Q:

How do you grow shiitake mushrooms?

A:

Quick Answer

To grow shiitake mushrooms, plant spawn plugs in hardwood logs, seal the plugs with beeswax and place the log outdoors in a shaded location. Allow 12 months for the first fruiting to occur.

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Full Answer

To grow shiitake mushrooms, cut live hardwood trees, such as oak or maple, into 5-foot sections. The wood pieces should be 3 to 8 inches in diameter. Purchase shiitake mushroom spawn plugs, and wait until temperatures are above freezing to plant.

To plant the spawn plugs, drill holes in the log using a 5/16-inch drill bit. Place a spawn plug into each hole, and tap the plug into place using a hammer. The holes should be at least 1 inch apart. Seal each hole with warm beeswax, and stack the logs in a square that is several layers high. Do not stack the logs directly on the ground.

After sealing the holes, place the logs in a shaded area, such as under pine trees. Allow the logs to remain undisturbed for at least 12 months. The spawn plugs naturally produce mushrooms in the spring and autumn, or when temperatures range from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, after the first year. To force fruiting, soak the entire piece of hardwood in cool water overnight, and then place the log in a shady location outdoors. The mushrooms should be harvested before the cap is completely open.

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