Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Tag Archives: mushrooms

Bloggin’ bout Mushroom Loggin’

It might be an understatement to say that we were inspired by the mushroom log workshop at Maya Creek. Since then, we’ve inoculated logs with over 2,500 mushroom spore plugs (from Fungi Perfecti)!

At the workshop we learned that white oak is the best wood for shiitake mushrooms. We weren’t necessarily planning on growing so many mushrooms,  but after Eric’s grandfather passed, we were told that a white oak tree in his yard needed to come down before they could sell the house. We think Eric’s grandfather- a very resourceful craftsman- would be happy to know that the tree is being used in his honor even after it was cut down.

Eric worked with the tree company that removed the white oak, and picked out the best wood for us to work with. Tree limbs have a greater ratio of sapwood to heartwood than the trunk, and mushrooms feed on sapwood, so we used mostly limbs with a diameter of 6 to 10 inches.

These are about half of the logs we inoculated last week, with shiitake plugs. They’ve since been leaned vertically around the side yard in areas with 90% shade.

The other half we inoculated with oyster mushroom spores, and stacked log-cabin-style in the shade.

Here are the logs we already had inoculated, including two logs we took home from Maya Creek and a dozen logs we helped inoculate with Backdoor Harvest about a month ago. Eric got the white oak limbs for free from a local tree trimmer.

If we’re lucky we’ll see some mushrooms before winter, or at least signs of mycellium, the vegetative part of the fungus, colonizing the logs. Once colonized, the logs should regularly “fruit” every 8 weeks for 5 + years!

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Our very own mushroom logs

It’s Earth Day, and nothing says “earthy” like mushrooms! Coincidentally, our friends at Maya Creek hosted their first workshop yesterday on growing shiitake mushrooms.

Tao (left) and Jesse (right) walked us through the steps, from the selection of the wood (oak), to drilling holes for inoculation and hammering in plugs of shiitake spawn, and lastly applying a coat of wax.

We drilled, hammered, and waxed our way through 2,000 plugs! We got to take home two inoculated logs, pictured above, and we had time to enjoy some of Tao’s homemade hard lemonade and mango wine after our productive afternoon. We’re looking forward to the rest of their free workshops (here’s their 2012 schedule), join us!

Below are some close-ups of the waxed-over plugs.

Our newly inoculated mushroom logs will stay off the ground in a shady spot for 6-18 months, when they should start fruiting. Excited for lots of fresh shiitakes this fall!

Tao recorded the workshop on video, but it has not yet been posted to their website. For more in-depth information on growing mushrooms on a log, here’s a great online publication from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.