Posted by: Robin Koontz | November 18, 2012

Mushrooms on the Moove

Marvin and I decided to try transplanting chanterelle mushrooms. We read up on the subject and learned stuff we probably already knew but forgot – which is that mushrooms are the flower, and the actual plant can be way underground. The plant is called the miselia or miselium (plural) and is the vegetative part of the mushroom fungus. Mycelium is a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. In the case of chanterelles, the miselium is hosted by tree roots and by our observation around here, Douglas fir tree roots. To note, chanterelles are edible mushrooms.


A patch of chanterelle mushrooms on the Funny Farm

We’ve transplanted just about everything, so why not mushrooms? We figured a decent plan was to snag both the flower (because it might go to seed, or in the case of a mushroom, spore) and some mycelium. We had already located a few areas where chanterelles were growing well and picked out two small plots that we wanted to try transplanting. We left other plots untouched but flagged them to see if the shrooms return next fall. We also left the plots we robbed with plenty of untouched flowers and flagged those as well.


Here’s Marvin and our handy little red wagon, with soil that contains (hopefully) mycelium along with a few mushrooms.

The Funny Farm has a new tree plantation (planted in 2005) and an older tree plantation (planted in 1988). We don’t call either a forest, but that’s a subject for another day. The older plantation will be logged at some point, and that’s where the shrooms have been appearing for the last four or five years. Since the newer plantation is growing well, we thought that maybe introducing the shroom spores and mycelium would be a cool experiment. We wonder if the 1988 forest already had mycelium from earlier trees since it was originally an old forest. The 2005 forest was a cattle pasture for decades.


Marvin dug up an area beneath a 7-year old Douglas fir and planted the shroom mycelium, dirt, and flowers.

We planted two plots today that we can monitor on our year-round daily walks. We decided to try a couple more plots, but saved that chore for Thanksgiving day. Who has time to watch football and parades?


Responses

  1. That is very cool. I have tried to get spores to drop and grow. That is a lot like roulette, so far no luck. Did your Chanterelles grow? I see you planted them about 18 months ago.

    • No sign of success yet, Shari, but we figured it could take a while. Unlike above-ground plants, it’s hard to gauge what’s happening until a mushroom flowers! Otherwise they lead a very secret life.

  2. You guys had fun day, great article. Will be fun to watch and see how it progesses.


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