Outdoor Mushroom Log Cultivation | Shiitake

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

You will need:

  • A high speed drill & new / sharp 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

The best time to inoculate your logs is in Autumn or Spring. You can use Oak, Pecan nut, Black wattle (acacia melanoxylon), Iron wood and other broad leaved hard woods. Avoid Pine, Cypress, Yellowwood and other conifers and aromatic woods. Cut logs in sizes that are easy to manage i.e. 1.2 m in length and between 12 and 25cm diameter. Let the logs rest for 2 – 3 weeks before inoculation. The bark retention is an extremely important factor for mushroom growth, as the mycelium is protected and can easily run between the sapwood 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 hessian or other breathable fabric. (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.


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