Recently, we spent many days inoculating logs to grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
It was a lot of hard work, especially for Channing who had to harvest the logs from the woods on our farm. For the shiitake mushrooms, he primarily cut sugar maple and white oak logs, and for the oyster tulip poplar logs. Once the logs were cut, we could begin the inoculation process. Thanks to the help of a friend visiting from Oklahoma, the process went much faster and we finished many more logs than we would have without her help.
To begin, Channing drilled holes in the logs with a special drill bit that made them just the right size.
Then, we inoculated them with mushroom spawn. This part involved filling a special inoculator with the sawdust mushroom spawn and injecting into the holes.
Once all of the holes were filled, they had to be sealed with wax to seal in the spawn and keep in the moisture as well. We had to be sure to wax coat any scrapes or other places on the logs where moisture might escape as well.
We tagged all of the logs with a number and recorded them into our log book that allows us to reference which type of wood that log is and which strain of mushroom spawn it contains. Once the logs were inoculated and tagged, we carried them into out mushroom yard near the creek where they were stacked until it is time to soak them for fruiting. We should be able to harvest shiitakes in 6-18 months and oysters in 3-12 months. Over the span of several days, we inoculated around 400 logs.
Unfortunately, about a week after we finished the labor intensive inoculation process, our little part of the world was hit with a flood that swept many of our logs down the creek. Some of them actually ended up creating their own log jams.
Thanks to the help of a friend, many of them were recovered and re-stacked a little further from the creek in our mushroom yard. This was the first time in several decades the flood waters reached as far as they did, but such is life on the farm. We are grateful for the help of neighbors and friends in cleaning up and recovering what we could, and we look forward to having mushrooms in the coming months.
Here is a preview from a bag of shiitake spawn we allowed to fruit due to time constraints:
(The kids think they’re wonderful, and so do we!)