As you walk through the Edible Garden entrance (directly across from the Visitor Center), you may see some funny little stumps with stakes next to them.
These are totems which have been inoculated with Lion’s Mane mushroom. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is one of the many native fungi that call our forest ‘home’. It plays an important role in the decomposition of trees. With the decomposition of trees, nutrients are released back into the soil that otherwise would be trapped within the wood.
These totem are made out of Beech wood, which was harvested from a tree that was downed in a recent storm. The logs were cut into sizable portions and then stacked with the mushroom spawn I’m between each section. We staked them so the wind wouldn’t knock them over, and used hemp twine to tie paper bags over where the spawn was placed. The bags help retain moisture and ensure that insects have a harder time eating the spawn.
In the Edible Garden, we believe in the cyclical nature of well… nature! By showcasing native decomposers we can better educate visitors about the importance of biodiversity and permaculture.
It takes six to ten months before we will see harvestable mushrooms from these totems, and that’s under perfect conditions. With that said, I’m proud to report that we have good signs of growth on several sections of the totems.
Hopefully this time next year we will have delicious Lion’s Mane mushrooms to share with you at Isaac’s Café!
— Dane DeWitt, Edible Gardener