The middle of Autumn, when we're busy harvesting the last produce from our garden, is a great time to start growing mushrooms. One of the most accessible ways to enjoy mushrooms before winter is to grow Oyster mushrooms on leaf litter. I started a leaf litter mushroom bed at the Growing Center to experiment with this growing technique. I spread a layer of fallen leaves (24" x 12"x 3") on top of the soil and then sprinkled in oyster grain spawn (think of it as a mushroom 'seedling'). Then, I added another 3" of leaf litter and another round of spawn.
I chose to inoculate Oyster mushrooms because they colonize quickly and are highly versatile. However, this is an experimental method of growing mushrooms and not nearly as effective as growing mushrooms on hardwood logs. A frost may kill the mycelium or rodents could eat the grain spawn. We should see if it works in about two weeks!
Claire Cekander is a volunteer at the SCGC and recently moved to Somerville after working at North Spore Mushroom Co. in Westbrook, Maine.