A few people asked me about easy hands-on applied mycology projects so I thought I’d start a thread for this.
In terms of putting on workshops, the problem for quick one-day events is that mycelium takes some time to grow. At BAAM we’ve done a “make your own oyster bag” table at events and people LOVED it but not sure how exciting this is for people who are already science geeks. The other thing you can do is make “myco-tecture” molds. Both of these involve preparing the materials beforehand and then bringing them for people to put together.
for the oyster mushroom bag workshop, all you need to do is pasteurize a bunch of straw, grow (or buy) some spawn, put it out on a table and mix it together (or let them mix it themselves), and then bring fresh (basically sterile) bags, gloves, and isopropyl alcohol to keep people’s hands clean, and something to poke holes in the bags. It’s an easy way to teach people about fungi and myco-culture.
I’ve never done the myco-tecture workshop myself but it seems pretty easy. From what I understand, you’re putting the spawn into the mold, letting it grow out, and then eventually letting it dry out (and die).
Other projects that are fun:
- the cigarette eating fungus: little PDF doc here; Radical Mycology version here.
- you can set up a little myco-remediation project – check out the BAAM Facebook Page for notes and a GIF time lapse. This is really easy to set-up.
- mycotecture experimentation – http://studiomurmur.net/docs/MyceliumFinalReport_08082014.pdf
=> really cool PDF from an art studio in Chicago that experimented with making materials
- make weird tempehs with other kinds of fungus – one of the BAAMers makes a thing he calls “Cordecempe” with cordyceps.
To learn more cultivation techniques, for the basics, a cultivator I respect most recommends this one:
The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms: Simple and Advanced Techniques for Growing Shiitake, Oyster, Lion’s Mane, and Maitake Mushrooms at Home, by Stephen Russell
Of course the classics are Paul Stamets’s book (The Mushroom Cultivator [here’s a PDF] and Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms) but they’re pretty outdated now, but still excellent for learning the art and science. Peter McCoy just published a massive book called Radical Mycology but it’s expensive ($50) and includes everything under the sun. If you just want to learn to cultivate and don’t need the philosophy of mushrooms, then go with the Russel book, Rush Wayne, or just read on Shroomery, and play from there.
And the best resource is always SHROOMERY! Good for learning and for trouble-shooting. These people know everything. As with any instructional forum, search the archives first before asking a question…
So this is a start, I hope it’s helpful!