Shiitake block update:
Yesterday when I was cleaning up a few blue-green mold spots and patches, I realized the shiitake block had become too light — it was drying out. So I left it outside in the overnight drizzle — unseasonably warm about 60°F.
(Can you see how the mycelia have mostly filled in the “brain surgery hollow”? The dark patch in the top-right photo is a new area that was starting to grow mold on the surface, wiped with rum soaked paper towel and then detailed with cotton swabs. )
This morning, I swished the block around in the accumulated rainwater, then put it in a bag with cold bottled spring water from the jug dispenser and soaked for about 30 minutes, pouring out the water after thoroughly shaking and swirling the water to hopefully rinse off the mold spores. (I might do this again one more time in the next couple of days.)
I loosely closed the bag and put it back on thoroughly cleaned counter and bake/sterilized steamer. For now, I clipped off the top corner of the bag to provide a tiny bit of ventilation while maintaining high humidity for a while longer, but will review what to do from here.
I’m going to try the following, but keeping the block fully enclosed in the bag may increase opportunities for the mold to gain ground....
Shiitake Mushroom Kit Growing Instructions
Richters InfoSheet D8655
The shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes) prefers cool temperatures (45-70 degrees Fahrenheit, 7-21 degrees Celsius), and a high humidity (75-85% relative humidity). It requires light – direct sunlight is too strong, but “skylight”, or light from a fluorescent lamp up to about 15 ft. away, is fine. It requires fresh air, but, a lot of air movement will tend to be too drying and may sweep away too much of the carbon dioxide produced by the growing mycelium.
In a less than perfect environment, it is beneficial to keep the bag on the substrate block as much as possible, to minimize the drying and maintain slightly elevated carbon dioxide levels. Open the top of the bag a little, to allow for increased ventilation which helps to induce fruiting (“pinning”) but minimize drying. The substrate surface should be moist at the times when flushes of mushrooms are wanted. When small mushrooms are evident, open the op of the bag a little more. As the mushrooms develop a little more, slit the bag down the sides of the substrate block [...]