Grow medicinal mushrooms at home, always have plenty and save money! It is a simple process but one that requires months or even years of waiting, so the time to get started is now. There are 6 steps to growing mushrooms in logs starting with plug spawn, which are capsules containing mushroom spores. This article will detail the process of obtaining and inoculating logs with mushroom plug spawn.
Six Steps for Growing Mushrooms
* Step 1: Obtain mushroom spores for the type of mushrooms you want to grow. Plug spawn come in plastic bags full of capsules called dowels. It is normal for the capsules to cluster together as mold often grows on them. They keep well in a cellar and are a great survivalist food storage item. The author has purchased several mushroom products that successfully fruited from Fungi Perfecti LLC, but there are many other companies selling them online.
* Step 2: Find the right logs. When a tree is alive it cannot be inoculated because it contains natural anti-fungal compounds. Likewise, after a tree has been dead long enough other invasive fungi will have already invaded.
After a tree or branch has been dead for more than 2 weeks but less than one year it can be inoculated with mushroom spores. The type of tree you gather wood from will need to match the kind of mushroom used. Below are the types of wood that are commonly used for the following three mushroom types, along with the ideal fruiting temperature:
- Maitake–Alder, Beech, Birch, Cottonwood, Hickory, Ironwood, Poplar, Oak, Sweetgum, Willow (55 to 70 degrees).
- Alder, Oak, (55 to 80 degrees)
- Reishi –Alder, Beech, Birch, Maple, Oak, Plum tree (70 to 80 degrees)
* Step 3: Drill holes in the logs using a 5/16” drill bit and a high speed drill. Eye protective wear should be used as wood chips will scatter. Holes should be 2 inches deep and spaced 4 inches apart in a “diamond” pattern. Holes in logs are drilled along the sides, while with stumps the face of the stump is inoculated.
* Step 4: Insert spore capsules into each hole and hammer them in with a mallet.
* Step 5: Cover the plugged holes with pure bees wax (or water logs regularly). Wax can be melted in the oven and applied with a basting brush.
* Step 6: Store and wait for “colonization”. It helps to mark the logs on the base using a magic marker. Note the type of spore used along with the date of inoculation. If many logs are used they can be stacked in a matrix (pallet) formation. Logs can be stored outside or brought in if weather is particularly cold (meaning below 10 degrees). Some logs such as Maitake should be partially or even completely buried during the fruiting stage.
When growing mushrooms at home, patience is required. Mushroom logs will fruit when they feel like it. The signs of success are the white fungus that will start to show throughout the log (this is called “mottling” of mycelium). Later the entire log may turn white. This is the stage where “mushroom kits” are sold. Once colonization has ocurred the individual mushrooms will fruit rather quickly.