How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms

Lentinulaedodes or more commonly known as Shiitake mushroom is a well-loved mushroom. In fact, the Japanese have been in love with this species for thousand of years. This is one kind of mushroom that many would love to add in their dishes.

This article is for people who wish to grow Shiitake mushrooms. This contains what kind of wood is most viable to grow the mushroom, the other considerations one needs to take note of as well as how to put the dowels into the logs.

The Shiitake mushroom is best grown using the dowel method. You have to insert these dowels into the logs, store the log is a dry but dark place and harvest them when the right time comes.

The Best Type of Logs

When you want to grow this kind of mushroom, the hardwood is the most preferred by many. Growers prefer beech, birch and oak. Some may also recommend poplar and hazel, but many stay away from apple and ash as these have poisonous sap that might interfere with the growth of the mushroom..It is preferred that you use logs cut during the dormant months, buy wholesale magic mushrooms like during fall. The logs to be used should not be dry. The length should be around a meter long only. Choose logs that are clean and do not have scars as these can become entry points for other unwanted fungi to grow.

Your Dowel Spawn

You would know if the Shiitake spawn is already mature for it turns to chocolate brown when it does. If you do not wish to use your spawns immediately, you need to store them in a dry cool place. Don’t expose them to direct sunlight or freezing temperature.

What Do You Need to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms?

Aside from the quality logs, you need some cheese wax, an electric drill as well as the hammer. There are 5 processes that you need to understand if you want to grow shiitake mushrooms: inoculation, drilling, waxing, waiting and fruiting.

It all starts with the inoculation process. This is the part where the mycelium is introduced to the log, in a way, decomposing it as the mushrooms start to grow and flourish. You only need to do this once and it will last for about six years. The dowels are inserted into the holes drilled into the log. These dowels contain the spawn. To avoid contamination and drying of the spawn, the holes are coveredwith wax.

Once everything has been sealed by the wax, including the holes and the end parts of the log as well as the damaged part, you basically have nothing to do but wait. One thing you need to remember, though. The wax used should be hot, so it sticks better to the wood, hence better sealing.

During the waiting period, if you do not take care of the log, it may dry up. You end up killing the mycelium that produces the mushrooms. Remember, you need to cover them with a dark plastic bag and then cover with rotting leaves or soil. Keep them in an area where if is dark or wooded. Some areas suitable to keep your logs would include areas that the sun cannot directly hit and under the shrubs. If you log has dried out, soak them in water for a day or two.

Once the mycelium has matured, you are now in the fruiting stage. As you noticed, the log by now has entirely covered the log. This is the perfect time to transfer them in a moist, shaded place but far from the wind. It is better if some grass or other kinds of vegetation grow around your log. This will ensure the moisture from escaping and making your log dry.

If the right time comes, small pins can be seen. These would grow into Shiitake mushrooms. To keep slugs from infesting your mushroom, cover your batch with clear plastic. To harvest, you have to firmly hold the base of the stem and twist. Do not discard the log for it can produce another batch in a few weeks’ time.

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