One topic I’ve been fascinated with for a long time is mycology – especially as it relates to edible fungi. Likely the coolest online video I’ve EVER seen featured a large-scale integrated “eco-machine” system set up by Dr. John Todd in Vermont (quite a few years back now – sadly I was never able to track down the video again). It involved using brewery waste to grow oyster mushrooms. The spent mushroom growing substrate was then fed to Red Worms, which were in turn fed to yellow perch in an aquaponics system used to fertilize a variety of plants. It was absolutely amazing!
Even just idea of combining mushroom growing and vermicomposting really appeals to me, so when my good friend Joe Ferrone (links to a Worm Farming Alliance interview) told me he was actually growing oyster mushrooms IN a worm bin, I certainly sat up and took notice!
Joe originally added some oyster mushroom mycelium (“spawn”) to his worm bin thinking it would help to speed up the vermicomposting process, but when he ended up with a nice crop of delicious gourmet mushrooms he (not too surprisingly) got pretty excited!
My own assumption would have been that the worms would end up preventing the oyster mushrooms from ever really gaining a foothold. I’ve certainly seen mushrooms pop up from time to time in my worm beds, but they never seem to last very long.
Now I’m REALLY excited to try this out myself! I think the VB48 in my basement will offer the best chance of success. I’ve read that oyster mushrooms like fairly cool conditions and require some light. I keep some fluorescent lights on in my worm room at all times, and the temps down there are definitely cooler than the rest of the house.
If you want to learn more about Joe’s oyster mushroom vermi-adventure be sure to check out his blog. You need to start at the very beginning to get the full story, so here is a link to the very first page of posts (just start from the bottom and move up, then click the link that says “newer posts”):
I am already shopping around for some oyster mushroom spawn, and making an effort to extract more information from Joe! LOL
Will keep you posted!