Shiitake Mushrooms – Grow Your Own

Shiitake MushroomsSadly, morel mushroom hunting season is over for this year.  But if you still have the bug for mushroom hunting, then here is something to try – growing your own!  Our friends Paul and Amy, in NE Ohio do this with great success.

Somehow I missed seeing this when we were up there a few weeks ago, but Jim didn’t.  He was telling me how Paul and Amy have about 20 logs stacked upright, like a fence.  They drill holes into logs and then “seed” shiitake mushroom spores, which they purchase, into the holes and seal the holes with wax.  Simple enough. This is definitely something I want to do.

How to Grow Your Own Shiitake Mushrooms

I found this great website and video (below), that explains every step on how to grown your own shiitake mushrooms.  The first minute or two shows you a time-lapsed sequence of the mushrooms growing in just a short span of 3 days, but hang in there to get to the meat of the instructions.

In a nutshell, here are the basic steps that I learned from the video, on how to grow shiitake mushrooms in a log:

  1. Cut a fresh 4′ log, preferably red oak (this is the native wood in which they grow Shiitake mushrooms in Japan to produce the premium mushrooms that sell for a lot of money).
  2. Soak the log for 24 – 48 hours.
  3. Using a 5/6″ wood drill bit, drill holes in the log every 6 inches.  The holes need to be big enough to allow you to insert a wood dowel plug that contains shiitake mushroom spores.
  4. Pound the dowel plugs into the holes.
  5. Melt bee’s wax and pour into the holes to seal.
  6. Stack logs (like a log cabin, or fence, or lean against a building) for 6 months in partial shade.
  7. Water every 2-3 weeks.  Keep the logs at 30% moisture content.

The video says that the logs will fruit for 5 years, until the logs fall apart.  The key point that Jim learned from Paul, is that the mushrooms grow underneath the bark, and once the bark is gone, it is all over.

You can buy shiitake mushroom plugs here.  They are only $30 for 300 plugs.

Have any of you grown mushrooms?

Life is an Adventure!