system–boosting properties in people undergoing chemotherapy and may lessen some side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. PSK is also believed to be a strong anti-oxidant, a compound that blocks the action of free radicals, activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells.” (ref.)
Here at Leafhopper Farm, we’re interested in diverse cultivation of food, medicine, and materials for daily use. Turkey tail mushrooms are a part of the pharmacopeia, and increase mycorrhiza in our landscape to cultivate fertility and the neutralization of things like free radicals in our soil and water. Our turkey tail will be harvested, dried, and used in teas. This species of mushroom has shown to be the easiest and most successful colonizer in our log stacks so far, and we would encourage anyone trying out mushroom cultivation in logs to try this species first as an introduction to the process.