I got a pile of beech logs from my work recently (we were cutting back branches from a road to allow a wind turbine to be driven down it) so I went straight to Ann Miller’s Speciality Mushrooms to get some shiitake spawn. I’ve written before about inoculating with shiitake, but this time I also bought some ink cap and morel spawn, both of which live on organic matter in the soil.
The ink cap spawn went in a cold compost heap under a fruit tree. If the heap is too fresh then the heat that it generates will kill the fungus, but I built this one a couple of years ago, so it should be fine. I pulled off the loose layers on the top, mixed the spawn into the top 10 cm and then capped the heap off with a bit of soil.
The morel has slightly more exacting requirements. Some books say to plant it on an old fire site, some that it likes the leaf mould under ash trees (one way or another, it likes ashes). I didn’t want to build a fire in the forest garden, but we have a wood stove, so I have plenty of ash. I dug up the wild garlic from a small patch under the Japanese plum, mixed some wood ash, mature compost and 2-year-old leaf mould into the soil and added the morel spawn. Then I topped it off with some more leaves to keep the moisture in and replanted the wild garlic. By the time the morels fruit the wild garlic should have died down.
Only time will tell if it has worked: I’ll let you know.