Recyling your jeans using mushrooms

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Fri Nov 23 04:47:54 EST 2001

>From the NATS Current News, Vol. 19, No. 4 (June-July 2001);
originally in The Spore Print, Journal fo the L.A. Mycological Society

The Levi Oyster
by Royce Harvey
	Someone is bound to burious enough to ask, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A
LEVI OYSTER? Well, here is how it came about. After 24 days of
intermittent snow and some rain, I was suffering from cabin fever, and
believe me, it was taking its toll. I was searching for anything to
break up the monotony. Thumbing through one of my books on the subject
of mushroom cultivation, something interesting caught my attention.
Oyster mushrooms can be grown on cotton waste. Now where in the world
would a person in Southern California get his or her hands on cotton
	On my way out to do the evening feeding of my dogs and my sheep, I
noticed an old pair of Levi's that for some reason had escaped a one
way trip to the local dump. It was worn out a tthe knee and seat, and
now, from time to time, being used for a mop or clean up rag, more or
less. Suddely it hit me: I HAD COTTON WASTE. So I decided to try and
see if these levi's could serve me one last time, as cotton waste. I
washed the levi's, then boiled them for 2 hours in my straw cooking
cauldron (a tamale cooker). I then hung the Levi's on the clothes line
to drip (shed excess water) but not to dry out completely (they had to
retain enough moisture to induce mycelium to grow).
	I law the Levi's out on a table, spread eagle, and then gave on(e?)
of the two legs, cuffed to the waist, a liberal application of oyster
mushroom spawn. I then folded the levi's in half lengthwise and
repeated the process on the exposed leg. Next I rolled them up as
tight as I could, put them into a plastic bag, then into my incubator.
The incubator maintains a fixed temperaure of 70F around the clock.
	I inoculated the blue jeans on Feb. 28th, 2001. After a while, they
were totally permeated and solidified - in other words, a solid white
mass in a plastic bag. I did not intend to let them fruit until the
end of April. There were only a few tell-tale signs of the substrate
on the Levi's. You know, I guess I have grown oysters on just aboiut
everything. This is my first time to grow them on blue jeans. Just
over a month after I inoculated the Levi's with oyster mushroom spawn,
they began to fruit.

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler

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