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Alberto L.

How to grow your own Shiitake mushrooms at home

 Blog  •  Published on: 05 Nov 2022

Without a doubt, mushrooms can be considered one of the strangest elements or ingredients that we usually find in our dishes, because they are neither plants nor animals. To give you an idea of ​​how strange fungi can be, keep in mind that the largest living being on earth is none other than a fungus. It is nothing more and nothing less than 6 km long.

There is a large number of edible mushrooms, including Shiitake, which is currently one of the most cultivated worldwide. Although the most common thing when we want to eat these mushrooms is to go to the supermarket and buy them, the cultivation of Shiitake mushrooms at home is becoming more widespread every day. This is because there are many facilities that did not exist a few years ago.

Let's see in this article step by step how you have to do to grow Shiitake mushrooms easily in the comfort of your home.

5 steps to grow Shiitake mushrooms at home

First of all, and as I emphasize every time I write articles of this type, you should try to have all the necessary tools and resources, for this I can recommend one of the best Amazon Collections for gardeners and those starting their homesteads. Take a moment to enter the store, you will see that there you can find everything you need. ;)

1. Choose the right trunks

Although I think that until now I had not clarified it, one of the best places to grow Shiitake mushrooms are logs. But not just any useful trunk, it must meet certain requirements:

- The wood must be freshly cut.

- It must be very clean.

- The bark of the trunk must be intact.

- Hardwood such as oak, maple, beech, hickory, or black walnut should be used.

- You should not use evergreens, softwoods or fruit trees.

Aim to cut the wood 3 to 6 inches wide and 3 to 4 feet long, optimally in late winter or early spring. Store them off the ground to prevent rot and pests, and in the shade so they don't dry out. The logs must be cool enough to contain the nutrition and moisture necessary for the shiitake seed to thrive.

2. Choose a location

You don't have to know much about mushrooms to know that it likes places that are shady, moist and well sheltered from the wind. Knowing this you should place a site that meets all the requirements.

On the other hand, keep in mind that you should also have a comfortable work space in which to drill holes in the logs with an electric drill, a space to inoculate the logs, and a place to let them rest and flourish.

In addition, the place where you will put the logs would be good if it has access to water, such as a hose or a sprinkler, for maintenance and a tub to soak the logs when necessary.

3. Buy Shiitake mushroom plugs already rolled

Once you have the trunks and the ideal place to place them, it is time to buy the plugs or spikes to be able to inoculate these mushrooms with Shiitake mushrooms. You can go to a nursery to buy it, although they are somewhat specific products, so it is usually difficult to find. For this reason I recommend you buy Shiitake mushroom plugs in trusted online stores.

4. Inoculate the trunk

Among the most important keys, you should know that it is essential that the process begins in early spring, this is so that the shiitake spreads throughout the wood before going dormant in the cold.

Then using a drill bit the same size as the plugs you bought, drill holes every three inches and one inch deep. Drill the following rows 5 cm apart, offsetting the holes to form a diamond pattern. The number of rows in a log is equal to its diameter, so a 5-inch log should have 5 rows. For the sawdust inoculant, use a 7/16-inch drill bit to make holes 1.25 inches deep.

Fill each hole with a plug, tapping it with a mallet until it is slightly deeper than surface level. If you use sawdust, you'd better use an inoculation tool.

5. Cover the holes with wax

The last thing to do is cover each hole with a melted, food-safe wax, such as paraffin, beeswax, or cheese wax, sealing and protecting the inoculant.

The wax should seal well but not stick out. Double check that no holes or cracks have formed after drying, as these can let in competing pests or spores.

Shiitake Mushroom Care

Once the logs have been inoculated, some care must be taken. Otherwise, the Shiitake will not bear fruit and all the work you have done will be lost.

The first thing to do is store all the logs in a shady and preferably humid place. Stack them log cabin style or on a stand to make an A-frame.

Once stored, do not forget them, frequently check that they are not drying out, and moisten them in case they lose moisture. When winter comes, the inoculated logs can be covered with burlap or breathable straw to insulate them until the heat and humidity cause the fungus to set fruit.

If you carry out the care correctly, it only remains to wait, and wait a long time, since the process of spawning and colonization of the trunk will last from 8 to 18 months. So now you know, have some patience, that in a few months you will be able to enjoy the best Shiitake mushrooms on your plate. ;)


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