What to do with your new mushroom log.

Your logs are completely maintenance free, after you find a good location for them.

Fresh mushroom logs stacked up in the shade, in the rain and off the ground.
Fresh mushroom logs stacked up in the shade, in the rain and off the ground.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Set it outside in a mostly shady spot, like the north or north-east side of a structure or under some trees.
  • Don’t put it under cover, since it should get rained on.
  • Keep it off the soil by setting it on some rocks, bricks or boards.
  • It is very important that your logs do not dry out by prolonged exposure to direct sun or high temperatures.
  • Optional: Colonization of a freshly inoculated log is accelerated by keeping it in a cool (room temperature) place indoors, in your basement or in the garage, wrapped in plastic for a month or two during the coldest time of the year.   Then set outside in a shady spot as described above.
  • Don’t let it freeze hard the first few weeks.  A solid week of freezing daytime temps might kill a freshly inoculated log, but you probably won’t see that if you live in WNC.
  • After they have incubated for a 8 months or so, you can “force” a flush of mushrooms by soaking them in a stream of tank overnight, or putting a soaker hose on it for several hours.  This is a good thing to do too in hot dry weather.

That’s it, they should produce a first flush in 8-12 months, and keep producing sporadically (usually after a wet cycle) for 1 or 2 more years.

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

Yes, you can do that very easily in your backyard. Brevard has an excellent climate for this, being in a temperate rainforest.

All you need is:
– a small log (or several), 4-8 inches in diameter and about 4 ft long
– some mushroom spawn
– some melted wax

Then drill some evenly spaced holes in the logs, stuff the spawn plugs in the holes and cover each hole with wax.

Put the logs the shade, away from the bare earth and wait about a year.

Depending on conditions, and whenever the mushrooms decide, you will get several small harvests of fresh, dense, organic mushrooms for up to four years (the thicker logs last longer). It is best to check a couple of days after a rain.

Periodically, I plan to host a mushroom log party where I will supply the spawn, logs and tools and you will do most of the work.