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Woodland Mushroom Cultivation (BF 151)

Bf151MushroomGrowing Mushrooms on Logs, Stumps, and Woodchips

Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits, including improving farmer stewardship of forested lands and the ability to offer a unique and highly desired product. With a bit of practice, mushrooms can be easily grown in the woods on many products that can be the surplus of healthy forest management.

This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm scale woodland mushroom production. Students will learn the basic biology of mushrooms, cultivation techniques for shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and stropharia mushrooms, proper conditions for fruiting, management needs, and harvesting and marketing mushrooms.

Note: In addition to weekly online readings, presentation, and discussion, participants will receive spawn in the mail and get to try mini mushroom experiments at home.


Target Audience

ALL LEVELS: The course is for new farmers, or experienced farmers seeking to diversify their operations. It’s also relevant to woodlot owners and backyard gardeners interested in this topic. Growing mushrooms as a viable economic enterprise will be stressed, though techniques can also be applied at the hobby scale. Mushroom farming is an easy topic for beginners with some experience farming and managing crop systems. Those with knowledge of forestry and chainsaw use may be able to move along more quickly.


Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, you will:

  • Understand of the basics of mushroom production, harvesting, and marketing
  • Connect mushroom cultivation and management of healthy forests
  • Complete a basic marking plan and budget for a mushroom enterprise
  • Understand the logistics of management, sales, and legal issues related to mushroom farming



The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in MOODLE once you have registered and logged in. 



November 8 – December 13, with Webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 7:30pm

This course is FULL. BF 151 will next be offered in Fall 2017, with registration opening mid-August 2017.



Steve Gabriel, Agroforestry Specialist for Cornell Small Farms Program, co-owner of Wellspring Forest Farm, and co-author of Farming the Woods.


Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction & Mycology 101
Topics: Navigating moodle, course overview, mushroom biology, cultivation vs wildcrafting, meet the mushrooms

Week 2: Woodlot Management for mushrooms
Topics: Sourcing logs, woodchips, and other substrates, mushroom farming and forest health

Week 3: Inoculation of logs, stumps, and woodchips
Topics: inoculation procedures for bolts, totems, and woodchip beds

Week 4: Forcing, fruiting, harvest, and storage
Topics: Management, pests, how to force fruiting of mushrooms, when to harvest, storage and drying mushrooms

Week 5: Selling and marketing mushrooms
Topics: Wholesale vs retail sales, CSAs, restaurants, packaging and delivery, value added products, labeling and legal considerations

Week 6: Beyond just food: other benefits of mushrooms
Topics: home propagation, health and medicinal benefits, mycoremediation


Registration is currently CLOSED and will re-open in mid-August 2017.

Course fee is $250, plus $30 for a table-top mushroom spawn kit that will be sent directly to you for the hands-on portion of the course, so $280 total. But if you register more than 1 month in advance, you get a $25 discount on each course, as well as a $50 total discount on registration for 3 or more courses.

We are also offering other mushroom courses in-person which can be viewed at the Cornell Mushroom Event Page.