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applestar
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I found pretty clear-cut instructions for “fruiting” the shiitake block here (although this doesn’t tell you the optimum temperature range....)
Grow Your Own Shiitake
Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
https://northspore.com/collections/grow ... n-shiitake
- I put the bag of colonized shiitake substrate outside on the patio overnight (I don’t have room in my fridge for this), and also left out a big pot of boiled water to chill. The temperatures went down to 40’s around 2AM and stayed in the 30’s all morning.

Image

- This morning, I opened the bag, pulled off the worst of the moldy patches, and plopped the shiitake block in the pot of water and left it covered to submerge, then after dunking it a couple of times, brought it inside in a colander to drain, and then set it up on the kitchen counter.
- Here’s a glimpse —
Image

I’ll let you know what happens.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Update on shiitake block —

I became worried because the kitchen temp has been higher than expected for this time of the year and it reached 75°F, which is the upper limit of the desirable fruiting temp range. I took everything off, and sure enough, there was a large patch of green mold and a smaller patch, plus a few scattered micro-spots. I wiped down the counter, removed and washed everything, baked the chopsticks and additional bamboo skewers to sterilize, covered the surrounding area with kitchen wrap and then began what felt like brain surgery —
- patted the bigger mold spots with rum-soaked paper towel (dark green to nearly black) then
- pulled off moldy substrate with tweezers, while
- blotting the “surgical field” with rum-soaked paper towel/sponge, then
- detailing with rum-soaked cotton swabs.

I was amused to see that when completed, the paper towel and cotton swab only picked up brandy-colored liquid from the substrate, which I equated with “clean blood” LOL

- it was even funnier to see that the analogy held, when I had excised all of the affected substrate and found pure white mass “healthy tissue” underneath.

I wiped down the counter again, rigged a new humidity cover using the bamboo skewers and some plastic wrap, then covered the top with washed and squeezed damp cloth napkin. I’m planning to “soap-wash the napkin and damp cloth drape” several times during the day to keep up the humidity. (I can do this at the same time when I’m rinsing the sprouts) — hopefully after this “surgery” and with the more airy new set up, the shiitake mycelia will be able to compete-overtake-colonize the block without further infiltration.

I have a better set up going than the last time I grew indoor shiitake, but this weakened block may have a hard time maturing.

With the previous indoor shiitake block, I ran into a much worse green mold infiltration when I tried to get the block to fruit for the second time after a full and productive flush. But I’ve learned a few more tricks since then, and I know where I went wrong the last time. Hopefully, this one will fruit for me at least once.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Image
- empty brown hollow top-right is the “surgical site”
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

On Sunday — Used about 2 dozen cotton swabs sprayed with rum to clean up scattered blue-green mold that sprang up in surgical site and as tiny patches around lower portions of shiitake block. Replaced condensation-covered plastic wraps.

Image
- there’s a dinner plate under the upside down steamer tray (resting on a couple of straws for airgap). I wash the plate twice a day, spray the underside with rubbing alcohol, and add some fresh tap water to evaporate through the day to maintain humidity
- even using boiled water and only misting the inside of the plastic wrap rather than the block directly seems to increase risk of mold
- overt/beaded condensation seems risky too
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

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.

Image
(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.

Image

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 [...]
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

In case you are wondering, this hopefully shiitake block is still alive.

The white block developed a “bark-like” brown crust over the entire surface, which is what you want, but then it failed to start pinning, so I have tried exposing it to more moisture and chilly temperatures — soaking for 24 hours in the 30’s~40’s°F garage. interestingly, the brown bark-like surface prevented it from soaking up the water, and I found it still bobbed like a cork after the 24 hr soak, even though I submerged it with a weight on top.

It’s back in the ventilated bag on the counter:
Image


If this still doesn’t work, several shiitake block instructions say “giving the substrate block a thump on the counter/table will promote pinning”


...I should probably reassure folks who are trying to decide if this is something they want to try, that when I tried growing an indoor kit purchased from a reputable on-line source that rightly insisted on express shipping — which I think I described in the beginning of this thread or maybe in another thread — the block fruited a full flush in 5 to 6 weeks. This one is an experiment that I grew from substrate on my own, so any number of gardener errors could be present, certainly not optimal conditions by any stretch of the imagination.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Some of you may remember that I had GIVEN UP on these shiitake logs....

Subject: Mushroom Gardening? Sat Sep 15, 2018
applestar wrote:Unfortunately, it looks like my shiitake logs have been taken over. This is what I found today.

Image
...I’m planning to move these logs and use them for pond-side landscaping.
...although there did appear to be a sign of shiitake life later in November —

Subject: Mushroom Gardening? Wed Nov 07, 2018
applestar wrote:I’ve mentioned it before — my garden has internet access and secretly monitors what I post about them on-line... then respond to show what they think of my misconceptions. They are particularly impressive when refuting any suggestion that they are “done” or when I post that I have “given up” on them.

This morning:

Image
— and if you look to the left of the beautiful lone shiitake, I think I see another pin forming.
Ha! Did I say “impressive”? Today, I went outside to take out grocery bags of kitchen scraps for the compost pile (it’s winter and they are slow to decompose even just inside the back door, especially when the temperature outside had been dipping down to negative single digits).

It’s ridiculously warm today — 65°F — and I decided to take a stroll around the garden, just to look around, you know?

...this is what I found (2 views of same logs)
Image

Quick! Go back in the house for the cell phone and something to harvest them in!

Image

Biggest ones are about 3 inches in diameter. Some had been drying up — freeze drying more likely — most had been growing for a while. There were only 2 or 3 that had the freshest creamy-white gills. But none of them smell bad or even have a noticeable smell, so to me, this means they are all OK to eat after brushing off. Some will be cooked fresh but most will be dehydrated since this is a big harvest. Ones with holes that are suspect are normally soaked in salt water first, but I doubt anything would be alive after the severe cold temperatures we just experienced.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I cooked up part of the fresh shiitake harvest with caps that started to flare out. Rinsed in salt water to let debris float or sink, cut up and light coated with EVOO, dotted with unsalted butter and sprinkled with Himalayan pink rock salt. Oh, the fresh shiitake aroma was wonderful :D

Image

...then baked coverd with aluminum foil in the casserole at 325°F for 30 minutes — and the resulting cooked shiitake was heavenly — no chance to take pictures :wink:
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

My shiitake logs are still producing — though dwindling. :D

Image
...I had some of these today — chopped and butter-suer with onions, kale, diced leftover pork chops, frozen corn, and lettuce, ...finished with saved turkey drippings (already used up pork chop drippings in another dish :> )
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I finally had 3 mature pin oaks taken down in my back yard that were on the decline. I wound up with a dozen or so logs roughly 5-10" in diameter, and about 4 feet long. I have plugged two of them with shitake plugs, and just got another 200 plugs in the mail which should be enough to plug another 4 or so logs. I currently have them under my deck leaning up against the foundation. The won't get rain, so I am debating moving them, vs having to water them. I'll be a happy camper if my results are anywhere close to yours! I know it will be a while before anything starts happening with them, but once it does (hopefully!) I'll post an update.

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I last posted about my home-made shiitake block in January.

Since then, it didn’t show signs of pinning/developing mushrooms, fungus gnats got in, and after futile attempts to get rid of them, I closed up the bag tight and let them go through full-blown infestation cycles until they died out. Then I put the dried out block in the garage and attempted to soak it... then forgot about it until well into spring. :roll:

After that it didn’t make sense to do much more with it, so I perched the block on top of my shiitake log pile.

...and then this morning...

Image :shock:

— DD2 said the photo looked like the silver dollar-sized shiitake was waving “Hello! (...still here...)” :lol:
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Two more popped up from that home-made shiitake block. :D

Image

...unfortunately I didn’t see them in time and their caps have blown, but they are still in good condition and will be good to eat. :D


...I’m going to hard-prune the persimmon tree this winter since the leader is getting too tall and I wouldn’t be able to harvest that high. The trunk diameter might be 3 inches or so even up there, and there will be lateral branches, too.

I looked it up, and Persimmon wood is good for cultivating woodear fungi, Enoki, and Reishi. My family likes Enoki, and of course Reishi has many attributes. Woodear might be too difficult to differentiate from the local wild ones. I may have to put mushroom growing back on the front burner....
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