The Intractable Autodidact

You are your own best teacher

The Mushrooms Have Arrived!

Back here, I mentioned sending away for a kit to grow my own luminescent mushrooms. I’d like to follow up as I promised myself I would, and let you know the package arrived in about a week. Here’s what ya get:

The Kit

The kit includes instructions, a candle, and a bag containing wood dowels impregnated with the spores of panellus stypticus, the glowing mushroom of choice. The only extras needed are a drill and bit, and a host log, preferably — according to the instructions — of oak.

In South Florida we have live oaks (quercus virginiana), a venerable tree that can grow to enormous size, spreading and twisting outwards to resemble a frantic octopus suddenly stilled. I am lucky enough to have one in my front yard, but I didn’t want to cut it unnecessarily. Well, only me: I drove around and actually found some cut branches sitting at the base of a live oak a few blocks away.

Live Oak (quercus virginiana) — Not the donor tree in this case.

The kit advises to use freshly cut and wet wood to properly feed the spores. Using a 5/16″ drill bit, I drilled inch-deep holes in a diamond pattern, pushed the plugs of wood into each hole, and then sealed them all by lighting the candle and dripping wax over each site. This keeps in moisture, and keeps out unwanted fungi or other microbes.

So now we play the waiting game. The spores are hopefully even now reaching out with their mycellia, decaying the wood with enzymes that can break down the hardest wood. In a few months I should see a white filament on the ends of the log; that’ll be the mycellium. Then, as it matures, the mycellium will hopefully reach the wood’s surface and fruit into panellus stypticus, the glowing mushroom.

Wooden plugs impregnated with fungus spores

Stay tuned.

All plugged up and sealed

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8 comments on “The Mushrooms Have Arrived!

  1. Fork in My Eye
    October 21, 2012

    I can’t wait!

    • kentiki
      October 22, 2012

      I can’t either! My babies are growing and glowing!

  2. Ariel Setzer
    October 21, 2012

    Just curious, where is this log now? I guess I’ll see it if it’s glowing, right?!

  3. Barbara Backer-Gray
    October 21, 2012

    Me neither. It’ll be like Avatar, I imagine.

  4. archigeek
    February 2, 2014

    Hmmm. I wonder how this turned out???

    • kentiki
      February 15, 2014

      They unfortunately never developed. I got some fuzzy white growth on the log ends, but then all went away. I’ll try again one day.

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