Today I spent some time out at nearby beautiful Winfield Farm helping them set up their new farmers’ market mushroom log operation.
Unlike most of the lectures I have attended on mushroom cultivation, today we used BIG poplar logs for the medium of the shiitake spore. In all previous lectures, we were told to stick with oak logs, preferably no larger than 6 inches in diameter. Today the logs ranged from 18 inches across to almost two and a half feet and came directly from the property.
The bigger the log, the longer it will take for the mycelial bodies to completely colonize and begin fruiting into the tasty, tasty mushrooms we are waiting for.
However, if you pack a LOT of spores into the log? The wait time will be mitigated.
Therefore: Voila! A system of inoculation I had, heretofore, not known existed: Scarring and stuffing.
Slicing the trenches along the length of the logs with the chainsaw about 3 inches deep. We found making a second pass made the trench wide enough to get a good dose of spore lodged in.
Ashlea stuffing spore into the trench. Our secret weapon? wedges made of cardboard helped wrangle the sawdust and a construction pencil made a good wedger-tool.
Drew wedging in the wet cotton rope along the top of each trench. He then stapled in the rope using hammered steel brads every few inches.
The crew hard at work!
1. Instead of drilling holes into which spore is stuffed (either as sawdust or dowels), long trenches are chainsawed along the length of the log about 3 inches deep, about 4 inches apart. Roll the log to trench along the entire perimeter.
2. Soak the trenches deeply with water.
3. Pack the spore densely into a trench, leaving a bit of headroom at the top.
4. Plug the remaining headspace with a completely soaking wet natural fiber rope (either cotton or hemp.)
6. Make sure to cut the rope longer than the log so that it overhangs the end that will be eventually stood upon to serve as a wick for moisture coming from the ground.
7. Tack the rope along the length with stainless steel brads to keep it from shifting.
8. Repeat this process in the next trench until the entire log has been saturated.
9. Upend the log where it will rest so that the wick ends make contact with the earth.
10. Keep the log moist, as the mushroom spore will die if it dries out.
11. Wait a year (or two) – and enjoy your mushrooms!
Our mushroom expert Holli said that logs this size could continue producing for over TEN years! Fantastic! What a great reason to get some friends together the next time you see free fresh hardwood advertised in your neighborhood! Mushroom Party!
Save the World. Grow Your Own.