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Growing Your Own Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake_log  Some of you may recall this conversation I had with my husband recently…

Husband: “What is this moldy baggie in the refrigerator? Can I throw it away?”

Me: “NO!!!! That is my bag of Shiitake mushroom plug spawn.”

Husband: “Huh?”

Me: “It is a bag of wood sticks that are inoculated with Shiitake mushroom spores.”

Husband: “Umm…what?”

Me: “I am going to pound them into a log, let them colonize the wood and sprout my own Shiitake mushrooms. I am keeping them in the refrigerator until I have the log ready. Plus, letting them sit a bit helps the spores multiply before I embed them into the log.”

[Pause]

Me: “Why are you looking at me that way?”

Husband: “I’m just waiting for the alien life form to sprout from your body…Who are you and what have you done with my wife?”

—-

Well, I wanted to update you on the mushroom growing project. I managed to plant those plugs!

Mushrooms3

I bought the plugs from Fungi Perfecti in the state of Washington. You can order plugs for Shiitake, Tree oyster and others. They also have counter top mushroom kits, books and other cool information.

To grow the Shiitake mushrooms in a log, you first need a hardwood log (with some exceptions). Oak, eucalyptus, and elm are good candidates. I used mostly oak. The logs need to be from live trees and must be cut 2 weeks to 6 months before using.

First, you drill two-inch deep holes (with a 5/16th inch drill bit) that are no more than four-inches apart.

Then, you hammer in the wooden plugs with a rubber mallet.

Mushrooms2

After plugging, the logs should be placed so that they are off the ground. They need steady moisture and low light. Then…you wait.

It takes 6-12 months for the mushrooms to colonize the wood. I’m waiting now and will keep you posted…See? No alien life forms involved!

Top photo credit.

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.

11 Comments:

  • Kat says:

    No alien lifeforms… yet. It’s when you forget about them they appear.
    I will be interested in following your progress. I have this tiny, shady side yard and was thinking that a little mushroom colony over there might be just the ticket.

  • I will keep you posted Kat.

    It seems very easy so far. The instructions say that ignoring them completely is a good thing. I like that!

  • Teresa says:

    We’ve tried growing our own mushrooms (also from Fungi Perfecti!) a couple of different times with varying success. But, we’re going to try again, this time in a log outside instead of in a saw-dust stump inside the house. :}

  • Hmmm. I’m sad to hear Teresa that the saw-dust stump didn’t work well. I was actually going to try that next. I saw some growing as samples at the flower show in the spring and they look so cool. But I wondered if they were tricky.

    If I try it, I will report on how it goes for me here. Please let me know how your outdoor experiment works for you!
    ~Theresa

  • Teresa says:

    I think the first time we grew the sawdust stump, it worked moderately ok. Got a few mushrooms from it anyway. The second time, it was pretty much all mold, but not the edible type. ;)

    We also got an enoki kit and that was a bust too.

    I’ll be sure to let you know how the outside one turns out!

    What we like best is harvesting chanterelles that grow wild on our property and in the state forests surrounding our property. :)

  • Jil says:

    I would be afraid to try to grow my own mushrooms. I like to hear of the success of others though. Keep up the good work.

  • Annie says:

    I’ve got to give these a try …. I can imagine having the same conversation with my husband once he sees them in the frig!

  • caglar says:

    It is a really helpful information about mushrooms. I live in a village and mushromms are very important for us,
    there is also a very useful guide that i got great informatin about mushrooms:

    http://agricultureguide.org/

  • I like,that’s a sign of a good blog post.*

  • James Newton says:

    I’ve also had mold problems with kits from fungi.com. Anyone have advice on how to prevent / treat that problem?

  • Hi James,

    I have not had the mold problems. I would be interested to hear what others have done about that too!

    ~Theresa

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