Posts Tagged ‘Growing Mushrooms on Logs’

I have written some previous posts about growing Shiitake mushrooms on logs and this year I am making it a personal goal / mission to get more than one species of mushroom as well as more than one type of wood species. I realised that the best approach is to have a few options and different wood types so that you get fruit harvest in different stages as well as the possibility of quicker colonisation.

Below is a wood type to mushroom species reference chart so you can decide what to grow depending on available wood type.

Wood Mushrrom Chart.png

As you can see, Oak is the preferred log due to the amount of species that it can be inoculated with however, here in the UK Oak are a preferred species and are often protected with TPO’s (Tree Protection Orders) mainly due to their benefit to wildlife and as habitat. Another consideration is also what ‘Plug Spawn’ you can get your hands on, it’s all nice to see what can be grown using the above chart but you may not be able to locate a seller who has all of these varieties and you may even have to purchase from a number of different suppliers.

 

Growing Mushrooms on Logs – In A Nutshell

As short as possible, you get hold of recently cut / felled logs (tree surgeons are the obvious choice to contact as they are happy to get rid of logs for free – they usually have to pay to dump woodchip). Try find out how long it has been since the logs were felled, try to have your spawn arrive or be available for use no longer than 5-6 seeks after they were cut. (Mushroom Dowels or Spores can be stored in the fridge for a period of time depending on your appliance temperatures etc, generally most suppliers recommend no more than 2 weeks)

You drill holes in a diamond formation around your logs and hammer in pre-inoculated sterilised wooden dowels into these holes and seal with how wax (there are special waxes for this). The best method for keeping logs moist came to me from one of Sepp Holzers’ books (either ‘Holzer’s Permaculture’ or ‘Desert or Paradise’) – you merely pay attention to where the top of the wood is and what was / is the bottom, so before chopping make markings pointing up representing the top. You will plant the inoculated logs into the soil (up end up) to a certain depth and the log itself should naturally draw up moisture from the soil, otherwise if you forget for a short time to moisten the logs, you could kill the mycelium inside the log and everything would be a waste of time and effort.

More detailed information on the process will always be provided by the Dowel / Spore supplier, all you will need is a drill, hammer, place to wash the logs, place to do the drilling / innoculation and something to melt wax in and a brush, (some paintbrush bristles are actually made from plastic and will likely melt in the hot wax, get real horse hair brushes).

Within 1 year to 18 months, you should have full colonisation and the starting of regular fruiting, depending on log size, you could get fruit from each log for up to 8 or so years!!

The time to cut logs is before Spring so right now would not be the best time but if the logs are already cut (by a tree surgeon for instance) then you may as well use them (it’s best to avoid cutting trees in Spring due to the rising sap which causes excessive bleeding on Trees and Shrubs).

 

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Good evening everyone! As promised and well overdue, here is the package of Shiitake Mushroom Mycelium (Spores) and subsequent additional kit / supplies to successfully grow my own Shiitake mushrooms at home on Logs.

Originally, when I first heard about growing mushrooms on logs it honestly didn’t sound attractive! (I’m a renter, what if I had to move?, where do I put the logs?, what if they rot? etc.) That was before I discovered permaculture and how we do encourage growing perennial, continually fruiting vegetables and fruits etc.

After doing some research I placed my order from Mushroom Box (They supply UK and Europe) and received the following a few days later:

  • 2x Packs of Sealing Wax
  • 6x Packs (50pcs each totaling 300) Shiitake Dowels
  • 2x Depth Collared Drill Bits

(If you are not sure how much / many Dowels or Wax is needed per how many logs you have, just email them as I did before ordering and tell them how many logs and estimated length and width. their estimate was extremely accurate and I only had leftover dowels because of my own miscalculations when measuring distance between drilled holes!)

Shiitake Mushroom Kit ordered from Mushroombox.co.uk: Shiitake Mycelium, Sealing Wax and Depth Collared Drill Bit

For an idea on how to go about growing mushrooms on logs, Click Here for my previous post (Includes informative video)

In the case of cultivating mushrooms on logs, you are pretty much guaranteed a bi-monthly harvest of mushrooms per log for between 3 to 5/7 years Depending on log size / width etc. This fits very well in the Permaculture Paradigm of using less energy (cultivating using a growing kit would mean quicker harvest but also the mushroom bedding / feed would run out quicker, thereby needing the re-purchase of new kit/s or refilling regularly) Logs take far longer to decompose / feed the mushroom mycelium hence their popularity! Once you have a reasonable batch size, you won’t be doing anything else for several years except harvesting and watering the logs

If you have a garden full of perennial crops that come up by themselves then you have less need to expend energy there, so meaning less calories (within Permaculture teachings you discover the truth behind the current form of Monoculture farming whereby more calories are Spent per calorie earned from harvested crops)

Quick description of the process and equipment:

The Drill Bit and Depth Collar are the right size for the Mycelium Dowels, you just need to measure the length of the dowels and add 5mm to 1cm onto the end. and fit the depth collar tightening with an Allen Key (Hex Key).
The Mycelium Dowels are the same as the little wooden Dowels that you use to piece together furniture from Ikea for example, they just have been sterilized and have been inoculated professionally with Mycelium.
Once you have drilled your holes in the pattern suggested on the Mushroom Box Growing Instructions page, you hammer them in flush to the surface of the logs (or slightly deeper) and Seal with the melted Sealing Wax using a good brush etc. (the sealing wax is supplied in wax chips and you need to melt them yourself, they seal the dowels and kill off any unwanted organisms by sterilizing the immediate area around the drilled cavity. It must also be used to seal any damaged parts of the log/s)

That’s it for now, keep an eye out for the final post where I will have a step-by-step guide on preparing, drilling, installing dowels, sealing and log placement outside …

I have been fascinated with the fact that as with most edible organisms, we can grow mushrooms at home or in our gardens, this has been something I have been looking into since around 2012 and I have finally gotten around to doing it Properly!

In this post I will be discussing a little about the Shiitake and why I have chosen to grow this species, as well as some other information such as where to get the mushroom mycelium (spores) to get yourself going …

Shiitake Mushrooms Growing on (in) a Log

Shiitake mushrooms have great medicinal value, there are individuals today who swear on this claim and give testament by their religious use of the fungi, In a video further down in this post, Gary ‘The Mushroom Guy’ says that having a Shiitake once a day for the last four years has resulted in great health and zero illness in that period (the video also gives the general idea on how to cultivate them on logs).

Initially I came across a video online where someone was advising how to grow any shop bought mushrooms in a container of compost. I followed this method and can only warn you Be Extra Careful!! you Don’t know if the compost you are using already has a spore contamination as mine had!
Luckily I am an observant guy, when I noticed that in the same pot of my young tomato seedling there was a very similar looking little mushroom popping out, that’s when I clicked that there was already mycelium growing in the compost which came from one of the big two garden centers here in the UK.
As a result I would recommend growing from logs first as it is far safer …

Agroforestry: Growing Mushrooms On Logs at the base of Woodland / Plantations

”Shiitakes have four to ten times the flavor of common white button mushrooms. In addition to their robust/pungent, woody flavor and meaty texture, shiitakes provide high levels of protein (18%), potassium, niacin and B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. They have natural antiviral and immunity-boosting properties and are used nutritionally to fight viruses, lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. Lentinan, an immunostimulant derived from shiitakes, has been used to treat cancer, AIDS, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease, and other conditions with impressive results. Researchers S. Suzuki and Oshima found that a raw shiitake eaten daily for one week lowered serum cholesterol by 12%.”

I have happily received my order of Shiitake mycelium, sealing wax and the proper drill bits from Mushroom Box UK and have already finished 6 logs with another two about to be done. The post with the details will follow in a couple days…

Some Useful Links / Info: Click Here

Take a look at the video below, it is quite inspiring and you can see how simple it can be …

See you all in the next post tomorrow 🙂