Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The mysterious 'Hooded Scavenger' ('HS') goes about his work                                                                                           UHG

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to a mushroom growing workshop by none other than Gary Goldman ‘The Mushroom Guru’ himself and his scientifically-minded mate Craig Fourie. Together they ran an informative, practical, yet casual workshop on how to grow shitake and oyster mushrooms. During the workshop we each prepared two logs, which we hope will sprout scrumptious shitake mushies in anything from six to eighteen months. Instant gratification it is not.

Almost ready for the pan     The Mushroom Guru
The result of much patience  The Mushroom Guru

So, basically what one has to do is to get yourself a recently-felled oak log (oak is best), drill a bunch of holes in it about a fist distance apart, tap shitake-inoculated dowels into each hole, seal with wax and wait and wait and wait … I believe the bigger the log, the longer the wait, but once the log starts producing it will do so for longer.

I got so excited by this whole endeavor that I immediately rushed off and bought 500 dowels from Gary. Now, 500 dowels equals a lot of oak logs and I soon found out that freshly cut oak logs are not easy to come by.

A friend had told me that a large oak tree had been blown over in a public space where he goes jogging. A plan started turning over in my head: this was a job for my mysterious mate ‘The Hooded Scavenger’. Anyhow my hooded friend consulted with his friends and his friends’ friends, and we were all assured that no environmental nastiness would result from this cunning plan. With any luck, just basket loads of delicious mushies. I mean, how bad can that be?

'HS' smacking in a Shitake-inoculated dowel (after many finger bashings, he changed to a rubber mallet)              UHG
Now, you might have heard of ‘guerrilla gardening’ where kindly folk create gardens in public spaces, so as to brighten up the area with flowers and edible plants. There is also ‘seed bombing’ where for the same reason seeds are scattered about. So ‘The Hooded Scavenger’ and a few of his friends headed off to the fallen oak, armed with a battery-operated drill, a packet of shitake-inoculated dowels, a few candles and a great deal of stealth (bar the whining drill and smacking mallet) and went about ‘spawn bombing’ some sawed logs from the fallen oak.

Only time will tell if his plan is really one of great cunning…

A huge thanks to Craig and Gary for sharing their knowledge so generously.

Please refer to their website (www.mushroomguru.co.za) for info on mushroom and future workshops.

Isn't that nature thingy brilliant?                                         The Mushroom Guru