Growing Mushrooms on Logs, Stumps, and Woodchips
Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits, including improving farmer stewardship of forested lands and the ability to offer a unique and highly desired product. With a bit of practice, mushrooms can be easily grown in the woods on many products that can be the surplus of healthy forest management.
This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm scale woodland mushroom production. Students will learn the basic biology of mushrooms, cultivation techniques for shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and stropharia mushrooms, proper conditions for fruiting, management needs, and harvesting and marketing mushrooms.
Note: In addition to weekly online
readings, presentation, and discussion, participants are encouraged to purchase a spawn
kit to try mini mushroom experiments at home.
Kits are an additional $30 and purchase details and kit contents are listed in the course curriculum.
All levels - This course is for new farmers, or experienced farmers seeking to diversify their operations. It’s also relevant to woodlot owners and backyard gardeners interested in this topic. Growing as a viable economic enterprise will be stressed, though techniques can also be applied at the hobby scale. Mushroom farming is an easy topic for beginners with some experience farming and managing crop systems. Those with knowledge of forestry and chainsaw use may be able to move along more quickly.
At the completion of this course, you will:
- Be able to describe the basics of mushroom production, harvesting, and marketing
- Connect mushroom cultivation to the management of healthy forests
- Complete a basic marking plan and budget for a mushroom enterprise
- Understand the logistics of management, sales, and legal issues related to mushroom farming
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
2020 Webinars ran every Tues night from mid-Jan through
Feb 18. If you register now, you will be able to watch those recordings
your own time, and/or join in the next round of live webinars beginning
in mid-Jan 2021.
Steve grew up in the Finger Lakes Region and graduated from Empire State College with a BS in Environmental Science, an educational path which incorporated aspects of forestry, ecology, and permaculture. He co-founded the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in 2005 and began working at Cornell in 2009 in the Department of Horticulture, focusing on permaculture and agroforestry research and education. Along with his wife Elizabeth, he operates Wellspring Forest Farm in Mecklenburg NY where they produce shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, and maple syrup. He has co-authored a book called Farming the Woods with Cornell professor Ken Mudge, published in Fall 2014, and authored the book Silvopasture: A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem, published in 2018.