Hanging Mushrooms

Snails and slugs are very useful creatures but are not usually welcome in a vegetable garden. They can travel at about one meter per hour and have exceptional smelling senses. When the wine-capped stropharia mushrooms started to appear out of their woodchip beds last year all sorts of slugs squeezed out their fastest slime and raced over to take the first bite. Nice for them but this is not what I call sharing the fruits of the forest. Nothing at all was left.

Snails and slugs can climb many meters up trees but cannot navigate sharp angles and have not been known to fly as far as I know. When considering these characteristics I wondered if it was possible to grow mushrooms in boxes above the ground. I enlisted the help of students from a Practical Outdoor High School who often work on the same forested property as the Edible Wood Farm. Whilst learning new skills they also carry out many of the essential practical tasks of maintaining an estate. Last January we used some plastic crates and built a number of small wooden crates (40 x 60 cm) and filled them with forest soil, fresh woodchips and, of course, inoculated them with stropharia spawn. They were then hung on horizontal wooden poles attached between young oak trees, about 50 cm from the ground. Now I hope that the stropharia is content enough to grow through the woodchips and produce snail free mushrooms! We will hopefully see the results in May – June of this year!

Lees in het nederlands …..

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