Saturday, February 9, 2013

Growing Our Own Mushrooms.

Bear and I were at our local Farmer's Market where we met Ryan Wolverton from Soul 2 Grow.  We were both fascinated and intrigued that we could grow our own mushrooms on a log. You drill a few holes into a log and insert the mushroom dowels and within 6-9 months you have mushrooms.  I asked Ryan if I could interview him for my blog so that you all could learn more about mushrooms and maybe want to join in the mushroom growing fun. This blog ain't all about bitching... it's about learning too. Pay attention, there will be a quiz later.

Preparing log. (Source)
Mushrooms growing on log. (Source)

Where are you originally from?

I’m originally from San Marcos, California

What exactly did you study at Oregon State?  What is Mycology?

I studied Botany and Plant Pathology with a Fungal Biology emphasis.

Mycology is an umbrella term used to classify the scientific study of fungi. Mycologist study many different aspects of fungi. For instance, while I was obtaining my education at OSU, I worked in a mycology lab that focused on resolving phylogenetic relationships amongst and within fungal taxa. Other mycology labs study things like fungal ecology, biology, biotechnology, fermentation, bio-remediation, bio-control, proteomics, and pathogenicity just to name a few.

As a child did you have lots of experiments growing in the basement?

Not at all. As a child, I was mostly pre-occupied with skateboarding, surfing, and music. It wasn’t until about 2002 that I really started “experimenting” with growing fungi.

What is involved in 'growing a culture'?

Fungal cultures can be started with either a small fragment of living mushroom tissue or by spores. Most often, the tissue or spores are placed on a nutrient filled petri dish and allowed to grow for two weeks at room temperature. After two weeks, the cultures are visibly inspected for purity. Petri dishes that pass the purity inspection are used to inoculate growth-supporting substrates like wood or they are placed in cold storage for later use.

Growing a culture. (Source)
Tell us about your business and why you decided to do this?

Soul 2 Grow is a local company committed to creating opportunities for everyone to LEARN and ENJOY the challenges and rewards of growing fungi. We offer products, classes, seminars and hands-on workshops designed to teach techniques for successful mushroom cultivation. We strive to 1) adhere to sustainable, organic mushroom cultivation practices and 2) synthesize current scientific developments and traditional knowledge in order to gain as much insight as possible into the art of growing. Soul 2 Grow is also dedicated to creating open forums to discuss and explore the empirical and theoretical roles that fungi play in our lives.

Do you give Mushroom Expedition Picking Tours?

Not currently. I recommend that people interested in guided mushroom forays visit the Cascade Mycological Society or North American Truffling Society websites. 

Are you able to ship out of the State of Oregon?

Yes. Visit for a list of the products we sell.

What is your favorite mushroom?

My favorite mushroom is the Oregon Reishi mushroom. Its Latin name is Ganoderma oregonense. It grows quite large here in Oregon and has a beautiful shiny red cap surface. In addition to its beauty, it’s a potent medicinal mushroom that can help mammals fight a number of flu, bacterial, and cancer related ailments.

Oregon Reishi (Source)

What is your worst mushroom?

It’s hard to say. One thing that really bothers me is when restaurants serve button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) raw. Button mushrooms contain compounds that can be harmful when consumed raw. However, this risk is easily avoided by thoroughly cooking the mushrooms. With the exception of truffles, in very small amounts, mushrooms are always better and safer to consume when cooked.

Thanks Ryan, we are looking forward to enjoying our first crop.  


  1. What an interesting guy he seems and by reading this an expert in his field. Soul2grow's idea of growing mushrooms in an old log seems really ingenious. I do hope you are successful in your venture. :)

    1. I will be posting updates as soon as we have our first crop.

  2. Wow, I always thought it would be interesting to try and grow my own mushrooms. Of course somehow I would end up growing a poisonous one so I never tried.

    1. Now you can grow your own. The good kind that you can eat.

  3. I didn't know that about white button mushrooms! Yikes. I also didn't know you could grow your own mushrooms -- now I kinda want to!

    1. I never have been a fan of raw mushrooms. Now I know why.

  4. What a great and fascinating post. It's like a high-end Chia Pet (well, maybe not). But really fascinating. I, on the other hand, am growing mushrooms on my walls. No log needed.

    1. Ah but you're mushrooms are they edible? ;-)

  5. How are they coming? I'm hoping the chunk of oak you're using will pass on it's love through your mushrooms...

    1. We have not put them in the log yet as we have to wait until the freeze is over. The log is sitting outside staying nice and moise.


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