Can you tell we’re excited about fresh mushrooms?? This journey began almost two years ago when we applied for and got the Next Stage Grant from the Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund. Our project was to build an indoor fruiting chamber so we could grow mushrooms inside during the winter. Someday I’ll write up a detailed list of the shenanigans involved, but this project has been a bit of a pain right from the start. We re-purposed a walk-in cooler for the chamber and on day 1 we could not get the walls to go back together! Adding insulation, additional flooring, piping, electrical, lights and so forth has gone relatively well, but very slowly. The summer season is just so busy, no one could spare time to work on it!
We finally got the water hooked up with pumps, misters, reverse-osmosis, etc and we’ve spent the last couple months tracking down all the various leaks and replacing various joints, elbows, and other random pieces. It’s like that old game Water Works – we’re almost done, almost to our goal, and someone puts a leaky pipe somewhere in the works!
The worst of it was last Sunday when too much pressure built up (we’re still not sure how or why) and the pipes in our basement (that lead out to the packshed where the fruiting chamber is) burst, filling the basement with water!
(Don’t worry, we got the water all pumped out by the end of the day and our basement is back to normal.)
We’re now dealing with the misters not working and needing to replace a pump. However, despite all this, it is plenty warm and humid in the chamber so we’ve had a small number of mushroom blocks fruiting away. This weekend you’ll have your pick of shiitake, oyster, and chestnut – a new mushroom for us. We got some lion’s mane kits this week so stay tuned for those.
A big thank you to the Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund and the folks that donate to that. This project took way longer than we thought it would, but we wouldn’t have been able to get started without their help!