Start growing your own mushrooms today!  The Following feature is an excerpt from Michael Judd’s new book, Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist. We would love to hear your stories and experience with growing your own mushrooms in the comments below.

Outdoor Mushroom Growing

The world of fungi is a fantastic journey of infinite exploration. While that is true, we must limit this chapter to exploring the back yard, homegrown fungi. We will explore the wonders of growing your own tasty mush- rooms and how to use them to enhance the overall vitality of your edible landscape. Also, and possibly most importantly, we will explore how we can pair with fungi to help clean up our watersheds.

You may already know the true pleasure of tasting the variety of mushrooms available commercially. This pleasure is nothing when compared to the supreme flavor of wood-grown fungi harvested directly from your back yard.

Back Yard Fungi

I often hear, “My yard is so shady that I can’t grow anything.” To which I get my big cheesy grin going and say, “Oh yeah you can! Mushrooms love shade!”

Growing mushrooms outdoors is much easier than you may think.

Primarily, I grow three types of mushrooms: shiitake, oyster, and wine cap. These types are easy to grow, tasty, and versatile. I grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms on logs, and the wine cap mushroom, also known as King Stropharia or Garden Giant, I grow on wood chips. All three of these have a wide temperature range for growing as long as there is moisture—make that moisture, moisture, moisture! I If you retain nothing else from this chapter, simply remember: moisture = mushrooms.

Cedar Raised Planters - Eartheasy.com

Log Culture – The Nitty Gritty

Many types of trees can be used for growing edible mushrooms. In general, you should use hardwoods like maple, poplar, willow, birch, and beech, while avoiding species such as black locust, black walnut, and most evergreens. Our land here in Maryland is rich in tulip poplar and hard maple, perfect for oyster and shiitake, respectively. Oak is the king wood for shiitake, with its thick, protective bark and strong, long-lasting wood. A good oak log can produce beautiful shiitakes for up to eight years, whereas a softer wood like poplar may produce for only three to four years.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.35.48 PM

Maple logs ready to inoculate.

Now, you might be thinking, “How is cutting down trees to grow mushrooms ecological?” Our forests have lamentably been chopped down multiple times since the New World began, and the resulting regrowth is usually a cluster of crowded saplings.

A practice of sustainable forestry is the thinning of small diameter trees to allow the larger, more mature trees to grow and to let in more sunlight that helps regenerate the forest floor. These saplings are the perfect size for mushroom log cultivation.

Simply grabbing some old firewood off the pile to grow your mushrooms won’t work, since the wood already has its own funky fungi going on. Mush- room wood needs to be fresh and from healthy trees. I cut my wood at winter’s end before sap rise, which in Maryland is around the end of February/early March. Trees or branches approximately six inches in diameter are best. A larger diameter is fine if you have the brawn; however, smaller diameters are not recommended, as the wood will dry out too easily. Once downed, I mark and cut the logs at about 40 inches in length, which makes a manageable size to move around. I then leave the logs where they are, slightly lifted off the ground, or move them where it is moist, leaving them for about three weeks. This period allows the tree’s natural anti-fungal properties to die off and the temperature to warm up for inoculation in late March or early April.

Note: if you have healthy wood that was downed during the winter, it is usable as long as you inoculate in the early Spring.

Ninja Move: Put spore-inoculated bar oil from Fungi Perfecti* in your chainsaw so that as you cut wood, you seed the stumps and surrounding debris. Throw some sawdust back on the stump to help keep in the moisture.

Life Without Fungi

We would not exist if it were not for fungi. The handsome shiitake, glorious oyster, and many other tasty characters belong to a group called saprophytic fungi. These guys are the first ones on the scene when a tree dies. They start
the process of decomposition and ultimate soil building. If it weren’t for this crew of fungi, we would be living on a mile high pile of wood, not down here digging in the rich earth.

Fungi-Growing Medium

Fungi, the mushroom body, is made up of thread-like cells that weave together to make a network. When ready to fruit and release spores (seed), up pops the edible shoots we love so much. If you have ever kicked aside the leaf litter in a forest and seen the white web- bing, then you’ve seen fungi. We call these threads “mycelium.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.37.49 PM

Plug spawn with mycelium.

For mushroom cultivation, we want specific fungi mycelium (i.e., shiitake and oyster strains). The mycelium growth is started on saw- dust, straw, grain, or little wooden plugs. When inoculated with myce- lium these mediums are called “spawn.” Think of them as kindlingto get the mycelium going. For beginning ease, I suggest purchasing spawn with mycelium on them from one of the many fine mushroom supply outfits; ideally, one close to your weather range. I am a big fan of Field & Forest.** Their claim is: “Proud to be part of this rotting world.” Their website and online catalog are a perfect package of how- to’s and materials for beginners.

There are numerous spawn options, but for small-scale use, I pre- fer the plug spawn. Plug spawn are little birch dowels that arrive covered in the mycelium variety you choose. These spawn will be inserted into the logs.

*FungiPerfecti.com for chainsaw spores and a universe of mush- room supply and info

**Field & Forest www.fieldforest.net


  • A log roughly 6 inches in diameter by 40 inches long will take between 30-40 plug spawn. 250 plugs run about $20.
  • There are shiitake and oyster varieties that fruit at different temperature ranges, offering extended harvest throughout the growing season (early spring to late fall). Spawn can be ordered a month or so in advance and kept refrigerated.
  • You can also collect your own spores from local fruiting varieties (which has the benefit of being a more resilient strain).
  • I highly recommend reading “Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World,” by Paul Stamets. I consider this to be the bible on mushroom cultivation and use.

Setting Up the “Shroom Zone”

Before the big bucks start to roll in from your mushroom sales, a bare bones work area is needed. Come late March/early April, I set up my super low-tech mushroom inocula- tion area outside the garage. It’s comprised of a few straw bales laying flat, a strong electric drill, a hammer, an old camping stove, and a nasty old fondue pot.

Material List

  • ‰Hardwood logs (6 inches by 40 inches)
  • ‰5/16″ wood drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Straw bales as work bench or other low surface to work on ‰}Hammer
  •  Camping stove or other outdoor heating source
  • Wax (cheese or bees)
  • A small bristle brush, small paint brush, or wax dauber ‰}Spawn
  • Good beer
  • Optional: metal label tags

Drilling Diamonds

Once you have your shroom zone set up and first brew poured, it’s time to arm yourself with a drill. The logs are going to be drilled in a diamond pattern for the plug spawn. Start the first row two inches from the log’s end.

Drilling Pattern

Drilling Pattern

Space the holes every six inches. The depth of the hole is important. Ideally, the plug will be inserted to a depth just below the bark, almost flush, but not sticking out, about 1 inch deep. Field & Forest sells ninja drill bits that have stoppers on them for the correct depth, but I have used a piece of tape or a pen mark on the bit to eyeball the depth. It’s good to drill a few holes and check the depths by tapping in the spawn to see how it fits. Soon, you’ll get the feel for it. Use caution not to drill too deep, as that leaves a dry air pocket.

Once you have your first row done, rotate the log two inches and begin the next row, starting between the first two holes of the previous row, approximately five inches down. Continue rotating the log two inches for every new row and offsetting the holes to create a diamond pattern. The inches here are approximate, so don’t get worked up, just pull on the brew for balance. Drilling this many holes is a bit overkill, but it’s necessary to make sure that our chosen fungi is the one that colonizes and out-competes any other funky airborne fungi.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.40.19 PM

Drilling log with good beer.

Whacking in spawn plugs is fun. Those skills you built up playing the fair game Whack a Mole are about to pay off. As fun as whacking stuff may be, we need to be careful not to damage the bark. The bark on your log is the skin that keeps the moisture in, so handle it gently. Oaks, with their thick bark, are favored in this process; poplars, with thin and brittle bark, not so much. Some folks recommend using rubber mallets, but I find workshop participants tossing them aside in favor of the metal hammer. Now, armed with your hammer and bag of spawn, let’s get to it. Keep in mind that the bag of spawn is sensitive to drying out and should be protected from sun and wind while working.

About the time I’m ready to start whacking in spawn, I set up my hybrid wax-melting station. This station uses an old Coleman, two- burner propane gas stove. I set this up about 20 feet from the drilling and whacking stations, as the wax smoke can get thick and the wax will inevitably drip. I’ve seen set-ups in the garage with a plug-in burner and tarp underfoot, but that somehow loses the outdoors mystique. Both approaches work. For a pot, I use an old fondue pot, but really any pot will do. Some more legit folks might recommend using a double boiler and putting water in the bottom of the first pot or even just placing a metal bowl in a pot with water as a makeshift double boiler.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.40.26 PM

Whacking in spawn plug.

I use a cheese wax that I get in big chunks cheaply from Field & Forest, and it seems to last forever. Start off with a fist-sized chunk. I crank the heat to medium high and watch until the wax melts clear and starts to fine bubble. Then, turn the heat to low, around 300 degrees. You want the wax to be as hot as possible without catching on fire. I judge the heat by the smoke; a thin smoke is good, while a thick one is getting close to the flash point. Often during workshops, where I have a small army of first-time drillers and whackers, I forget to turn the wax down and it catches on fire. It’s no huge blaze, but you cannot salvage the wax once it’s caught fire. I carefully take it off the burner, dump it on the gravel drive, and start again. The flash point is easier to control with a double boiler set up. The trick is to have the wax as hot as possible to ensure a good seal that traps moisture and keep critters out; otherwise, the wax can dry and peel off. Once your wax is hot, use a small bristle brush, a steel baster, or wax daubers (which are a dollar a pop from Field & Forest) to dab the wax over each spawn.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.40.35 PM

Waxing logs.

If you have, or plan to have, multiple types of mushrooms, it is a good idea to label the logs with aluminum

A Shady Place for Some Shady Characters

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.56.58 PM

Logs under deck during spawn run.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.57.03 PM

Leaning logs ready to fruit under evergreens.

The next stage in the fungi journey is one of the most critical: the spawn run. This is when the mycelium jumps off the spawn into the log and begins to colonize it. This can take anywhere from six to eighteen months. Be patient and have faith. Place the logs flat during  the spawn run, just off the ground an inch or two. Moisture during this time is key. The logs want to be placed in a shady place that imitates a forest setting, out of the wind, and, ideally, close to the house and watering source. If you have a naturally moist, shady area around your house, that is a good spot. My new favorite place to stash logs is under the deck, where water falls through and the house blocks the wind. The fungi love it! Another good spot is underneath evergreens that are porous and allow enough water to fall through. You can create your own shade with a 60-80 percent shade cloth draped over straw bales with logs laid in between.

Keep your logs moist, water like your garden. If there has been no rain, they need the equivalent of about one inch of water a week. You can either hose them and the area around them down once a week, or set up a sprinkler and run it for 15-20 minutes. Once the logs fruit, lean them up to view and easily harvest the mushrooms.

Win, Win, Win

Working with fungi is one of the rare win, win, win scenarios where every step of
the process has a myriad of benefits. By thinning trees for growing mushrooms, you help rebalance the forest; by inoculating wood with fungi, you speed up the soil building process; and by spreading more fungi in the landscape, you strengthen ecosystems and increase runoff filtration. On the economic side, growing mushrooms for market is as lucrative as a legal crop gets. Local farmers markets and restaurants pay top dollar for outdoor fungi. Value add the harvest into a bottled sauce or oil and you‘ll be rolling.

Harvest & Use

When the logs fruit, usually after a warm spring or fall rain, simply cut the mushrooms off at the base, being careful to not pull off chunks of the bark. Then, the sky’s the limit for enjoying and preserving them. You will be amazed at the abundance a log produces at once. If you can get past sautéing them in butter and garlic or making creamy mushroom soup, then they are easy to dry and store. My personal favorite preservation is shiitake vodka! But for you teetotalers, a mushroom-infused olive oil with peppercorns and hot peppers is a tasty treat and great gift.

A Word About Mushroom Safety

You may be wondering if is safe to eat any ol’ mushroom that grows out of the log. The answer is an emphatic “Hell No!!”

If your spawn variety has not successfully run and colonized the log, it’s possible that another airborne fungi has set up shop. Only harvest the type that you inoculated the log with and have a picture of what that is. If you inoculate a shiitake, only harvest a shiitake. Oysters and shiitake are easy to identify. The beauty of growing your own mushrooms versus hunting for them is that you know exactly what is supposed to pop out.

Fast Growing Mushrooms

Oysters and shiitakes are also easily grown on straw outdoors. It takes additional steps to pasteurize the straw before inoculation, but the return harvests are generous and pop up in as little as three weeks! Paul Stamets’ book “Mycelium Running” has great coverage and alternative methods for straw cultivation.

Oyster mushrooms growing in straw-filled bags in the outdoor shower at the Bullock Bros Homestead on Orcas Island – the premier permaculture haven. www.permacultureportal.com. If you make it there, just ask for Cosmic Bob.

Getting Stumped, Growing Mushrooms on Stumps

Many times, these treasure chests of mushroom wood are overlooked when inoculating. To forget inoculating the tree stumps is passing up the easiest and most abundant harvests that last for years. The stumps have a huge amount of wood mass and roots for the fungi to colonize and pull moisture from.

You’ve probably seen mushrooms popping out of stumps in copious amounts. I remember one morning in town my ol’ hound dog Chulo led me to this huge clump of oyster mushrooms growing out of the stump he was sniffin’ about. The old stump was a fungi treasure hidden in the grass. I lopped the shrooms off and traded them for breakfast at the café down the street.

You’ve probably seen mushrooms popping out of stumps in copious amounts. I remember one morning
in town my ol’ hound dog Chulo
led me to this huge clump of oyster mushrooms growing out of the stump he was sniffin’ about. The old stump was a fungi treasure hidden in the grass. I lopped the shrooms off and traded them for breakfast at the café down the street.

Start by cutting a two- or three-inch round off the stump. Again be sure the wood is healthy and recently cut, otherwise other ambient fungi will have already moved in.

Cherry stump drilled along edge and filled with Reishi mushroom spawn plugs.

Cherry stump drilled along edge and filled with Reishi mushroom spawn plugs.

Then, similar to the log inoculation method using plugs, drill every two inches around the face edge of the cut stump. Hammer in the plugs, and then nail the round back onto the stump to sandwich in the spawn. Alternatively, you can put in sawdust spawn like the totem method described below. The spawn inoculation in a stump can take a lot longer to run than the logs, but once set, fruiting can last into the next decade.

Totem Method

A few years back, I was talking on the phone with Joe Krawczyk, founder of Field & For- est and co-author of “Year-Round Shiitake Cultivation in the North.” I was telling him about my abundant poplar forest and my goal to inoculate it with oyster mushrooms. He shared a fantastic method that fruitfully marries the two together: Mushroom Totems! The ultimate shrine to the mushroom god. Alas, the totem method still relies on chainsaws but requires a lot less work overall and yields big returns.

MaterialsScreen Shot 2014-01-28 at 3.11.24 PM

  • ‰Sawdust spawn
  • 12″ log rounds
  • Black plastic lawn-size garbage bags ‰}Paper grocery bag
  • String

Cut the logs from healthy, dormant trees at winter’s end. You will need two log pieces that are approximately 12 inches in diameter by 12 inches long. In the bottom of a black plastic lawn-size bag, spread out a handful of sawdust spawn, about a cup’s worth. Set the first log round on top of the saw- dust. Spread another handful or two on top of the log, approximately a quarter-inch thick, and place the second log on top of it. Repeat with another 1⁄4-inch layer, then cover the top with a brown paper grocery bag secured with string or a large rubber band. Alternatively you can cut a 2-inch round and nail to the top as seen in the picture on the right.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 3.16.50 PM

Oyster totem after 3 months, covered in mycelium!

Pull the black plastic bag up around your finger and tie closed, leaving just the small opening where your finger was for breathing. Stash this magical totem where the temps stay within 60 to 80°F for about three months. I put mine in the basement boiler room during the spring or summer (when the boiler is not in use) and in the garage (when the boiler is fired up). Really, anywhere indoors and out of the way is fine. Forget about it for three months, and when you come back to it and unwrap it, you’ll find it coated in white mycelium.

Oysters popping from totem piece planted a few inches in the ground.

Oysters popping from totem piece planted a few inches in the ground.

Totem pieces happily seated under the deck.

Totem pieces happily seated under the deck.


Take each log round and place on the ground with your other logs. I put mine down a few inches into the soil under the deck, and they love it, pop- ping crazy amounts of mushrooms. The advantages of totem method include: less work than drilling; no whacking or waxing; guaranteed moisture and tem- perature during spawn run; and thick, long-lasting chunks of wood. The only disadvantages are finding a place to stash them indoors and using plastic bags.


  • You can place just one log piece in the plastic bag, if moving the two together isn’t practical.
  • Shiitake and Lion’s Mane can also be done as totems.
  • A five-pound bag of sawdust spawn, which costs about $25, is enough to inoculate six doubledecker totems.

Growing Your Own Mushrooms

Wine cap mushroom.

Wine Cap: King Stropharia

True to its name, wine cap mushrooms are a plea- sure to consume and a breeze to grow. Also known as Garden Giant or King Stropharia, this mushroom can grow as big as five pounds! They are succulent, taste meaty, slightly nutty, and delicious. Very easy to grow—and no chainsaw is needed! Unlike the log-culture method of growing mushrooms, wine cap inoculation can be started throughoutthe season and only needs wood chips and dappled light to flourish. And, boy, are they fast to fruit! A planting in early spring can fruit that same season, although occasionally they can take a full 12 months to bear fruit.

I get my wood chips dropped for free from a local arborist. All I ask is that they are not pine or from the side of the highway (sprayed with chemicals). The fresher, the better; but chips up to three months old will still work fine.


  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Spawn
  • Straw

The Mushroom Patch

The wine cap mushroom patch can be any shape you’d like. You can make it a new mulch ring for a much-loved tree or as a stamp shape under a setting of deciduous trees. I often fashion mine as I do for food forest patches, about 10 feet by 10 feet. If the site is not completely bare to the soil, I put down cardboard first to reduce competitor fungi then dump the wood chips on top about two inches thick. If the chips are not moist, be sure to wet them thoroughly with a hose as they go down. For the first planting, you will start with a bag of sawdust spawn from a supplier. After that, you should never again need to buy spawn, as the patch easily self-propagates.

A 5.5-pound bag of sawdust spawn, which runs about $25, will cover at least 50 square feet. With that in mind, sprinkle out half the total dose of sawdust onto the moist chips. Next, drop on another two inches of moist chips and add the second half of the spawn to the top. Mix in the spawn on top a little with a metal rake or by hand. Last, sprinkle on fresh straw and water down. Do not worry if the straw begins to sprout; it will only help the wine cap trap more moisture.

Keep the patch moist as you would your garden. Expect flushes of mushrooms throughout the season from late spring to fall; wine cap has a wide range of fruiting temperatures (40°F to 90°F). After the first fruiting, either feed the patch more wood chips or scoop a bucketful from the mycelium-rich patch and start a new one, using a ratio of approximately 1:20 (or one bucket of spawn to 20 buckets of new chips). Or let it go and plant right into the rich compost it has created.

Without continued feeding, the patch will expend itself into fertile compost and stop fruiting. To re-feed the original patch, just dump on 2 to 3 inches of moistened fresh chips, mix in well, and recover with straw.

In mid-summer, once the mycelium has run through the chips, I take a bucketful of mycelium and spread it under my garden veggies, particularly the tomatoes and zucchinis, forming donut shapes around the base of the plants. The leaf coverage and moisture of the plant is just right for the wine cap to thrive and fruit. It also boosts the plants’ nutrient uptake. Then, when I’m out harvesting my dinner, I’m able to easily add in tasty mushrooms!

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 2.34.43 PM


Unlike the log culture, your wine cap mushroom patch would like a little interface with light. I place my patches under deciduous trees that interface with the lawn, where moisture seems to naturally cycle.

I have also successfully grown wine caps under a shade cloth rigged up out in the middle of a sunny garden. And I have failed when trying to grow them in deep shade, though I did get an awesome com- post pile from it. Even a few hours of direct sun- light will not undo the wine cap, but instead help stimulate the moisture flow to the surface where the mycelium is growing.

Geeky side note of mycelium’s benefits in the garden:
Even if you never harvest a mushroom, you’ll be creating the most amazing compost on the planet! By incorporating fungi into your landscape and gardens, you boost yields and heal soils. You can forget about fertilizing. Apart from loosening the soil and adding moisture retention, these guys pump carbon dioxide that the plants chug like fuel. It’s a dance between plant and fungi, a little sugar flow, or biochemical love exchange.

Wine caps aren’t the only shroom that can be grown on woodchip patches. When I cut the drive-way through the woods to the circular strawbale house I’m building, I marked it along contour and sited it to pull down the fewest number of trees possible. The trees that did come down got cut into mushroom logs and totem chunks; the rest were chipped into mounds approximately 5 feet by 10 feet by 2 feet high. Into these mounds, which now run all along my drive, I stuck a fruiting oyster totem log round—essentially, a huge spawn plug—and chucked straw over the top. Now all I have to do as I come up the drive is slow down, lean out the truck door, and harvest massive clumps of shelf oysters for the table. Some I let go to release spores and inoculate the surrounding forest debris, eventually saving me from having to do anything but just hike around with my big ol’ mushroom-harvesting bag.


  • Use mesh bags to harvest mushrooms in so that you are further spreading spores as you walk about.
  • Since the wine cap is grown on the ground around other terrestrial fungi, be sure to identify it well before eating.

Geeky side note of mycelium’s benefits in the garden:
Even if you never harvest a mushroom, you’ll be creating the most amazing compost on the planet! By incorporating fungi into your landscape and gardens, you boost yields and heal soils. You

can forget about fertilizing. Apart from loosening the soil and adding moisture retention, these guys pump carbon dioxide that the plants chug like fuel. It’s a dance between plant and fungi, a little sugar flow, or biochemical love exchange.

How to Save the World! Ninja Mushrooms

Paul Stamets* aptly says in his TED talk that, historically, those species that have paired with fungi were rewarded with survival.

We can pair with fungi right at home to help repair our damaged ecosystems and watersheds. Our watershed health begins where we live. The water running off our driveways, roofs, swimming pools, and lawns heads downstream fast. Pairing with fungi, we can filter the funk running onto and off our landscapes—and even the petrochemicals from our cars—very easily.
Multiple classes of fungi can be used to restore our habitats; how- ever, some of the best types are the ones we’ve just learned about: saprophytic mushrooms, such as oyster and wine cap.

The mycelial matt that is formed on the wood chips acts as a filtering web that traps and consumes a wide range of chemical toxins, silt, and pathogens. A great way to package these mycelium-filters is by stuffing burlap sacks full of wood chips and inoculating with spawn—same idea as the patches. Again, be sure the chips are moist, then insert either a handful of sawdust or plug spawn in the middle as you are filling the bags. Stack the sacks in dappled shade and keep moist for a couple of months, by which time the mycelium has run rampant. Regardless of your spawn success, or even if you don’t inoculate the sacks yourself, just placing the chip-filled sacks in the moist shade will cause fungi to come.

Wine cap fungi covering wood chips in burlap sacks just months after inoculation.

Wine cap fungi covering wood chips in burlap sacks just months after inoculation.

These sacks of mycelium filtration can be placed in any number of locations around the landscape. In the pictures on page 53 you can see where I have dug a small trough in the lawn where multiple gutter spouts flush toxic roof runoff into a creek just down slope. I wedged in three sacks filled with wood chips and inoculated with wine cap, covered them with cardboard to add moisture retention, and topped with four inches of wood- chips, bringing it all flush with the grass. This simple little myco-remediation patch will make a huge difference in mitigating the toxins in the runoff from the roof. Each year, add a few inches of wood chips to the top layer to maintain the food cycle and moisture for
the fungi. This simple design is a huge stewardship for our watersheds whose largest toxic loads come from our homes.

 Burlap sacks filled with inoculated wood chips filtering roof runoff.

Burlap sacks filled with inoculated wood chips filtering roof runoff.

Similarly, placing the sacks along the driveway filters runoff and cleans up our water- ways and watersheds. Place the sacks adjacent to the drive where water sheets off and filters through the wood chip media. If the flow is strong at any one point, buffer the in-flow with rocks or line the edge with rocks to help hold in the chips. These filters can be done in a myriad of creative ways that can also become amazing planting beds.

Topped over with chips, easy to mow over.

Topped over with chips, easy to mow over.

Another efficient way to hold the water on your landscape and filter is to sink this runoff in a raised bed swale. I did a variation of this stacked function in one of my young forest gardens. I marked and carved a swale on contour, creating a raised bed on the downhill side, where I’ve planted juneberries, paw paws, and persimmons that are beginning to cast shade. In the dugout portion of the swale, which now becomes the path, I put in wood chips and inoculated with wine cap spawn from one of my patches. Using the same idea as the sacks, I cover the inoculated chips with cardboard and then another four inches of chips. There are so many stacked functions to this design: the rainwater runoff held in the swale keeps the chips and fungi moist, the mycelium enriches the soil for the trees, I stimulate the mycelium by walking on it, and the compost it creates I just chuck on the bed and start another fungi path. Love it. That’s my kind of ecological footprint.


  • With time, the sacks and chips will break down into organic-rich soil that can be planted and function as a runoff filter with many of the same benefits.
  • I get burlap coffee bags from a local organic roaster. Just make sure the sacks aren’t treated. If you plan to make multiple sacks, stack uninoculated filled bags on top of the inoculated ones and the mycelium will jump to them.

*I humbly bow to the Fungi Guru, Paul Stamets, and his unparelled works on the fungi universe. I’m always encouraging folks to give 18 minutes of their life to hear Paul’s TED Talk on how mushrooms can save the world. It will blow you away to realize how linked we are with fungi!

51PfTrLoIoL._SL500_Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist is a how-to manual for the budding gardener and experienced green thumb alike, full of creative and easy-to-follow designs that guide you to having your yard and eating it, too. With the help of more than 200 beautiful color photos and drawings, permaculture designer and avid grower Michael Judd takes the reader on a step-by-step process to transform a sea of grass into a flourishing edible landscape that pleases the eye as well as the taste buds. With personality and humor, he translates the complexities of permaculture design into simple self-build projects, providing full details on the evolving design process, material identification, and costs. Chapters cover:

  • Herb Spirals
  • Food Forests
  • Raised-Bed Gardens
  • Earthen Ovens
  • Uncommon Fruits
  • Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation, and more . .

The book’s colorful pages are filled with practical designs that Judd has created and built over years of workshops, homesteading, and running an edible landscaping business. Though geared toward suburban gardeners starting from scratch, the book’s designs can be easily grafted to the micro-habits of the urban landscape, scaled up to the acreage of homesteads, or adapted to already flourishing landscapes. Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist is a tool to spark and inform the imagination of anyone with a desire to turn their landscape into a luscious and productive edible Eden.

About the Author
Michael Judd has worked with agro-ecological and whole-system designs throughout the Americas for nearly two decades, focusing on applying permaculture and ecological design. His projects increase local food security and community health in both tropical and temperate growing regions. He is the founder of Ecologia Edible & Ecological Landscape Design and Project Bona Fide, an international nonprofit supporting agro-ecology research.

Michael lives with his wife, Ashley, in Frederick, Maryland, where they are creating a permaculture homestead. They are building a circular straw bale home and expecting a baby ninja by the end of 2013.


Distributed by Chelsea Green and is for sale at ecologiadesign.com

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist: FUNGI!! Growing Your Own Mushrooms





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.