Outdoor Mushroom Log Cultivation | Shiitake

With minimum effort, mushrooms can be successfully cultivated on logs outdoors.

You will need:

  • A high speed drill & 9mm drill bit
  • Some beeswax, cheese wax or soya wax
  • A small gas burner and a pot to melt the wax
  • a paint brush to apply the wax
  • inoculated wooden plugs (Plug Spawn)
  • a wooden mallet

outdoor grown shiitake funguys smallThe best time to cut your logs is in Autumn or Spring. You can use Oak, Black wattle, Poplar and other broad leaved hard woods. Avoid Pine, Cypress, Yellowwood and other conifers, and aromatic woods. Cut in sizes that are easy to manage – 1.2 m in length and between 12 and 25cm diameter. Let the logs rest for 3 weeks before inoculation. The bark is important protection for mushroom growth, as the mycelium can easily run between the heartwood and the bark.

  • Use colored tape to wrap around your drill bit to indicate the depth of your plug for drilling.
  • Drill a line of holes down the side of your log | 8 – 10 cm apart.
  • Drill another line of holes down the log, 10 cm away from the first line, but space the holes in such a way as to form a diamond shape. Repeat drilling down the lines of holes to cover the entire log.
  • Use a rubber or wooden mallet to knock the spawn plugs into your pre-drilled holes.
  • Use a paintbrush to paint/cover the plugs with your choice of melted wax as you go along.
  • Store the inoculated logs, off the ground, in a shady spot and cover with straw or hessian. (80% covering)

You can irrigate the logs using a garden sprinkler for a couple of hours every couple of weeks. The logs can take anything from 6  to 18 months before the first pinning of mushrooms. They will carry on producing for up to five years.

Once ready, stack the fruiting logs off the ground, two per level, piling upwards to a meter. Use bricks under the logs to avoid the logs touching the ground. Some growers prefer to bury one side of a log into the ground and standing them vertically.

In the dryer, hotter season, it will be advisable to irrigate the logs from time to time to add moisture.

For more detailed instructions, I found these 2 articles very useful. Here and Here.

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