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Hardwood Sawdust

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MushroomMan

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Hello everyone,

Does anyone know where I can find hardwood sawdust in and around London. It would be used to grow gourmet mushrooms like shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Preferably somewhere that treats it as a waste product so it can be put to good use.

Thanks for your help.

Edit

Just wanted to say thanks for the input everyone has made into this thread.

If anyone would be willing to provide a few bags here and there of Hardwood sawdust (preferably Oak , Beech, Alder, Maple) from their workshops for my budding hobby of mushroom growing I'd be very appreciative and would certainly be glad to offer some money in exchange for any effort required in its separation.
 

MushroomMan

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Please excuse my ignorance, either if both are different?
Mycelium, a fungi from which its fruit body mushrooms grow from, eat wood, but only hardwoods. Softwoods are antifungal so aren't on its menu.
I can also travel to the home counties.
 

TFrench

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Saw dust is fine - shavings or chips are bigger, curlier bits of wood. Think what you put in a rabbit cage.
 

MushroomMan

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Thanks for the clarification. I'll try reaching out to sawmills nearest by. It's such a shame to know this goes to landfill.
 

rafezetter

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MushroomMan":27apa73q said:
Please excuse my ignorance, either if both are different?
Mycelium, a fungi from which its fruit body mushrooms grow from, eat wood, but only hardwoods. Softwoods are antifungal so aren't on its menu.
I can also travel to the home counties.
This is interesting - there was a bit of an argument with a guy on an american woodworking forum who stated that the hardwood chopping boards he made were "antifungal" and wouldn't have it that it only really applied to softwoods.

You're certain of this information?

Also - just read you can use coffee grounds apparently, might be worth looking into as an alternative source.
 

MushroomMan

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rafezetter":1bltvjg4 said:
MushroomMan":1bltvjg4 said:
Please excuse my ignorance, either if both are different?
Mycelium, a fungi from which its fruit body mushrooms grow from, eat wood, but only hardwoods. Softwoods are antifungal so aren't on its menu.
I can also travel to the home counties.
This is interesting - there was a bit of an argument with a guy on an american woodworking forum who stated that the hardwood chopping boards he made were "antifungal" and wouldn't have it that it only really applied to softwoods.

You're certain of this information?

Also - just read you can use coffee grounds apparently, might be worth looking into as an alternative source.
Thanks for asking as perhaps I should have stated most mycelium species thrive on Hardwoods and not so much on softwoods (although there are a few difficult to grow exceptions). In a mushroom growing context conifers hold higher anti-fungal compounds, which, as I understand, affects fungi's ability to secrete the necessary enzymes to break them down to then eat. This is directly related to how both woods are made up on a microsopic level. I imagine knowing the hardwood type the amercian was using would help solve the arguement but I couldn't find any clear contenders in my searches.

Coffee grounds are indeed a possible source but have some limiting factors mainly that it must be used with 24 hours of being brewed. Hardwood sawdust, chippings, shavings or pellets are much less restrictive and are undoubtly a much better source for achieving higher and reliable yields.

My hope is to find a long term source of hardwood byproduct, although I understand its such a shame when I read that it goes to landfill or is burnt for want of getting rid of it.



The following might help understanding differences in softwood and hardwood.

"The high concentrations of resins, turpentine and tanins (anti-fungal compounds) make conifers less suitable for mushroom growing. Conifers are used on occasion, but they are mixed one to one with hardwood sawdust. In general, the wood of broad leaf or hardwood species have proven to be the best mushroom growing substrates. Specificallythese tree types are: oak; elm; chestnut; beech; maple; and alder"
Paul Stamets - Mushroom cultivator

I also found this post on mycotopia.net

"The main visible difference between softwood and hardwood actually has to do with features of the reproductive cycle. Hardwoods have broad leaves and enclosed nuts or seeds such as acorns. softwoods dont.

there are also microsopic differences..
Softwood contains only two types of cells, longitudinal wood fibers (or tracheids) and transverse ray cells. Softwoods lack vessel elements for water transport that hardwoods have; these vessels manifest in hardwoods as pores. In softwood water transport within the tree is via the tracheids only. Some softwoods, such as pine, spruce, larch, and Douglas fir, have resin canals, which provide transport of resin as a defense against injury.

Pacific Yew and Douglas fir are softwoods that are harder then most hardwoods.
Balsa is a hardwood thats less dense then any commercial softwood.
Also some conifers are not evergreen.
Conifers that are not evergreen include larches and the Dawn Redwood.
also the larch is not evergreen but it does have resin canals.
it seems there are exeptions to every rule.

Softwood and Hardwood are generic terms that have nothin to do with the density or resin content of the wood"

On average, hardwood is of higher density and hardness than softwood, but there is considerable variation in actual wood hardness in both groups, with a large amount of overlap."

Thanks
 

Droogs

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I grow mushrooms under my bed. I started doing this as the missus bought me a kit for my birthday a couple of years ago. the kit came with straw as the medium for the spores to sit in, so I now use SHAVINGS rather than sawdust. Most commercial shops with be using joinery machines that will produce saw dust due to how the machine works rather than shavings. But I think that if you are doing it on a larger scale, I think saw dus mixed with about 20% fine compost would be fine. BUT most wksps will be using sheet material like MDF and not solid hardwood and this dust will be mixed together and you do not want to use MDF and chip board as a medium .
I'm sure that if you are willing to pay a little for shaving/sawdust that wksps will happily use seperation of the dust for you
 

Woody2Shoes

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I'd expect that certain hardwoods will contain much more tannin (although much less resin) than conifer species. For example, oak and sweet chestnut. It is the tannin which makes such timbers 'durable' ie rot-resistant (rot being partly/mainly due to fungal action).

I think you'd also want to make sure that - for food production - you can assure yourself (and others, presumably) that the material does not contain any contaminants (chain oil and timber preservatives, from odd bits of treated timber that might get in, are just two of the things that come to mind).

My impression from reading a bit about this in the past - and from wandering around the woods - is that specific types of fungi 'prefer' specific types of tree. Some prefer birch, others beech, for example.

Basically, I think you need to narrow down your search to specific tree species based on specific fungi (e.g. beechwood, which has other food-based uses like smoking fish/meat) and need to consider traceability/purity (meaning you might need to approach a specialist, rather than a generalist, timber processor).

Cheers, W2S
 

Woody2Shoes

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PS I think that the conventional way to grow shiitake is to use solid lumps of wood, rather than dust/shavings.
 

MushroomMan

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Droogs":3qd8nkyf said:
I grow mushrooms under my bed. I started doing this as the missus bought me a kit for my birthday a couple of years ago. the kit came with straw as the medium for the spores to sit in, so I now use SHAVINGS rather than sawdust. Most commercial shops with be using joinery machines that will produce saw dust due to how the machine works rather than shavings. But I think that if you are doing it on a larger scale, I think saw dus mixed with about 20% fine compost would be fine. BUT most wksps will be using sheet material like MDF and not solid hardwood and this dust will be mixed together and you do not want to use MDF and chip board as a medium .
I'm sure that if you are willing to pay a little for shaving/sawdust that wksps will happily use seperation of the dust for you
Thanks very much for the insight regarding workshops. Short answer to your post would be yes, I'm more than willing to pay for the any effort needed for separation or anything else besides. Thing is I'm very early in my business model set up and one of the key issues I have to solve is choice of substrate in which to grow against harvest cycles. I firstly wanted to test its availability and also have proven grows before formalising any commerical proposals.

There are many options but hardwood sawdust and soy bean hulls (known as Master Mix) is currently considered one of, if not, the best to grow various different mushrooms. It’s cost effective and cuts substrate preparation times in the right set up.

Possibly due to hardwoods being mainly imported or prioritised for furniture building, it has been very difficult to find any purpose packaged hardwood pellet on the market, which is what American mushroom growers have access to. Its a possible flame to stroke so to speak.
 

MushroomMan

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Woody2Shoes":lc6qq7wu said:
I'd expect that certain hardwoods will contain much more tannin (although much less resin) than conifer species. For example, oak and sweet chestnut. It is the tannin which makes such timbers 'durable' ie rot-resistant (rot being partly/mainly due to fungal action).

I think you'd also want to make sure that - for food production - you can assure yourself (and others, presumably) that the material does not contain any contaminants (chain oil and timber preservatives, from odd bits of treated timber that might get in, are just two of the things that come to mind).

My impression from reading a bit about this in the past - and from wandering around the woods - is that specific types of fungi 'prefer' specific types of tree. Some prefer birch, others beech, for example.

Basically, I think you need to narrow down your search to specific tree species based on specific fungi (e.g. beechwood, which has other food-based uses like smoking fish/meat) and need to consider traceability/purity (meaning you might need to approach a specialist, rather than a generalist, timber processor).

Cheers, W2S
Hi W2S, thanks for your input. There is still much for me to learn especially will regards to the different woods.

In terms of contaminates many substrates (example hardwood, straw) go through a decontamination process, usually either sterilisation or pasteurisation. This is to deal with biological agents rather than resin or wood treatments. It’s my current understanding is if they were somehow in the substrate their negative effects are to do with hindering growth and cultivating mycelium, and not to do with mushrooms being unsafe for consumption. Of course, I may be wrong, but I’d be surprised because I haven’t come across this potential hazard in my research so far. In fact the opposite, that mycelium are remarkable in every sense. In one book I’m reading it mentions…

“it’s not critical that the system kill all of the waterborne pathogens. In fact, once the medium is inoculated with mushroom spawn and the mycelium begins to colonize, the mycelium will filter any water remaining in the medium, transferring clean water into the fruiting body, providing a safe edible food that is 90 to 95 percent filtered water. (But note: As a filter, the mycelium will efficiently break down most chemical pollutants, such as pesticides, and destroy biological pathogens, but it hyperaccumulates heavy metals such as lead and mercury.)” Tradd Cotter - Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation.

So heavy metals and lead would be a concern.

I agree somewhat I do need to narrow down my search to specific woods, eventually. Oyster mushrooms are remarkable little things and will grow on most common hardwoods (see picture link below). For now I'm finding it quite difficult to find any local supplies so must keep my options open and see where it leads me to.

https://growingarden.files.wordpress.co ... .png?w=614
 

Bod

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Bit of the wall.
What about hard wood off-cuts, they would have to go through some sort of shredder, but quality control could be easier, as could particle size.
Marketing blurb.."Local Grown English Oak bedded Mushrooms"

Bod
 

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First of all, I assume as a commercial operation you will want cubic metres of growing medium. You need a chipper so you can source your own hardwood, and make chips out of it. I think it may be easier to find entire trees to chip, rather than rummage around looking for offcuts from joinery shops, especially as they will have things mixed in that you don't want.

Secondly, do you have a market for your produce? Any old silly person can grow food - it takes a rare genius to sell food at a profit. Know how to make a small fortune out of farming? Start with a large fortune. X
 

Tris

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Bit late here but can you grow the species you want on green wood chippings? If so then tree surgeons might be worth a call.
There is a site called coppice products that lists green woodworkers around the country who may be able to provide shavings and they use almost exclusively hardwoods.
It amazes me how little we know about fungi and what they can do. I have been using mycorrhizal fungi when tree planting for a few years now and it is amazing the difference it makes.
Good luck with your new venture

Tris
 

MushroomMan

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Trainee neophyte":3ni4r081 said:
First of all, I assume as a commercial operation you will want cubic metres of growing medium. You need a chipper so you can source your own hardwood, and make chips out of it. I think it may be easier to find entire trees to chip, rather than rummage around looking for offcuts from joinery shops, especially as they will have things mixed in that you don't want.

Secondly, do you have a market for your produce? Any old Silly person can grow food - it takes a rare genius to sell food at a profit. Know how to make a small fortune out of farming? Start with a large fortune. X
Thanks, this is a route I'm going to explore further as it could be a better and reliable option. My first instinct was to make use of other's waste if I could, potentially creating a side income to a sawmill or workshop for something they'd burn or throw away. I've already had one sawmill get back to me telling its something they don't deal with as they burn all waste onsite.... :(

You're quite right to point out the market. Fortunately I'm based in Hackney, near Shoreditch way with an unsual large plot of land I can build on (80-100m2). I was born in Hackney and the area has transformed massively in the last 10-15 years with new restaurants/businesses opening up regularly. I also have London city on my door step. Plenty of potenial customers along with farmers markets, and co-op food delivery schemes. All I need, I believe, is quality mushrooms.
 

MushroomMan

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Tris":2xu1sdkb said:
Bit late here but can you grow the species you want on green wood chippings? If so then tree surgeons might be worth a call.
There is a site called coppice products that lists green woodworkers around the country who may be able to provide shavings and they use almost exclusively hardwoods.
It amazes me how little we know about fungi and what they can do. I have been using mycorrhizal fungi when tree planting for a few years now and it is amazing the difference it makes.
Good luck with your new venture

Tris
Good point and thanks. Green wood/coppice isn't something I understood or knew about. My guess after a little reading would be yes. The list looks promising, especially in the South East region. I had asked a friend previously who works for a tree surgeon but was told they don't sell their wood. But this is certainly a route worth investigating.

The symbiosis that formed between mycorrihizal fungi and algae is the reason water based plants were able to move out of the oceans and freshwater lakes onto land, eventually turning a barren earth-wide land into the forest/jungle it once was. Its known as mutualisim in biology. The tree allows the fungi to enter its cells forming a interconnected relationship between the two organisms, the tree trading carbs inexchange for minerals that only the fungi can reach deep in the earth. This exchange is what allowed algae/plants to leave the shores of seas/oceans/lakes that provided these minerals in abundance.

Another cool fact is fungi can actually eat rock! It was its first food source all that time ago and as byproduct it created soil. Although Mushrooms/mycelium are neither animal or plant they are more closely related to us than plants. They proved to be difference in World War 2 with the use of Penicillin as an antibiotic, discovered in 1928 by accident by Alexander Fleming from a fungi/mould. Infection was one of the biggest killers in that war but Britain had access to this wonder drug whereas the Germans didn't.

For those who are interested in learning more I highly recommend a documentary called The Kingdom: How Fungi Made Our Planet. Or a much shorter viewing would be on youtube called "6 ways mushrooms can save the world | Paul Stamets" from a TedTalk
 
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