Our mushroom logs are intended for long term seasonal mushroom production outdoors. For best results place the log outdoors in a shady place with occasional watering and soaking during the drier months. When outdoor conditions are conducive to mushroom growth mushrooms will sprout from the surface of the log for many years.
Care of your Shiitake Mushroom Log:
Oak logs are cut and inoculated with shiitake mycelium grown on wooden plugs produced under laboratory conditions. These plugs are pushed into holes drilled into the logs and a cap of wax is placed over each hole to prevent drying. The logs must then mature as the mycelium grows into the wood. This is called the spawn run and lasts for up to 2 years.
When the spawn run is complete, the logs are ready to fruit. Shock the logs to initiate fruiting by knocking one end of the log sharply on hard ground and totally immersing it in cool or cold water for 24-48 hours. The water should be non-chlorinated, rainwater or tap water left to stand overnight. Place the log in a sheltered, shady spot and lightly cover with plastic to increase humidity. Logs should start fruiting within 1 - 3 weeks, forming in 'flushes'. Remove the plastic cover once fruiting has started.
Cut the mushrooms off the log when the cap is 3 - 4 inches across, after 4 - 8 days of growing (they'll grow quicker in warmer temperatures). It's important to cut them off the log rather than picking them - this could reduce the chances for more mushrooms. Trim off the tough stalks before cooking and eating.
After picking the mushrooms leave the log outside in a damp place for four to six weeks to rest, then soak the log to start the second fruiting flush. Frost and snow are no problem. This resting period is for the mycelium to extract more nutrients from the log for more shiitake mushrooms.
It is also possible to simply leave the log outside in a shady place and it will fruit when the outside temperature is warm and wet. This is the easiest way of growing mushrooms, but not so productive and predictable! The log should fruit for up to six years. During periods of prolonged dryness or drought, periodic overnight soaking may be needed.
You should look for a shaded, damp area sheltered from the wind. The log will need to receive rainfall unless you are regularly soaking it. A north facing wall out of the wind is a good place, alternatively under a shady tree. Slugs can also be a problem - you may need to bring the log in to a slug free area while it is fruiting. The most important thing is to put the log somewhere easy to see! Most “failures” are due to the log fruiting happily away at the bottom of the garden out of sight and mind.
Log cultivation of mushrooms is a practice that is subject to the whims of nature. With careful management, each log should produce around 2 pounds of mushrooms over its lifetime, but success factors such as wind, temperature and humidity are uncontrollable. Log cultivation is not an exact science and requires patience, time and a little luck. Please persevere!
Everything Mushrooms – 1004 Sevier Ave – Knoxville TN 37920 865.329.7566 -www.everythingmushrooms.com