Last week I spent a lot of time in the barn with a power drill, a hammer and a tub of wax. Among other things.
It was too cold to do much outside, so it was a good time for me to innoculate more logs with shiitake mushroom spawn.
We grew shiitakes this way for the first time last year and they were delicious. They were so good that we decided to increase the amount we grow.
I ordered plugs from Field and Forest Products. They are little plugs of wood with the spawn in them. The process of preparing the logs is time-consuming, but not difficult.
First it’s necessary to cut down a tree (preferably a white oak) no more than a couple of feet in diameter at the base. Let it age a couple of weeks, then drill holes into them about 6 inches apart (in a diamond patten), hammer the plugs into the holes and seal them with wax. Once done, the logs are stacked in a shady place (but where rain will fall on them).
This fall they should flush with mushrooms for the first time and that should continue to happen a couple of times each year for many years.
The reward is amazing. We’re anxiously awaiting the spring offerings from the logs I did last year.