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Our Newsletter


Time to plug logs and drink chaga mushroom tea.

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Been cold out, and Knoxville got its first good snow in some time. Despite the chill in the air, we find ourselves looking forward to spring and projects in the mushroom garden. Plugging mushroom logs is a great seasonally appropriate endeavor to take advantage of the downtime and ready more productive material for the garden. Secure freshly cut hardwood (white oaks for shiitake if possible), use pieces about as big around and long as your leg, order up some plugs and waxing supplies... drill, tap, wax, and stack. We tell people all the time "it's not rocket science," and we mean it. Slightly more detailed instructions can be found here. Logs inoculated in late winter or early spring can sometimes have enough good incubation time to be producing by the fall. Generally it will take about a year before most mushroom logs are productive.

Cathy's also been very busy in the lab, bulking up our supply of mushroom plug spawn and adding some new species to the list. She's added beech clam mushroom, a cool weather shiitake, and pioppino mushroom. By expanding the mushrooms varieties available in plugs, gardeners can select varieties that may be more appropriate for the wood they have available. We're looking forward to experimenting with many of these mushrooms in our demonstration garden, so please stay tunes in the coming months as we catalog our progress and share the results. If you are interested in pursuing log culture of some of these non-traditional mushroom log varieties, we highly recommend picking up a copy of Paul Stamets book, "Mycelium Running." This title is full of useful suggestions for approaching log culture using a variety of mushroom species. It also details many other approachable mushroom gardening projects and is a valuable resource in any shroomer's library.

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About half our space here in mushroom shop central is open unheated and uncooled warehousey-like space. It's real pleasant most of the year, but when temps get down in the 20s at night, it gets downright nippy in there. To combat the chill in the air, Everything Mushrooms staffers have been keeping warm and infused with freshly brewing chaga mushroom tea. It's really neat how you can just toss a chunk of chaga mushroom in a slow cooker full of water, let it go at low for about eight hours and produce such a tasty, healthy, warming beverage. No other additives needed and the flavor is quite pleasant. Honey definitely helps, but we've also been pushing this off on folks who stop by, and most of them comment that it really needs no sweetening. You can read more about chaga mushroom and it's medicinal benefits in David Wolfe's book "Chaga, King of the Medicinal Mushrooms" We have freshly ground chaga available in 2oz portions. The ground chaga is added to water and allowed to rehydrate for 30 mins. Heat at low temp for 30 more minutes to several hours. The tea can be allowed to simmer but never boil. The ground chaga will brew a stronger tea a bit quicker than the chunk form. It can be strained out and reused for several brews or until it no longer brews a tea to your strength preference. We have the chunk form available at our retail store, however its irregular shape and weight make it difficult to "meter" for online sale. If you are interested in purchasing the chunk form and having it shipped, please give us a call, that's about the easiest way to handle it. Our 2oz ground chaga is $8, the chunk form is priced at $3/oz and available in store or by phone request.

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