We’ve always wanted to try growing mushrooms, but never thought we would start them this year…that is until a catalog arrived in the mail, advertising mushrooms. We don’t usually buy things off the whim of mail advertisements, but the other ingredient to growing mushrooms was freshly available, cut logs. Since we recently cleared a section of forest we had piles of fresh logs of various species available! So we orders 2,000 wooden plugs inoculated with mycelium. Mycelium is the vegetative part of the mushroom; much like the stock and leaves are the vegetative part of a tomato. The mushrooms come later and are the “flower” of the mycelium. We decided to try two types of mushroom: Pearl Oyster and Shiitake. According to our research Pearl Oyster likes to grow in Maple and Shiitake likes Ash. Both these types of trees fill the forest so we were all set!

The process of inoculating the logs took quite some time. But thankfully one rainy, wet, soggy, miserable, cold spring day (perfect for mushrooms!) three of us began tackling the task of inoculation.

First holes are drilled in the logs roughly 50 holes in a 4-8″ round by 3-4ft log. Then the plugs are hammered into the holes. The logs are then sealed with a vegetable based wax and stacked in two piles, one of Shiitake logs and the other of the Pearl Oyster.

During the summer months we will keep them watered and watch for mottling on the ends of the logs, telling us they are fully colonized by the mycelium. Then the logs will be moved into their final destination and positioned either horizontally or vertically, depending on the mushroom variety. Finally and hopefully, mushrooms will burst forth from the logs! Well that is the hope, we will see if this little endeavor turns out!