There has been an ongoing interest around cultivating mushrooms here at UBC Farm. Many student projects have looked at the viability of commercial production of mushrooms and years ago, some trials were established. Although none of the previous explorations into mushroom cultivation remain, we have a renewed interest in assessing the feasibility of this enterprise. To do this, we are researching all angles of production and will be using the ‘Agroforestry Production Development Tool’ (which we are developing with funding from the Agroforestry Industry Development Industry) to determine the viability of adding mushroom cultivation to the already full plate of UBC Farm production!
This spring, a small trial of shiitake, inoculated on alder logs, was set up by practicum student Fabio Martini. Alder trees are abundant around the farm and with a small investment of spawn and some labour of love, 65 logs were inoculated and stacked in two locations; the alder stand south of the Children’s garden and the Douglas fir stand near the aboriginal hub.
A number of variables are being explored with this preliminary trial including the comparison of; budded and pre-budded alder, sawdust spawn and dowel spawn, alder stand location (increased wind and sun exposure) and Douglas fir stand (less wind and sun exposure) and stacking methods.
This curiosity-based trial also serves as a demonstration site for visitors who would like to observe the progression of this process. Once we have used the APD tool to assess the viability of commercial mushroom cultivation we will be able to determine whether or not we explore other ways of producing mushrooms of various type, on a bigger scale. Until then, the research continues!
Finished logs stacked in the Douglas fir stand, complete with irrigation set up.