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Shiitake Mushrooms: Non-Traditional Forest Products, Part 2

| 10/18/2016 1:11:00 PM

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In Part 1 of this series, we told you how we got involved cultivating shiitake mushrooms through our Agricultural Cooperative Extension Agency. This is how our farm became "The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms". Read Part 1 for guidance on choosing the right logs and when to inoculate them. In this post, we'll show you how to get started with the inoculation and cultivating of shiitakes.

Equipment and Supplies

• Drill
• Drill bit (suggested 12 mm) — Field & Forest has these for $13.00 each
• Wax (Cheese wax suggested) — Expect to pay about $15.00 for 5 pounds. The non-paraffin is more expensive but better for organic growers.
• Inoculator (thumb-style brass) — Field & Forest has this for $33.00.
• You can use a kitchen baster brush (natural bristle with no plastic) or you can purchase wax daubers — you can get packages of four for $1.00.
• Spawn can also be purchased from Field & Forest, Fungi Perfecti, and elsewhere. If interested in the project through Cooperative Extension, contact your local extension office for more info.
• You may contact local loggers regarding logs that are too small for lumber as sometimes they sell this for firewood. If you have it available, you can cut your own.
• If you decide to soak your logs, you will need a container large enough to fit the size of log you have cut. There are livestock water troughs for larger logs and Wal-Mart has plastic "totes" that would service smaller logs and are priced reasonably.

Setup to Inoculate Mushroom Logs

I suggest to have a work area (station) for each task:

1. Find a location that will be suitable for an electric drill (if you’re in a remote area make sure you have extra batteries). Have an area where you can set up your drill to make the holes in the logs.

2. It is recommended to space the holes 6 to 8 inches apart in rows along the length with 2 to 4 in between rows. The holes should look like a staggered diamond pattern. (Closer spacings increase the rate of colonization and more rapid production but, the spawn doesn’t go as far). Use your own judgement.

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