Trench Log and Log Raft Cultivation

Grow mushrooms on logs for the simplest way to cultivate edible and medicinal forest mushrooms.

| April/May 2019


People have been growing mushrooms on logs for hundreds of years. It's one of the simplest ways to cultivate edible and medicinal forest mushrooms.

Many mushroom species that thrive on wood fruit better on logs that are partially buried rather than stacked aboveground. The access to extra ground moisture, reduced fruiting surface area, and microclimate created by covering the logs with leaves or straw trigger and support prolific fruitings preferred by (but not limited to) reishi (Ganoderma spp.), nameko (Pholiota nameko), black poplar/pioppino (Agrocybe aegerita), brick top (Hypholoma sublateritium), and maitake (Grifola frondosa). There are basically two ways to do this: either you trench the logs, or you build a “raft” of them and cover it; they both produce the same results.

When you cultivate mushrooms on partially buried wood, the flushes typically only last for two to three years, so be prepared to build additional beds every two years to sustain a continuous harvest. That said, certain mushrooms can fruit heavily in that timespan. I'll describe two methods; your choice will depend on your access to fresh wood chips. Whichever method you choose, first drill holes in your logs, insert plug or sawdust spawn into the holes, and allow them to colonize for three to four months aboveground. Water these logs weekly for the first two months. Once the beds are prepared, you only need to water the logs and saturate the beds around the time the mushrooms should fruit.


Trenching your logs means you'll need to excavate a space half the depth of your logs, long and wide enough to fit all the logs in tightly. After you place your logs in the trench, shovel the soil you removed back in between the seams and gaps and around the edges. Then water the logs so the soil settles in firmly, leaving the clean upper bark surface exposed. (You could bury them entirely, but finding them again can be difficult, and you don't want to step on any mushrooms that may be hidden and working their way up through the leaves and mulch.) Place a stake or sign near your bed so you can mark where you have planted, and label it with the date and strain information for your records.

3/22/2019 10:43:03 AM

I wonder does it matter if the logs are newly cut hardwood, or aged softwood, or ?



Learn from Home!

Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters