There are four stages involved in cultivating
shiitake mushrooms. The first is substrate acquisition, in other words
cutting down the trees. You cut down a live tree in the spring cut it up
into three or four foot bolts at that point then you innoculate
the log and that’s what’s going on in the background. We begin that process
by drilling holes about an inch and a quarter deep at four inch intervals all the way down the
log to create a row and then you turn the log ninety degrees…another row and so forth so you end up with four or five rows of seven or eight holes each. At that point and you ready
to actually innoculate. You take sawdust mixture called spawn.. a
mixture of sawdust and fungal mycelium and use an injector tool to force the spawn into each one of those
holes that you drilled and once the log has been innoculated completely
innoculated that way, you’re ready to seal off the holes by waxing them. We use molten, food grade cheese wax and use a small paintbrush or dauber to apply a little bit of that molten wax to
each one of the holes to seal the hole off so it won’t lose moisture and also to keep contaminants out. So at this point now you have innoculated the log. You’re ready to put it in the
laying yard so the fungus can colonize the log.
It takes quite a while… about a year or so at that point after about a year you’re ready to force it so that mushrooms can grow out from the log. We usually do that forcing by shocking in other words
put the log in cold water for about twenty four hours and then take it out
and within about a week you’ll have mushrooms popping out of the log.