(1) rinse, sterilize and cool the wood chips;
At right, Janette Fischer starts a fire under the 55 gallon drum of water. When the water is boiling, the washed chips are added.
(2) inoculate chips with spawn, fill bags, identify and date them;
In photo at left, Janette takes the spawn from a jar, breaks it up, spreads it on the cooled chips and mixes them really well.
Inoculated chips, at right, are placed in plastic mushroom bags. To maintain good records, the bags are marked with the type of mushroom, the type of chips, the date the spawn was started and the date the chips were inoculated.
The new mushroom laboratory, at left, has a laminar flow filter to keep the area on the table clean.
(3) put bags in a dark, moist plce for several weeks to let the mycellium grow and when covered with white, poke holes to allow more air so mushrooms can grow;
New immature oyster mushrooms are starting to grow from the inoculated bag.
(4) harvest mature mushrooms and use the substrate for forest restoration work.
Before beginning, be sure to have enough of the desired native mushroom mycellium (spawn) ready to inoculate all the wood chips to be used.
Photo at right is a close-up of the spawn. The whiter it is, the more spawn there is. In the wild, mushrooms spread their mycellium underground in the same way, growing compactly, keeping in moisture, and stabilizing soils.
In keeping with our desire to encourage ecological education for the young people of this area, we taught 14 year old Maria Sam, from the Picuris Pueblo, the sterile technique required for mushroom culture. She is shown working in our lab as part of her school science project for which she received honorable mention.
The SCZ New Mexico Fungi Bank now includes 18 species of native fungi. Test tubes, with a sample of each species, are kept in a refrigerator, at right, where they will last for one year. Then they must be transferred to fresh agar.
The steps in forest restoration are on the next page.
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