Post by mdtreehugger on Feb 23, 2017 10:24:36 GMT -5
Last spring my boss and I decided that we were going to start some s**take's on logs at the office. We inoculated the logs last may and got our first harvest last September. Around 16 pounds of giant s**takes. This is what the logs looked like a year ago
I figured today with all this nice weather we were having it was time to check and see what the logs were looking like. First some good news, they were still there and there is starting to be some miccelium visible on the ends. That means that if the weather stays warm, particularly after a nice rain I should be eating fresh mushrooms again soon. The white spots on the end of the logs are the miccelium. Now the bad news. Luckily none of my logs were damaged but still got to clean that up. Someone many years ago had the brilliant idea of planting various non native spruces and firs. These trees did not flourish in our sandy shallow Delaware soils. They have a tendency to die or just plain blow over like this one did. We knew this was a risk when we picked the location, but the close access to water and electric, plus the shade and the tendency for the canopy to hold the humidity in made it ideal. Hopefully will be able to update soon with another nice harvest.
That is really cool, I would love to start one of those. Can you explain the process on how to start them?
I would be happy to. It's actually fairly simple just takes some time. This time of year is a really good time to get started as the wood has the most carbohydrates available for the mushrooms to feed on. This is going to be specifically for shiitakes as I have no experience yet with other mushrooms, although I am planning on giving oysters a shot this year. Wood should be cut now, Oak is preferred but most hardwoods will do. We actually used sweet gum because it was so readily available. Although we will probably see a much shorter life span of our logs because of this choice. Diameters of 4-6 inches are also preferred, much smaller and not enough carbs, much bigger and it takes to long for the good miccelum to colonize giving the bad guys a chance to take over. Cut them now and let them cure for 6-8 weeks. Then the fun part begins. There are several types of mushroom spawn available, the most common being saw dust and plugs. We chose saw dust mostly due to the cost savings. Inoculation though is pretty much the same for each type of spawn. You start by drilling what feels like a million holes. These holes are about half inch in diameter and 1 inch deep. If you see all the dark spots on the sides of the logs that is what those are. A high speed drill is highly recommended, hence our need for electric. Next you insert your spawn into the hole that you drilled. Plugs are very simple, just drop em in. Sawdust is slightly more complicated and requires a special tool. This tool looks basically like a giant hypodermic needle, but the tube gets packed with sawdust then injects into the hole. Cover with melted cheese wax and your done. Now you wait (sometimes as long as a year) while your spawn colonizes its new home. Once colonization is complete and weather conditions are right the logs will fruit, aka mushrooms. We got lucky and had mushrooms in about 5 months, again I suspect our decision to use gum affected this. I am happy to try to answer any other questions you may have, but I am certianally far from an expert on the topic.