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hendi_alex
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

This past year I started growing shiitake on oak log sections. It has been very easy and very rewarding. The mushrooms have repeatedly bloomed, giving at least 8-10 harvested batches on four logs that are 2-3 feet in length and 6-8 inch diameter. The mushrooms have been far superior from those that we buy at fresh market. Drill, plug, cover in bees wax. Set in a shady location and water regularly. With my next batch, I'll bury the end in the ground, so the logs stand vertically. That will make harvest easier and allow completely free space for the stems to emerge. It will also help preserve moisture in the log.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Shitake have had at least 8-10 blooms so far, but the current bloom is by far the best to date. There are another 8-12 mushrooms to be harvested on this bloom.

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

They look really good hendi_alex, so rewarding for you as you say. Well done. :D

You asked if anyone has grown mushrooms!. Reminds me of when I was a child. We had a barn which my Uncle decided to try his hand at growing mushrooms in there. He made wooden beds for them, got a variety of fertilisers, and so many lotions and potions that were suggested to him to buy.

We watched over them for weeks, but nothing appeared, not even a weed. :roll: Eventually he gave up, seeing it all as a waste of time. He tipped the whole lot out of the top barn window, all landing in the soil and grass.

A couple of weeks later I was there playing in that area, and wow, loads of mushrooms, all looked so healthy. My Uncle was as surprised as I was, and of course thrilled to bits.

From that day on, he just planted them there, and left them to grow by themselves. :D
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

@hendi_alex how are your shiitake logs doing this year?

I FINALLY got the chance to try this since DH cut down a large limb from a (Willow) oak that was threatening the swing sets a couple of weeks ago -- I'm growing the Shiitake strain called "Bellwether" from Field and Forest.
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Since one of my concerns is that we tend to have drought during critical growing times of the year, I've laid the logs on some thinner branches so they are nearer to the more humid ground over some fresh mulch -- Douglas fir shavings -- inside the blueberry enclosure to protect from at least some animals.

Lower to the ground like this is also supposed to be better where the winter temps are sub freezing. But I think they need to be separated a bit more and not stacked directly on each other as they are at the moment. I need to observe the sunlight situation in there and make sure it's not too sunny beyond where they are right now.
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I will have the chance to research a bit more and settle on a final incubation set up if this is not ideal.

...are you supposed to do anything to the ends of the logs?...
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

You don't need to do anything to the ends. A common way to stack the logs is to form a square, building up like a box. This creates a gap between each log, and you can use non-drilled ones for the bottom 2 or 4 to elevate. You can even nail them together to make a permanent structure, and cover with a tarp during the winter (if you want to leave them outdoors all year).

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I guess that depends on where you live, though. I'm not sure what my Canadian friends would do for the winter...

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Thanks! I'm in Zone 6b (lowest winter temp in the negative single digits) -- and supposedly annual rainfall in this area is adequate, but unfortunately there does seem to be significant rainy season and significantly dry season. So that's the concern.

Apparently adequate moisture content in the logs this first year is critical. I may switch to low lean-to or add a second rail log to make this a single story "crib".

So far, I ve read/heard to wax both ends, wax just one end, or nothing.... I might go with waxing just the one end to take the middle ground or maybe just wax the smaller diameter logs.....

In the winter, for freeze protection, they are definitely supposed to be put in the rail configuration according to the instructions that came with the spawn.

...so you are using the Crib formation and covering with a tarp in winter and find it sufficient protection? What strain are you growing? What is your rainfall like? (I'm thinking it rains a lot in Illinois due to the dip you often see in the weather patterns, bringing moisture from the Great Lakes?)
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

My first little experiment with four small logs went so well that this year we built a much more ambitious stack. Logs are about 4 feet long with diameter as large as ten inches.

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

That looks great @hendi_alex! :D
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

...not that they are doing anything... But we had a nice soaking rain :()
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I was looking my logs over today for signs of life. I did water the logs every time I (frequently) watered the blueberries all through this very dry summer, and I'm growing a strain that is supposed to be drought tolerant, but I was afraid that the shiitake mycelia might have died.

So I was pleased to see these white splotches starting to emerge from the ends of the logs, which I do hope are shiitake and not some other wild fungi mycelia. I believe both ends should turn completely white when fully colonized.

Also, there is a knobby protuberance from what I believe was a knothole (and not one of my shiitake plugs) that I don't think was there initially and appear to be bulging out. -- I believe this is what I should be seeing when the shiitake is ready to fruit... hopefully in spring :bouncey:
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

My latest stack has given us a moderate bloom this fall. Interestingly, only one log is producing so far.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

There's a woman down the road from me who cultivates Shitake and sells logs injected with Shitake spores for about $30. She also sells her shitake at the local farmers market. The best in the area. :)

I'm terrible at remembering what I heard but I'm pretty sure she said the logs can be grown indoors, like in a basement. Did I hear right?

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Is it possible to use those logs in zone 9? I am thinking it is way to hot here, but would it work in a shade?

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Look for spawn suppliers close to your climate or look for ones that supply a wide variety of strains suited to different climates. There are different ways to rack/stack the logs depending on temperature and humidity (see hendi_alex's example in his SC garden). I put mine on "rails" because we typically have drought in the summer and severe freeze in the winter.

In California, I think I would look to Fungi Perfecti (fungi.com). Two other sources I've considered in the past are Field and Forest (I think) in Wisconsin and Mushroom Mountain in one of the Carolinas (maybe SC).

Today, I ran outside to retrieve and replace the compost bin lid that got blown off by overnight gusty winds and discovered a wonderful surprise! :clap:
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I saw the little bump in the lower part of the top photo first, and starting turning over the logs to examine them. The top photo shows my discovery of the big shiitake cap underneath one of the logs. :D

Middle photos are close up of the big cap shiitake and after harvesting. The little one got knocked off when I was turning the logs. :(

Bottom photo shows more little buttons that are growing. Hopefully they will be able to mature -- it should only take 3-4 days at most and it rained a bit today which should help. :()

I think the only reason I have this much to harvest in the same season as starting the logs like this is because of the abnormally warm temperatures we've been having. I think ordinarily, I couldn't expect to see harvest until the following spring, even though I did use a fast maturing and cold hardy strain for my spawn. 8)
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

FYI, I'm growing the Shiitake strain called "Bellwether" from Field and Forest in Wisconsin.


Shiitake - Bellwether Plug Spawn-Field And Forest Products, Inc.
https://www.fieldforest.net/Shiitake-Bel ... tinfo/DBW/

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Shiitake - Bellwether Plug Spawn
A bellwether by definition is an indicator of trends. Or newest Shiitake strain is aptly named, as it signals the arrival of both spring and fall, with an abundance of large, thick, cup-shaped mushrooms with layer upon layer of white lace ornamentation. A highly productive, cool season fruiter that also boasts a fast spawn run. Bellwether™ yields heavier in the spring than in the fall, making it a fabulous treat at early spring farmers’ markets.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Your mushrooms are looking great! We as well have gotten a pretty good harvest this fall, given that the logs were prepared this past spring. So far have harvested 40-60 caps. The first really big bloom was wasted as they emerged when we were traveling. The other mushrooms have been a great treat, with the most recent getting plucked yesterday. That was a single 2.5 inch cap, but about two weeks ago a bloom gave us about 18 caps over a three day period. Funny how the bloom area are limited to just two logs so far. The largest specimen was about six inches in diameter, but most are 2-3 inches.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

That's fantastic @hendi_alex! :clap:

I'm thinking I will expand with more logs in spring as well. So much fun! :D
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

:shock:
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...obviously, I need more practice learning to harvest these shiitake at their prime, though It WAS Christmas yesterday and I have been pre-occupied.... :>

AND more on their way -- hopefully in time for New Year's Eve.
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:()
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Once I brought them in the kitchen, I lined that basket with parchment paper, and one of the shiitake caps dropped a beautiful spore print! IF ONLY I had sterilized the parchment first :|

I'm still tempted to try culturing the spores on agar substrate even though I'm not really prepared.... I do have agar in my pantry and if I can get even a partially clean culture growing, I could try to grow a completely clean culture by culturing an uncontaminated piece of this agar culture. I would have to set up a storage tub clean "room"....
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Well... Decided I didn't want to start a New Project right now. In any case, I think I want to buy another strain in spring that will tend to bloom in the warmer months of the year so I will have more of a year-round shiitake harvest.

I harvested one at a more correct timing today (the one that was between logs). A few more are growing and, with temps only going down to 40's this week, are sure to be ready to harvest later on. 8)

The other one in the basket is the the button one I accidentally bumped and knocked off. I kept it on the counter like this under the 1 pt Pyrex bowl to protect from stray fungus gnats which WILL go after mushrooms given the chance.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

The shiitake are starting to stir -- some buttons are starting to pop. Last night and today's long soaking rain will help them along, I'm sure. :-()
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I cross-stacked the logs to give them more room to grow ...accidentally rubbed off a little button in the process :(
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Harvested today. These photos are same logs and same shiitake from different angles before harvesting, then the mushroom basket after harvesting. :()
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I am very impressed. Nice job.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I really NEEEEEEEEED to do this. We spend so much money on mushrooms!
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Amazing stuff i love being in the woods hunting for mushrooms, and i love gardening, so i must try this out.
Next thing would be for me to learn to eat them. :D
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Mr Green, my oldest daughter (5) says that sliced cooked shiitake mushrooms look like giant slugs, and refuses to eat them! I myself, got over the mental image and still think they're my favorite mushroom!
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

My problem is kind of the texture, and that deep earthy flavor so many of them have, but its sure been a long time since i tried them. I will sure give it another go this season. I have learned to eat many things i wouldnt eat before for various reasons, so maybe mushrooms are my next thing to overcome?

I know i can grow oyster mushrooms over here outdoors, will the shiitake work in my cold climate as well? Or am i best to try it indoors in whoodchip substrate? Also how are they to be eaten raw? I love raw vibrant food. =)

Btw generally how much time does it take from inoculation of the logs to the first flushes of mushrooms? I understand its a slower method than growing in grains/woodchips substrates indoors.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

I thought that was it for their spring show, but after several days of gloomy, cold, wet weather, the shroomies are apparently loving it :()

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Jelly!!!

Where did you get your shavings/sawdust?
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

There is a small local furniture manufacturer that works out of one unit of one those small pocket industrial warehouse business parks. They ONLY build with Douglas fir -- no composite materials, and when they get their stock lumber, first thing they do is run the boards through a power planer. They bag these shavings and sell them for $3 each in a commercial trash bag -- I'm pretty sure it's a drum size or 55 gal. Found them on Craigslist. :()

Next time I go back I'm going to rummage through their scrap lumber pile, too. Short ones are free. :-()
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Subject: 8 bags of treasures in my car -- D. FIR SHAVINGS for mulch
applestar wrote:I was perusing the local craigslist for the first time in ages and came across an advert offering clean douglas fir shavings $3 a bag. I was picturing trash bag size and decided to go for 8 bags to mulch my blueberries and raspberries. When I got there, they told me the bags were 55 gallon size, loosely filled. :shock:

...Had to put down the rear seats but I managed to get all eight bags in the back of my suv. :()

I might have been able to stuff a 9th bag in the back if I wasn't concerned about leaving space to see out the rear window, and if I hadn't been going to Trader Joes before going home, I could have put another bag in the passenger's seat. (as it was, I forgot all about it and when I rolled the shopping cart to my car, had a moment of panic when I thought I wouldn't be able to fit 5 full grocery bags in the passenger's seat and floor. :lol:

But they told me they always have these bags of shavings and local farmers come get them for their chickens, rabbits and other livestock. So now I know I could get 10 bags next time if I tried.

...these are clear bags and I can see using them for protecting my tomato plants after planting them, too.

...and you know what? These 8 bags of Douglas fir shavings made my car smell WONDERFUL! -- MUCH better than those Christmas tree shaped artificial car air fresheners :mrgreen:
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Harvested these -- they look like the caps might open up too much by tomorrow or the soggy rainy weather might ruin them. I hoped to let them dry out a bit today, but it poured all day. They are inside in a basket in front of a fan right now. :D
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Do the spores run out?

Do the plugs have to be replaced?

Can you split the plugs and get twice the mushrooms?
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Sorry for not noticing your questions, L. The spawn (mycelium/"rhizome") in the plugs colonize the logs and when mature, they "fruit" I don't know if the spores falling from the mushroom gills will have significant effect.

There is an optimum spacing, just like plants, and you can speed up the fruiting phase with a bit of crowding while spreading out further can cause delay.

Once the log is fruiting, it's just a matter of time, then the spawn runs completely consume and exhaust the nutrient part of the log for fruiting (making mushrooms) so larger logs with more mass provides more nutrients and lasts longer.
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

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I harvested the three shiitake in the top left photo last night because they looked like the gills were flattening out, then harvested the 2nd bowlful this morning. The caps aren't that big -- 2-2.5". I let them sunbathe for a while to develop Vitamin D :D

Photo of the shiitake logs from this morning before harvesting. :()
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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

We had another dry summer with some extraordinary heatwaves, and I had been afraid that the shiitake logs must have died. There have been some signs of fungal growths that didn't look like shiitake. But we have been having some fall weather and rain. On Sunday, when I was out in the garden last, I noticed a couple of nubbins on the logs that I thought might be shiitake growing, and maybe three more possible nubbins starting. So I was thinking maybe I will get half dozen, and that would be better than none.

...imagine my completely stupefied exclamation of delight mixed with astonishment when I saw these today :lol:


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Re: Mushroom Gardening?

Once a flush starts growing, you have to be vigilant -- they grow fast!

I already had to harvest the ones I left to grow a bit more (bottom-left in yesterday's collage above) :-()

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De-stemmed (reserving stems to dry for later use), sliced and wedged caps gently warmed in butter and evoo, then a splash of lemon juice and sake to deglaze, sea salt.... more butter... then tossed with a bit of roasted sesame oil and a bit more lemon juice with Korean buckwheat/tapioca "angelhair" noodles and seved with hot (not cold) kimchee radish broth. Oh, yum! :()

Organic shiitake is precious stuff -- feels rather luxurious to chop up as many as we all want to eat as main course because we might as well eat the freshly harvested stuff at their freshest. :wink:

...drying the rest...
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