Shiitake

shiitake1I’ve long been interested in cultivating mushrooms, but never got the energy together to get the project started. One of Alice’s colleagues at work showed us her Shiitake mushroom rack with the logs so neatly stacked, and very kindly gave us a few of the mushrooms, and that got me over the hump.

I called the folks at Field and Forest and placed an order for enough spawn for 12 logs. I learned from them that sugar maple was a suitable host for the mushrooms. So one Sunday I headed out, felled a tree that needed thinning, cut the logs to length, and piled them in the Scout.

When the thimble spawn from Field and Forest came, I backed the Scout into the garage, fired up the heater, and began the process of drilling the necessary 11mm holes. The plans called for one hole every 7 inches along the log, and a new row every inch or two, with the holes offset to make a diamond pattern. I made a measuring stick to help with this part of the project. I found that the logs did not stay put on the sawhorses, so made a pair of blocks with wedges cut out of them for the logs to sit in, and that worked just fine.

shiitake3Once I had the process down, Alice joined me. The inoculation went much faster with two of us working on it, and before long, all the logs were finished and stacked back into the bed of the Scout.

The instructions called for the logs to be placed somewhere in the shade to keep them from drying out, and near water, as they would need frequent baths in order to keep moist enough to bear fruit in the next year.

shiitake2So I wound up stacking them under the big spruce tree near the back pond. There was ample shade there and good access to water. I learned they could be watered by soaking them for up to 24 hours, and plan to tie the logs together and dunk them in the pond when the time comes. All-in-all, the project went pretty smoothly and I’m eager to see the results. We should get our first crop in about a year, with potential crops for the next several years after that.

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