Mushroom Cultivation

Mushrooms in the Garden Workshop

King stropharia mushrooms!

Do you like the idea of having gourmet mushrooms springing up among your crops in the garden? Come to a “Mushrooms in the Garden” workshop at the Ithaca Community Gardens on Sunday, August 28, as part of the Garden Education Program’s summer workshop series. The workshop is free and open to the public.

At the workshop, I will demonstrate how to inoculate a garden bed with the sun-loving king stropharia, or garden giant, mushroom. Not only are garden giants tasty, but there is also evidence that they boost soil fertility and improve the yields of some crops. Learn about other mushroom species that thrive in the garden, and discover how to develop a perennial myco-landscape in your backyard.

If you’d like to attend, meet at the Ithaca Community Gardens gazebo at 11am Sunday morning. The workshop will be approximately one hour long.

UPDATE on 8/27/11: Due to the impending rains from Hurricane Irene, the workshop has been postponed until Sunday, September 18 at 11am.

Mushroom Cultivation at the Cornell Youth Grow Summit

Ari answers a question about mushroom cultivation.

Over 35 high school students gathered outside Cornell University’s Plant Science building on a sunny late June morning for “Mushroom Cultivation for Fun and Profit,” a workshop I co-led at the 2011 Youth Grow Summit with Steve Gabriel – a Cornell Garden-Based Learning co-worker and Program Director for the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute.

Youth Grow empowers high school-aged youth to become leaders in cultivating sustainable food systems, and the Summit brings youth from rural and urban areas throughout New York together for three days of educational workshops, networking, and knowledge sharing.

The Youth Grow Summit was an inspiring event, as the participants had a genuine passion for making the world a better place by improving our food systems. I was happy to see that there was such wide interest in mushroom cultivation among the youth – several told me the day before how excited they were, and the event coordinators ultimately had to put a cap on the workshop enrollment.

Steve Gabriel and Ari Rockland-Miller presenting at the 2011 Cornell Youth Grow Summit.

Even more importantly, the participants were engaged and excited about learning. They asked thoughtful questions as Steve and I demonstrated techniques for cultivating shiitake, oyster, and king stropharia mushrooms. Conveniently, one of my favorite wild king stropharia patches was within a stone’s throw of the workshop location. I don’t usually give away my mushroom spots, but this one was well worth it for the educational value!

Once we tuned into the natural world beneath our feet, other surprises awaited us, too! When I picked up an earthworm that was wriggling amongst the woodchips, a few students screamed in repulsion. One young woman, however, was more intrigued than repulsed. She reached out to hold the worm, and once she grabbed it an onlooker became eager to join the fun. I pushed aside the top layer of woodchips and found a nice plump one for her. It was all worth it for the huge smile on her face as she marveled at the worm’s slippery texture as it squirmed around in her palm!

Steve Gabriel explains how to grow oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds.

A workshop participant from Brooklyn holds an earthworm.

Spring Mushroom Cultivation & Foraging Workshop

Spring 2010 Shiitake Cultivation Workshop at Shining Sun Earth Renewal Center

Like shiitakes, morels, and lion’s mane mushrooms? If you’re in the Northeast, consider coming to Ari’s upcoming Mushroom Cultivation & Foraging Workshop! The workshop will be held at Shining Sun Earth Renewal Center in Guilford, Vermont from Friday, May 6 through Sunday, May 8, 2011. You can read more about the workshop on our Workshops & Events page, and you can view the workshop schedule here.

Maximum of 18 participants. For inquiries and registration please contact Ari via email at anr44 [at] cornell [dot] edu or via telephone at (413) 687-2184!

UPDATE The workshop is now full! Stay tuned for future workshops, or contact Ari (see above) to be added to our mailing list.

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