How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms


| 5/17/2016 1:36:00 PM


Shiitake mushrooms are an easy to grow, delicious mushroom for beginners to learn to cultivate. Shitakes have a satisfying meaty texture when sautéed, broiled or baked, and they have a distinctive 'unami' flavor that makes them popular in Asia.

mushrooms

Our Appalachian homestead has given us lots of opportunities to experiment with homesteading skills like using a wood-fired earth oven, making vermicompost with worms, washing with soap nuts and building rabbit lawn mowers, so it seemed a natural next step for us to start experimenting with cultivating our own mushrooms. We learned a lot from this project that I am sharing with you in article. Think of it as a starting point in your own journey of learning the art of shiitake cultivation from spore to fruit.

Mushroom Logs

Mushroom spawn requires hardwood logs that are well shaded and protected from severe winds. Red Oak and White Oak is the preferred wood type for shiitake cultivation. Trees used for mushroom logs should be felled in mid to late winter to be inoculated in early spring. Let logs age for two weeks before inoculating them. Only use logs with intact bark because gaps in bark can allow other types of fungi to get in and contaminate your spores.

Prepare logs that are between 3-8 inches in diameter and in lengths between 3-4 feet. Too long logs become cumbersome to work with; too short ones dry out quickly. Properly managed small diameter logs can produce more mushrooms though the logs will decay quickly. That's not a problem though, because 'spent' logs can be ground up and used as compost.



mushroom farmer





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