It has been a week of guests here in the hollow with overlapping visits from our dear Aunt Phoebe and cousin Ellie from Boston and our 2007 apprentice Katie with her urban farming coworker Rudy from Cincinnati. We had lofty goals for the days with extra hands but somehow a lot of our time did get caught up in plain ole visiting. One of the main projects we wanted to see complete was inoculating a set of shiitake mushroom logs. Paul had sawn down a red maple and two white oaks nearly 2 weeks ago. Once cut into 4 foot lengths, we had 27 logs ready to go. Inoculating the freshly cut logs with the shiitake spawn is a fun multi step process. First ¾ inch deep holes need to be drilled every six inches along rows 3 inches apart on each log. The holes are then filled with sawdust infected with the shiitake mushroom spawn. (we buy this in one kilogram bags from The Mushroom People in Summertown, TN). We have a special tool that does this job, a cross between a single hole punch and a pen, the inoculator pressed into the sawdust spawn fills with just the right amount of material to fill the drilled hole when pressed in. The holes are then covered with melted wax to protect from infection by a less favorable fungi. The logs can then rest in a moist forest like atmosphere for 8 months, the spawn run, when they feed on the fresh wood of the log. Once mature, the logs produce the mushrooms you see at the stand, mature fruit. Conditions we not optimum for a truly fun time doing this project, Sandy’s cold wind and rain made it to us on Tuesday, but we all stuck with it and competed the project. With all of the comings and goings the week flew by and we find ourselves here: Friday mid afternoon, post harvest. I hope you all enjoyed a safe cool end of October. You are going to love this fall basket and all it’s greens, I am sure we all need something to balance the effects of Halloween’s candy!
Fall week 6 in your basket: