Adding More Mushrooms

Yesterday was a beautiful day–warm and breezy.  I took advantage of it to plant some blueberry bushes and to prep our spring brassicas garden, planting mizuna, arugula and komatsuna.  There’s still a lot of planting to do, but we’re moving along a little better than last year.

Another garden ready for planting.

Another garden ready for planting.

But before I started on the gardens I spent part of the morning preparing to inoculate more mushroom logs.

The first step is to cut down a small white oak.  I don’t like cutting down a perfectly good tree, no matter how good the reason.  I decided to take down half of a double tree, so the tree remains.


In the top of the tree was a ribbon from an escaped balloon.  I have no idea how long it had been there.

In the top of the tree was a ribbon from an escaped balloon. I have no idea how long it had been there.

After the logs have aged for a few days, I’ll put in the shiitake spawn and add them to the stacks.

Mushroom logs

Mushroom logs

A few mushrooms are starting to peep out already.

A shiitake being born

A shiitake being born

This picture from last fall shows what we’re hoping for.


Growing mushrooms is simple and requires very little effort once the logs are inoculated.  And the rewards are delicious.

10 comments on “Adding More Mushrooms

  1. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, you are a man of many talents. Growing mushrooms? I’ve always heard it was difficult to grow them but you matter of fact make it sound like a piece of cake easy. We usually just hunt our morel mushrooms in the spring and leave it at that. I have never found anyone here that actually grows them. I’m not sure how you would preserve a mushroom and your logs appear to give you lots of them. I wish you great mushroom success this spring.

    The weather here is back into the freeze mode again with a morning low of 23 yesterday and 28 today. I covered the cabbages but they are looking pretty rough. The planted onions are toast. I’ll probably replant in another week. I covered the cabbages last night in hopes that they will recover but the temps are not favorable for that for at least another three days. The soil temperature has dropped five degrees back down to 45 at the six inch depth. Such is Spring in Nebraska.

    Have a great adding mushroom day.


    • Bill says:

      Shiitakes are easy, in my opinion. We tried growing oyster mushrooms and it was a fail. And despite many searches, I’ve never found a morel (we call them “hickory chickens” here).

      Sorry about your onions. The freezing weather is returning here too. Hoping ours survive it.


  2. Eumaeus says:

    Wish we could grow blueberries. Can’t say we haven’t tried. But I’m over that. Let them just be service berries. We’ll survive. Trade for blueberries maybe.
    I just never ate much shitake mushrooms. I don’t know what I’m missing. Still i’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. I have lots of usable logs from thinning the woods for timber, thinning in the sugar-bush, etc. Gonna try to do this one of these days.
    Great pictures. You’ve inspired me.


    • Bill says:

      This is our third attempt at blueberries. The first time the soil wasn’t good. The second time deer destroyed them. We’re hoping the third time is a charm.

      We have so many delicious wild blackberries growing here that I quit worrying about trying to grow berries a few years ago. But I like the idea of having blueberries so much that I decided to give it another try.

      With shiitakes the logs need to be freshly cut. If they’ve been cut too long then other mushrooms will have already started growing in them. Here’s a post with a little more detail:

      There are other ways to do it, but this way seems easiest to me.


  3. Jeff says:

    I find it interesting how trees grow double, triple and even quadruple trunks. I was told, early on, that the multiple-trunked trees on my property were the result of coppicing, but I doubt that very much. I’m sure you could harvest a lot of wood (and improve the health of your stand) by going out and cutting off the multiple trunks. The problem then becomes how to make sure that rot doesn’t set in on such a large surface. Cutting the bole at the branch bark ridge will prevent suckers from sprouting, but if the scar is 10″ or more in diameter, rot might set in before the tree can heal itself. Still, I think it is better to remove multiple trunks rather than take the chance that the tree will split down the middle and be ruined. Controlled demolition, after a fashion.


    • Bill says:

      I think the double-trunked oaks on our farm are the result of prior timber harvests. Often shoots will grow out of the stump that mature into full-grown double (or triple) trees.

      Honestly I didn’t think it through that carefully. I was just looking for a tree that is the right size and that I could make fall in a way that would make it easy to saw up. This double trunked tree looked like an ideal candidate, especially since I could take out only half and still leave the rest of the tree growing.


  4. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never been a shitake mushroom eater, either. Something else to try, yes?

    I just bumped into something today that has kept me laughing and marveling all day long. I’m always behind the curve, so you may have seen the video, but even if you have, a second look at this isn’t going to hurt you any, and it might make you smile. Music and the Church meet The World. Guess who wins?


    • Bill says:

      I’d never had them till we grew them. They really are amazing.

      I’d seen that video was going viral the last couple of days but I hadn’t watched it. The reactions of the judges were amusing. I’m sure there aren’t many folks who are truly cloistered any more. I remember seeing a monk playing a video game when we were in Spain once and finding that ironic, or at least interesting. I wonder if the habit was just for the show. As I understand it many orders (most?) don’t wear them any more. A friend of mine deposed a nun once in a case. She was wearing the same kind of clothes any one else would wear. When the trial came she showed up to testify in her habit. He thought that was unfair. 🙂


      • shoreacres says:

        Oh – I forgot I was commending the good sister to a cynic. 😉

        Of course the habit was, shall we say, habitual. She’s an Italian Ursuline – not cloistered, but traditional.


      • Bill says:

        If I am a cynic, it is despite my sincere intention not to be. 🙂

        I was just curious about her outfit (which seems largely responsible for the Susan Boyle effect). The Ursuline Sisters in the U.S. do not dress that way. In any event, good for her!


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