It is Sunday evening when I am writing this blog and I am still wearing my my work clothes and my muscles are tired
from an afternoon shifting logs. Mushroom logs don’t particularly like hot and dry conditions especially when there
has been no measurable precipitation the past six weeks. Combine this with an often present breeze and then you get
a mushroom log farmer spending a Sunday afternoon with a sprinkler at the log farm. The current focus is no longer
on producing mushrooms but on increasing the humidity in the forest in order to prevent the forthcoming supply of
mushroom logs from drying out.
A couple of weeks ago I was happily soaking the logs so that they could produce mushrooms. The sudden and sharp
temperature change from warm (air) to cold (water) is with this weather more than sufficient to “shock” the mycelium
into producing mushrooms. After that the young mushrooms need enough air moisture in order to grow into harvestable
products. The shii-take logs have reacted really well to a soaking under these weather conditions and last week there was
an exceptional abundance of young shii-take mushrooms. Unfortunately they dried up on the log before they had reached
the picking phase (photo). They felt more like snail shells than soft mushrooms. The next batch of mushroom logs was
treated to a number of sprinkler sessions after the soaking phase and the results were much better. But… it was a lot of
work, a lot of water and was (and is) not a good way of working with the elements.
This week has been spent in working out how I can efficiently and effectively get through the next couple of weeks until
rain has arrived. Stacks of logs in different growth phases spread over the whole log farm have now been restacked close
together so that I can use the sprinkler more effectively. Most of the logs that have been soaked this season have now been
sorted out and stacked in order to prevent excess drying out. The log stacks now get sprinkled for a short period every
second day and the moisture content in the logs appears to be increasing or is at least stable. The effectiveness of these
extra measures will, of course, only be known after several months when the mushroom logs in spé do what they are
supposed to do … and that is to produce mushrooms.