New to mushrooms - shitake plugs

madferret(UK 8b-9a)August 26, 2010

Hello everyone.

I recently bought some shitake mushroom plugs which I'll be installing into a large log I found in the local woods.

My question is do I need to prepare this log 1st, obviously as it has come from the local woods I'm a bit worried it could contain disease or other fungus that would cause either me or the other mushrooms a problem.

My other idea was to cut some logs out of 2 old. But not rotten fir trees left over from Christmas.

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I took a class here in N Florida on shiitake culture. They gave us a handout from the spore provider nurseries. They are catered to your agric zone. They say type C17 is for our zone--8b. You have to use a deciduous hardwood (loses leaves in winter) log about 3 feet long and as big around as you can carry. Cut the log after first frost. Mine is about 5" diameter, and my son got about 9-10" dia. The bigger around the longer it takes the log to rot and completely stop producing. Deciduous hardwood here is turkey oak, water oak, laurel oak, southern red oak, hickory, white oak, white ash, black locust. Mark the tree during the summer when you can see the leaves, because softwood like pine will not do at all. cut the logs after the first frost when the trees are dormant (very important--no sap up in the layer that the spore plugs will be in) and up to the time in the Spring when the leaves begin to bud out. No more than one week before you will be innoculating them with the spores or spawn. Log should be free of internal decay, because poisonous mushrooms may have taken residence on a rotten log. Then drill holes 1 to 1.5" deep with a drill bit 5/16" diameter. The spawn are impregnated into dowels 1" long, which you buy. Hammer the dowels into the holes flat, not recessed. Melt your parafin wax in an ugly pot you bought at a junk sale or a fry-baby you won't be needing except to make candles or boil cinnamon at Christmas to smell up the house or something. Put log in the dark shade, like on the north side of the house leaning up toward the house on a cowboy horse-tying up place like in front of the saloon in westerns. You dont want it touching the house because you have to water it a lot. The old man who taught the class said he leaned his up to his block house ( that can't rot) between the row of azalea bushes and the block wall. Lean it up because sand will bounce up on to the mushrooms during hard rains. Twice a week down here on the coast, water the logs with a little sprinkler for 1 hour (up north where the air is dry: 6-12 hours). They taught us 1 hour is fine for all the coastal counties. It is drier up north where your nose bleeds just watching Oprah, so they need more watering. They brought a log impregnated in 2006, Spring to the class on Tuesday. Saturday before the class they put the log in a big cooler with 3 bags of ice and the log went into production and had eating size mushrooms by Tuesday to show the class. You can force them into production again and again by putting them into a cooler or something with a bag of ice. It has just turned a little cool here this past week, and my log is all popped out with mushrooms. Sauteed with garlic they taste like cooked oysters, only a little better. We served on angel hair pasta.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 11:18PM
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forgot to add: The Home Extension Agent gave the class, and provided the logs in Feb, 2009. The winter of 2009 we waited with 'bated breath for the shrooms, but no luck. I had followed directions and got a total of 3 mushrooms. My son, not so much and he didn't get even one. We had given up completedly when I noticed this week mushrooms had sprouted in my hay bale garden, so I checked my shiitake log and it was loaded. Called my son and his was loaded also. We ate our first meal tonight. It was delicious.
I think the log must need to decay somewhat before the mushrooms will sprout. Do not get discouraged. It eventually works out.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 11:37PM
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alpharetta(z7 GA)

I am new to the mushroom too. I have silly question, where is likely the place people get the logs for free? Just go to local wood/forest and find some fresh logs? Few stores sell the firewood logs, but I am not sure those are good for mushroom growing. I live in Atlanta GA. Beside wood log, what could be subtitude? and where I can get it? like homedepot will have those material?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 6:41PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

kumquat1, hope you r still around... You said ...when the trees are dormant (very important--no sap up in the layer that the spore plugs will be in) and up to the time in the Spring when the leaves begin to bud out Why is this important? I would like to start mushroom, too. Does this mean it's necessary to wait until next year?

You also mentioned paraffin but didn't say what it's for or what to do with it.

I tried to find information on the 'net about growing mushrooms but could only find info pertaining to kits. I don't want to buy a kit, sounds too artificial. I don't want to do this inside, plenty of room under the house. Your info is the best yet. Looks like you're not far from where I am. Do you know of any place in person to get going with mushrooms - the spores or plugs - or must one use WWW? Once started, how long, how many years can it keep producing mushrooms?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 1:41PM
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