Miniature Mushrooms, originally uploaded by the workroom.

Last summer I was obsessed with the idea of creating planters out of tree stumps. All I had to do was find a bunch of logs.

A few weeks after my inspired idea, I looked across the street from my house to see piles and piles of logs. Seriously. I crossed the street and asked my neighbour, who had a chain saw in one hand, if I could take a few of them for my garden. He gave me the “Why-on-earth-would-you-want-these-stumps?!” look, but told me to take as many as I liked. Undeterred by the look, I hauled about six of the logs, in various sizes and heights, over to my back yard. Finally, I would have a whole gang of cute log planters!

My idea was to drill large holes in the top of the log and then chisel out a deep ‘bowl’ for the planter. I had done research on this, but what I didn’t factor into my plan was having FRESHLY cut wood. I had even bought a special drill bit that would bore out a 1″ hole. I got to drilling a series of holes into the top of one log. That didn’t go as easily as I had planned. Then I learned that freshly cut wood is wet and does not want to be chiseled… at all. My log planter dreams were dashed!

Unknowingly, I had actually created a planter of another kind. The other morning, I took a close look at my sad log with multiple holes drilled into the top and noticed that there were all kinds of miniature mushrooms growing out of the holes and along the sides. These cute mushrooms are only about 1.5″ tall. I was totally fascinated. This wet log has been sitting in the shade and getting rained on the last few weeks and was now having a mushroom party. The holes I had drilled are the perfect place for mushrooms to thrive.

Mushroom logs are actually a very popular type of gardening, especially in Japan. You can grow Shiitake, Oyster and Button mushrooms on logs both indoors and outdoors. Mushroom log kits are available for purchase online or you can drill your own logs (like me!) and buy special plugs that are filled with the spawn to fit into the holes and wait for the fruiting to begin. Apparently these logs will last for years. I think I’m going to have to start growing mushrooms.

There is a great article on mushroom gardening here. You can also order a mushroom kit from this Canadian shop.

p.s. I did create one log planter last summer using an older tree stump. The chiseling was easier with the dried wood, but still very labour intensive and blister-causing.

If anyone has any freshly cut logs, I’m in the market!