100 plug pack
*Add the Plug Kit to your order, and for $8 more you'll receive one pound of red cheese wax, 10 markable metal write-on tags, and one 10cc B-D inoculation syringe (great for waxing holes). All the accoutrements (minus the drill bit) needed to plug your logs. The pound of cheese wax will last through 500+ plugs (12-24 logs), so you really only need one Plug Kit to get you through a couple 100 packs, and additional markable metal write-on tags can be purchased separately.
Mushroom plug spawn is spiral grooved hardwood dowels infused (inoculated) with a specific mushroom species, in this case chicken of the woods or sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus (Laetiporus sulphureus). The mushroom mycelium (the white, root-like network of cells) colonizes and penetrates the dowels as it consumes the lignins provided by the wood. These plugs are used to inoculate freshly cut hardwood logs, stumps, or rounds to create a fruiting mushroom colony that can produce mushrooms for many years! These colonies are commonly referred to as mushroom logs. After waiting approximately one year from inoculation, a well cared for log will produce mushrooms several times a year, for 3-5 years.
Mushroom Logs are fun to make, require little maintenance, and will reliably produce mushrooms for years. Inoculate your own prepared logs using our 5/16in x 1in spiral grooved colonized plug spawn. A pack of 100 plugs is sufficient spawn to successfully inoculate 2-4 mushroom logs.
Use only recently cut, disease free hardwood logs of approximately three feet in length and four to six inches in diameter... about as long and thick as your thigh.
Use disease free wood with the bark intact.
Prepare plug spawn inoculation sites by drilling 5/16in x 1 1/2in holes in a spiral pattern starting at one end of the log working towards the other. Space each hole approximately 4-6 inches away from the last. Number of holes will vary, for most logs 20-30 is good.
Inoculate the log by hammering the colonized plugs into each hole. Using a small punch to sink the top of the plug 1/4in or so below the bark surface is recommended.
Seal the inoculation sites by dripping melted cheese wax onto each hole. Cheese wax is easy to work with and can be melted in a double boiler. We use a small 2.5 quart crock pot dedicated to this purpose. Wax can be dripped on with a brush, distributed with a large dropper, turkey baster, or easy to use 10cc B-D inoculation syringes. A markable metal write-on tag can be stapled or tacked to the end of the log for long term identification.
Place logs in a shaded area and keep moist, creating stacks, or leaning against each other for support is best. Some report success with partially burying logs in loose soil, so while we tend to recommend avoiding direct contact with soil for other mushroom log colonies, chicken of the woods may in fact benefit from this arrangement. Frequent and normal rainfall should keep them moist, but the logs may require a watering during dry spells. If the logs receive no notable rain for three weeks we recommend soaking them overnight in a tub or bucket filled with water.
Logs inoculated in early winter may produce mushrooms by the following summer, but logs will typically take more than one year to mature. Once mature, shock logs into producing mushroom by soaking them overnight and covering with a tarp or blanket, July-September. Remove cover when small mushrooms begin budding, usually 1-2 weeks. The mushroom cultures used to produce these plugs were developed from a Chicken in the Woods mushroom we found near our store here in the Southern Mountain. These mushrooms typically fruit in in Summer and Early Fall, even with a soak it is unlikely they will fruit any other time of the year. We are experimenting with cold shock methods of forced fruiting of Laetiporus sulphureus as outlined in Pleszczynska et al 2012. We will let you know if we have success with a formula that can be easily replicated by the home gardener.
Properly maintained logs will continue to produce mushrooms for many summers!
Chicken of the Woods mushrooms really do taste like chicken. These hardy mushrooms can be made into vegetarian chicken patties or sauteed for use in a sandwich or crepe. In addition to their use as food their bioactive compounds are being explored as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals as anti-tumor and cholesterol lowering agents.
Typical of polypores, this species requires a lower relative humidity that most gilled mushrooms.
For more information on growing from plug spawn check out the following titles from our Mushroom Bookstore:
Nitty Gritty Reading:
Hwang, H. S., S. H. Lee, et al. (2008). "Production of extracellular polysaccharides by submerged mycelial culture of Laetiporus sulphureus var. miniatus and their insulinotropic properties." Appl Microbiol Biotechnol78(3): 419-429.
Pleszczynska, M., A. Wiater, et al. (2013). "Successful large-scale production of fruiting bodies of Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull.: Fr.) Murrill on an artificial substrate." World J Microbiol Biotechnol29(4): 753-758.
Inventory updated weekly, and reflects ready-to-ship, in-stock spawn. All orders are processed and shipped within several business days. For large or bulk purchases, please contact us by phone (865.329.7566) or email.
Available in 100 plug packs