When the town asked permission to take down branches from my yard along the street, I said no. But when they took down an entire oak tree on the edge of my neighbor’s yard, I exclaimed “Yes!”
Freshly cut, hard wood oak was exactly what I needed! I called my neighbor, hoping that there wasn’t a long line of people in front of me who also wanted her cut-up logs (LOL), and soon thereafter I was carting home the perfect logs for my project – inoculating logs to cultivate shiitake mushrooms.
This is my first attempt at cultivating mushrooms, but I’m hopeful that it will be a success, and grateful for the extremely helpful and patient people at Field and Forest Products that walked me through the entire process and set me up with what I needed (in addition to the logs). Just in case you want to give it a try, here’s what you’ll need:
• Freshly cut logs (no more than 3 months old) – Oak, Maple, Alder and American Beech all are recommended
• Shiitake mushroom spores
• Drill bit – the same size as the spores for a nice snug fit
• Wax sealant – I used a cold wax that spreads without being heated
Thanks to Chip (husband and top notch mushroom-spore-hole-driller), we knocked off this project in just over 2 hours – including drilling each log in the recommended diamond pattern, inserting spores into each hole, sealing with wax, and setting up our finished logs in a shady humid place in the yard where they can sit above ground on an angle (so the rain drains off of them) to rest and grow.
And now, we wait. There’s a chance we’ll have mushrooms to harvest come fall, but if not, certainly we’ll have them next spring. I will be sure to report back when they arrive and at that point we can talk about how a family of 4 is going to possibly consume so many mushrooms! I can’t wait!
Until then, eat clean live well!