Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

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Since ancient times, mushrooms in Russia have been a serious help in the economy, bags of dried and barrels of salted forest gifts were exported to Europe by sea and land, this trade was very profitable and brought considerable income. To date, scientists have found that many types of mushrooms have not only excellent taste and nutritional qualities, but also have a healing effect in many dangerous diseases, ranging from common colds and ending with malignant neoplasms..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

Unfortunately, today in the forest there is no longer such an amount of harvest and species diversity that our grandparents found – the deterioration of the ecological state of the planet as a whole had an extremely negative effect on the condition of all forest inhabitants. However, do not despair, some types of mushrooms can be grown in the garden. We have already talked about growing oyster mushrooms and champignons in previous articles: “Growing oyster mushrooms. Additional income on your site “and” Technology for growing mushrooms. Small business in the country “. Today I would like to touch upon the issue of artificial cultivation of shiitake and honeydew.

In our time, the issue of growing organic food is quite acute. In the pursuit of profit, many manufacturers stuff vegetables and fruits, meat and dairy products with various preservatives and stabilizers to improve taste and increase shelf life. Such “delicacies” in many cases cause allergies and other dangerous diseases. Growing mushrooms in the country will help you replenish the family’s diet with an environmentally friendly food product containing a sufficient amount of protein, various useful vitamins and trace elements essential for the body..

Shiitake cultivation

Shiitake is rightfully considered the patriarch among the artificially grown mushrooms. This species has been cultivated in the countries of Southeast Asia for more than 2000 years. Already at that time, the healers of oriental medicine said that shiitake gives a person vigor and energy, protects against stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In the 14th century, Chinese physician Wu Rui drew attention to its effectiveness in the treatment of malignant neoplasms..

Modern research fully confirms the healing properties of shiitake, and in Asia this mushroom is called “mushroom ginseng”. Japanese and Chinese scientists are sure that the healing properties of shiitake far exceed the power of various medicinal herbs..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

In nature, shiitake grows on dead wood of broad-leaved trees such as oak, beech, chestnut, hornbeam. The distribution area of ​​this mushroom covers Japan, China, the Far East and other countries of Southeast Asia. The mushroom has a pleasant aroma, and its taste is not inferior to champignon.

In terms of production of shiitake, it ranks second in the world after champignon, and today the number of farms for growing this type of mushroom is steadily growing. Japan is considered the leader in shiitake production, followed by China and Korea. However, these exotic mushrooms are grown today not only in the East; farms that cultivate this species are located in Australia, Italy, Germany, and the USA. Small shiitake plantations can be found in mushroom farms in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Nowadays, Shiitake is grown using intensive and extensive technologies. However, intensive cultivation requires compliance with extremely stringent sterile conditions, since this type of fungus is very susceptible to various diseases..

Intensive technology

To prepare the substrate, in this case, sawdust and bark of deciduous trees are used, to which bran and various nutritional mixtures are mixed. Sometimes straw is used. The crushed, moistened, well-mixed substrate is placed in special plastic or polypropylene bags of small capacity, which can withstand high temperatures (up to 135 degrees). After that, they are thoroughly sterilized for several hours in autoclaves with high steam pressure..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

Inoculation (seeding mycelium) also requires sterile conditions. For this, special boxes and laminar flow cabinets are used. After infection with shiitake spores, the bags are placed in specially prepared rooms, where the microclimate necessary for incubation and fruiting is observed, the necessary sterility is also maintained here, for which special filters for ventilation and other devices are used.

The intensive technology of cultivation of shiitake allows you to grow mushrooms all year round, however, given all the above difficulties (availability of special equipment, maintaining the necessary sterile conditions), this method is unlikely to be suitable for use on a personal plot. It is better to use extensive cultivation methods in the country..

Extensive technology

Currently, 2/3 of all mushroom farms that cultivate this species work using extensive technology..

For growing shiitake, hard-leaved tree species such as oak, hornbeam, beech, chestnut are suitable. You can also use alder, maple, birch, aspen, willow and poplar. The specificity of the fungus is that, on the one hand, it does not live on a living tree, and on the other hand, it does not grow with a low water content. Therefore, logs for cultivation are harvested in early spring or late autumn, since it is during this period that the wood contains the most moisture. In addition, at this time, the bark is firmly connected to the wood, which reduces the risk of infection by harmful fungi and microorganisms..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

For extensive cultivation, it is necessary to harvest stems 10–20 cm in diameter, with a thin bark through which light can penetrate. For the normal development and fruiting of shiitake, lighting is required; in the dark, fruiting bodies either do not appear, or mushrooms with thin long legs grow. Trees must be healthy and free from rot. Trunks with spots and stripes of different colors cannot be used for growing shiitake.

Wood is harvested in the period after leaf fall and before the start of sap flow. The cut trees are left in the forest for 1-2 months, after which they are transported to the site of the future plantation. Here they are cut into pieces 1-1.5 meters long.

How to infect wood with shiitake spores

Trunks can be inoculated in two ways. The first is to use sterilized wedges infected with mycelium with a diameter of 1.5–2 centimeters. Wedges are driven into holes drilled in logs.

Most often, mycelium grown on sawdust is used for inoculation. Cuts are made in the logs at half their diameter, or 15–20 holes are drilled 2 centimeters in diameter and 5 centimeters deep. Contaminated sawdust is introduced here, and the outside of the holes is covered with wax, resin, or sealed with adhesive tape. The consumption of mycelium in this case is 1kg per 1 cubic meter of wood.

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

After infection, the logs are placed in a clean, wind-protected place. The laying of the prepared bars should be carried out without contact with the ground in order to avoid the penetration of pathogens into the mycelium.

Logs are laid in a shaded place, covered with polyethylene on top, this will help to preserve the necessary moisture. In dry, hot weather, additional watering will be required. The most suitable temperature during mycelium growth is 24-28 degrees. With fluctuations in the smaller and larger sides, the growth of the mycelium slows down, and at temperatures above 35 degrees, the shiitake spores can die.

The duration of overgrowing of logs depends on the density and moisture content of the wood and on the ambient conditions (temperature and humidity). Experience shows that mycelium develops faster on soft wood. The period for the development of logs by the mycelium is on average 6–18 months. The wood is considered mature if it does not ring on impact, and if there are white zones of mycelium on cross-sections.

Fruiting shiitake

In autumn, when the average daily temperature is set at 12-20 degrees, the infected logs are placed in shaded places, either vertically digging into the soil, or stacked in the shape of the letter “X”, maintaining a lean-to configuration.

Under natural conditions, the formation of fruiting bodies is stimulated by rains. But in order not to depend on the mercy of nature, to accelerate fruiting, the logs mastered by mycelium are either soaked in water for 2-3 days, or they are irrigated as needed..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

The first mushrooms begin to appear at a temperature of 12-18 degrees, at first you can notice single fruiting bodies, then they begin to grow already in groups of 25-30 pieces on one log.

Shiitake bears fruit in spring and autumn. The spring harvest is usually larger, but the better quality mushrooms are obtained in the fall. The duration of growing this mushroom on infected logs is 3-6 years, the yield of mushrooms is 15-20% of the wood mass.

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

With the onset of cold weather, the plantation is well covered with spruce branches or straw mats. Shelters are removed in the spring when the air temperature reaches an average of 8-10 degrees.

Cultivation of honey agarics

In addition to oyster mushrooms, champignons and shiitake, some gardeners successfully grow different types of honey agarics on their backyards. In nature, there are several edible varieties of this mushroom – summer honey, winter, autumn and meadow honey. With some effort, all these mushrooms can be grown in summer cottages and vegetable gardens. The cultivation methods in this case will differ depending on what type of seed you have available, as well as on different temperature regimes (as the names themselves say – summer, autumn, winter).

Growing honey agarics on wood waste

Experts call this method intensive, since honey fungus develops and bears fruit on a substrate prepared from wood materials much faster than on stumps or tree sections.

The substrate can be various wood waste of coniferous or deciduous species – sawdust, wood chips, shavings. As a rule, a nutrient medium for cultivation is prepared from a mixture of waste, for example, two parts of sawdust, one part of shavings and one part of chips are taken. It is important to note that wood waste must be well dried before preparing the substrate. During drying, many competing fungi die, and the wood receives the moisture capacity necessary for cultivation..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

The substrate is prepared as follows. Based on one liter of water, add 15 grams of any jam and 15 grams of oatmeal or corn flour (can be replaced with starch). The water is boiled for 20-30 minutes, during evaporation it is added to the original volume.

Wood waste is placed in three-liter or five-liter jars and poured with the prepared boiling solution, tightly closed with lids and kept for 8-10 hours. The consumption rate for a three-liter bottle will be 1.5 liters of solution, for a five-liter bottle – 3 liters.

After that, the jars are opened and the unabsorbed water is drained through a gauze filter. When the water is already released in drops, you can start adding the mycelium. For these purposes, mycelium must be purchased from people who are professionally engaged in breeding honey agaric. Wild forest mycelium is not suitable for the intensive method.

Before sowing, shake out half of the substrate from the bottle into a clean dish. Then scatter over the remaining half of the mycelium and mix thoroughly right inside the jar. The other half is mixed with the mycelium in a bowl, and then poured back into the bottle. The consumption of mycelium in this case will be as follows: 50 grams must be poured onto a 3-liter jar, 100 grams on a 5-liter jar.

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

After sowing, the bottle is closed with a polyethylene lid, in which a 1.5 by 2 cm window is made. This hole is closed with foam rubber so that no gaps are formed anywhere. The prepared jars are placed in a room with high air humidity and a temperature of 22-24 degrees. Light at the moment of overgrowth is not needed.

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

The rudiments of fruiting bodies begin to appear in 1.5–2 months, the lids from the cans must be removed at this time. It is important to ventilate the room well, as an excess of carbon dioxide can lead to underdevelopment of honey agarics. After the end of fruiting, the substrate for re-cultivation can no longer be used. He is taken out to the garden, where he will act as a wonderful organic fertilizer. The waste wood substrate can also be used as mulch. This will increase fertility and improve soil structure in your area. We talked in more detail about mulching in an article from the cycle of organic farming “Let’s Make the Earth Good”.

Growing honey agarics on stumps

Summer, autumn and winter honey fungus can be grown on stumps. Areas with stumps from aspen, birch, pine or spruce are suitable. It is important to note that the state of the stumps before laying the mycelium must correspond to some necessary parameters..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

The stumps should not be infected with tinder fungi, the wood should be dense enough. The moisture content of the stumps in this case plays an important role, since with a lack of moisture, the mycelium will not germinate. This indicator is determined by sight (by dark color) and by touch. You can increase moisture by watering the stumps one to two days before sowing..

For growing honey agarics on stumps, seed can be found in the forest. These will be the fruiting bodies of the honey fungus or parts of the wood affected by the mycelium. If you opted for fruit bodies, then the sowing technique will be as follows. It is necessary to pick up overripe caps with a diameter of 8–12 centimeters. A bucket of water will need 20–25 of them. Soak the caps in water (preferably rain or from a river) and leave for a day. After that, knead the contents of the bucket with your hands until a mushy mass is formed, mix everything well and filter through cheesecloth. It is with such a filtered solution that the ends of the stumps are watered. For better penetration from different sides, depressions and cuts can be made into which the mass remaining after filtration is placed, and then thoroughly watered with the resulting chatterbox from the spores. On one stump with a diameter of 20 cm, pour from 0.5 to 1 liter of solution. The depressions and ends of the stumps after the introduction of the mycelium are well covered with sawdust to maintain the necessary moisture. With this method, the spores germinate slowly, and the honey mushroom crop is obtained, as a rule, after 2 years..

Cultivation of shiitake and honey agarics on a personal plot

You can get a harvest faster (after a year) if you infect the stumps with pieces of wood with an already overgrown mycelium. They are found in the forest in places where honey agaric grows abundantly and chipped off with a special tool – you can use a chisel or work carefully with an ax.

In the prepared stumps, recesses of the required size are made, where the infected wood is tightly hammered. From above, all this must be well covered with sawdust. Honey mushrooms bear fruit at a time when it happens in nature, that is, in summer, autumn and, under suitable conditions, in winter. It all depends on the species. In severe frosts, to avoid freezing, the stumps are densely covered with coniferous branches. On plantations with summer honeydew, branches are harvested in early June, and with autumn and winter – at the end of July.

As you can see, there is nothing particularly complicated in the extensive technology of growing shiitake and honey mushrooms. Having the desire and making some effort, you can provide your family with an ecologically pure valuable food product, which is especially important today. Or you can earn a little extra money, because the demand for mushrooms is constantly growing today..

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