SVIMS Stropharia Cultivation Workshop Spring 2024

On the weekend of March 16-17, 2024, nearly 40 SVIMS members learned about adding something new to their gardens this spring. The m orning and afternoon workshops were hosted by member Steve Fischer.

The workshops, centred on cultivating King Stropharia/wine cap (Stropharia rugosoannulata) mushrooms, taught the basics of backyard mushroom cultivation, including creating the ideal environment for King Stropharia.

In preparation for the workshop, Steve gathered and prepared the necessary materials, including multiple substrates, mushroom spawn, and pots for members to take home mini stropharia beds. Generous donations of wine cap spawn by Grow Mushrooms Canada and pots by Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm were greatly appreciated!

SVIMS members enjoyed far better weather for this workshop than the last one. The spring day was warm and bright. Each group worked together to build a full-size King Stropharia bed to learn the fundamentals. They then assembled a mini version that they could take home to try their hand at producing these prized edibles.

Mush luck to these new cultivators!

Emma continues to add spawn while Steve describes ideal conditions for mushroom cultivation

Steve demonstrates adding spawn to the mushroom bed

Members take turns adding sawdust to the bed

Steve demonstrates straw bale inoculation

SVIMS Log Inoculation Workshop 2024

Approximately 25 SVIMS members gathered in morning and afternoon classes held at Steve Fischer’s home in the Blenkinsop Valley. Their goal was to learn how to create mushroom-bearing logs.

In the days leading up to the workshop, Steve got ready for the class by gathering and cleaning fresh-cut alder, preparing all the equipment, and ordering fresh oyster and shiitake spawn. Steve and his assistants–Andrew Anderson, Bob Jeffs, and Steve Strybosch–drilled the logs and helped participants inoculate them. Steve introduced the group to a new log-sealing technique using bentonite clay.

The weather was quite rainy in the morning, but Steve was prepared for it. He had set up tarps to keep class members relatively dry and comfortable. The rain subsided in the afternoon, but the wind picked up and temperatures dropped. In spite of the weather, everyone left the workshop happy and satisfied, carrying their own logs freshly inoculated with oyster or shiitake spawn.

Steve shows the group his mushroom log collection.
The morning class was thankful for the tarps that Steven had set up.
Leya happily sealing up her inoculated log.
Steve teaches the people the next procedure, the bentonite clay application
Sawdust spawn used to inject into the alder logs.

SVIMS Mushroom Show Returns to RBCM

Newcombe Conference Hall in the Royal BC Museum became the site for the SVIMS 2023 mushroom show. This was a return to RBCM for SVIMS–the show was at the museum in the 1990s. The 2023 show was the capstone event of a wide-ranging RBCM Fungi Fest that included the opening of a new IMAX film on mushrooms, a mushroom walk, and two noontime lectures.

This year’s event was, without doubt, the most stylish show ever, thanks to some new table signage prepared by Leya Costa, the species cards created in 2022, and elegant posters coordinated by show runner Andrew Anderson.

In the days before the show, SVIMS colllectors ranged far and wide to harvest the show mushrooms. Setup for the show was on Saturday, October 21. Workers arrived about noon and quickly assembled the displays.  The mushrooms were arranged on small paper boats and plates. Identifiers worked to put names to the more than 200 species that were brought in.

After the doors to the show opened at 10 am on Sunday, nearly a thousand visitors streamed through the displays, smelling and touching the mushrooms, asking questions to the SVIMS members behind the tables, and lugging in mushrooms to be identified. Visitors were able to buy the new SVIMS calendar and take out SVIMS membships. Displays at the edges of the room attracted children and foragers. Beginning at noon, short illustrated talks by five different SVIMS members–to capacity audiences–took place in the room next to the bookstore. 

Visitors walking through the doors of the RBCM were guided to Newcombe Conference Hall by a series of posters.
A big thanks to the many, many SVIMS members who contributed their time and effort to make the show a success. And also the the staff from the RBMC, who worked throughout the day to ensure that everything worked smoothly. (Photos by Steve Strybosch).
As the mushrooms were brought in on Saturday, SVIMS volunteers identified them, attached ID cards, and arranged them on the display tables.
The final display sat overnight at the museum, waiting for the morning rush of visitors.
A new addition this year--wooden pedestals to hold some of the specimens above the table.
The show in progress.
The show featured more than a dozen good edibles, such as this Bleeding Milk Cap.
People also learned that some mushrooms found around Victoria should never be eaten.
Andy works the ID table behind one of the new tent signs. Is it Andy or the mushroom that is "currently unidentified?"

SVIMS President’s Picnic, 2023

The 2023 SVIMS President’s Picnic was a big hit this year. It was hosted, as custom dictates, by the current president (Mel Hesz). This time it took place at the home of ex-president Andy MacKinnon. Forty to fifty people showed up at Andy and Mairi’s beautiful property overlooking Metchosin’s Witty’s Lagoon. People brought an amazing variety of creative dishes for the lunch.

Finding the best shade on a warm day
Early birds get the table.
Maggy McGee's cupcakes

SVIMS Log Inoculation Workshop

Svims members met for a log inoculation workshop on Saturday March 18, 2023. It was graciously hosted by Steve Fischer on a beautiful, almost official spring day in the lovely Blenkinsop Valley. There were morning and afternoon classes of eager SVIMS members. They started with a couple of piles of fresh-cut alder and cottonwood. 

During the classes, attendees learned about log inoculation techniques. They asked questions about the different methods of inoculation, the spawn, types of substrate, and the best habitat for storing the logs. Everyone then went to work, inoculating oyster and shiitake spawn into their logs using the drill-and-fill method. Steve Fischer demonstrated different inoculation techniques, including the curve-cut method and the totems-sealed-with-clay method. 

Participants hope to see some fruitification of their efforts next spring or fall! Thanks to all who helped out procuring logs, equipment and assistance.

The setting
The end result, brought back in a time machine from a year in the future.
Happy pluggers.
Logs waiting for inoculation
Steve demonstrates

SVIMS Schedule

Good day, the following are the events and activities, at least some of them for the
coming SVIMS season.

 1. Regular monthly events for the season:

Our monthly meetings will be on the Second Tuesday of every month starting
on September 13th till May 2023 except for January, when there will be the Survivor`s Banquet.

Time: 6:45 PM till 9:15 PM to allow time for setup etc.

Place: St. Luke Cedar Hill, 3821 Cedar Hill Cross Road, Victoria, V8P 2M6. There is
handicap parking on the side of the building as well as a ramp.

The meetings will be Hybrid, namely joint LIVE and Zoom and if possible will be linked to the Facebook site and recorded, as allowed by the speakers. We have
almost a full slate of confirmed speakers.

These monthly meetings for now, will be limited  to members only, with no covid restrictions other than for masking. This could change depending on the Public Health advisories.

Forays: will be held hopefully X2/month depending on the weather and the availability of leaders starting in September with Eventbrite pre-registration. Details will follow.

2. Cowichan Annual Foray:

Dates: From the evening of October 21st – Midday on October 23rd

Place: Cowichan Lake Conference and Education Centre Lakeview Park Road, Lake Cowichan. This is the same location as last year.

Kurt Raeder is organising this event.

See Docs menu for Information and Registration Form.


3. The annual Mushroom Show on November 5th-6th:

Place: St. Luke as above

Time: Saturday 5th for members only to set up, sort and organize. 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM 
           Sunday   6th Public and Members 8:00 AM- 6:00 PM

Details will follow but as this is a huge undertaking, we would be obliged if you
could reserve the dates and times now so you can help. We expect about 600-800
in attendance.

4. Survivor’s Banquet and Auction on Saturday January 14th 2023:

Place: St Luke as above

Time: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM with 20 minutes for set up and clean up on either

Pre-registration: Yes with one guest allowed

Details will follow nearer the date.


5. Chinese Mushroom Banquet for March 2023:

No further information at this time.


6. Library:

Ali Ballantyne has volunteered to take over the Library. I am delighted to welcome her to the post. She is presently working on digitizing our inventory. Further information to follow, especially on how this will be structured. Thanks Ali.


7. Other new positions:

     Billeting: Our longtime member Tabitha Jones is returning to this position. Thanks Tabitha.

     Secretary: Sarah Neumann will be taking over this position. Thanks to her as well

     OPEN position: Refreshments coordinator. At the moment Covid restrictions limit our capability to provide this at our meetings but we need to be prepared. PLEASE contact me if you can help and to get further details on what is involved.


8. Please do not forget to submit your Photographs for the Annual Calendar. See separate post below.


The Board wishes you all our best for the coming Mushroom Season. There are a number of other issues we are working on and if you have any suggestions please do contact me at any time.

David Walde
President of SVIMS-South Vancouver Island Mycological Society