October 17th, 2010


Project Idea

I'll be doing this once I have space to do it, but I'm writing it down so I'll remember, and so you all can try it too: Grow mushrooms on junk mail.

Oyster mushrooms are usually cultivated on sawdust or cereal grain, but apparently do well on office paper. The scientific study in that link determined that under the right conditions you can get a greater than 100% production of edible mushrooms from paper. Meaning (I think) from 10 kilos of paper you could grow, say, 14 pounds of oyster mushrooms. The secret ingredient is water. I'm not sure why more isn't being done to encourage growing food on waste products (though some marketing savvy would be needed to make that sound less gross to a public that wrinkles its nose at brown mushrooms and apples with spots).

I'm going to use junk mail because I hate it so much and there is so much of it in my life, and it would be nice to see it rotting and something good coming out of it. Giggling Wizard should try it on his farm, using soiled cardboard crates or old newspaper or something. Sustainably grown gourmet food!

I suspect the difficulty might be in growing the right kind of fungus--if the oyster spawn didn't take, you might end up with a big barrel (or bag) of dark gray slimy gunk. But that's a risk I'm willing to take, once I have room to keep the barrel away from the house.

Mushroom cultivation link!
Buy spawn here!
Or buy spawn here!