Back here, I mentioned sending away for a kit to grow my own luminescent mushrooms. I’d like to follow up as I promised myself I would, and let you know the package arrived in about a week. Here’s what ya get:
The kit includes instructions, a candle, and a bag containing wood dowels impregnated with the spores of panellus stypticus, the glowing mushroom of choice. The only extras needed are a drill and bit, and a host log, preferably — according to the instructions — of oak.
In South Florida we have live oaks (quercus virginiana), a venerable tree that can grow to enormous size, spreading and twisting outwards to resemble a frantic octopus suddenly stilled. I am lucky enough to have one in my front yard, but I didn’t want to cut it unnecessarily. Well, only me: I drove around and actually found some cut branches sitting at the base of a live oak a few blocks away.
The kit advises to use freshly cut and wet wood to properly feed the spores. Using a 5/16″ drill bit, I drilled inch-deep holes in a diamond pattern, pushed the plugs of wood into each hole, and then sealed them all by lighting the candle and dripping wax over each site. This keeps in moisture, and keeps out unwanted fungi or other microbes.
So now we play the waiting game. The spores are hopefully even now reaching out with their mycellia, decaying the wood with enzymes that can break down the hardest wood. In a few months I should see a white filament on the ends of the log; that’ll be the mycellium. Then, as it matures, the mycellium will hopefully reach the wood’s surface and fruit into panellus stypticus, the glowing mushroom.