There are some studies that show shiitake mushrooms can help patients with certain cancer. Shiitake has lentinan, a kind of beta glucan that can enhance the immune system that will enable the body to fight off cancer.
Shiitake mushroom came from Japan and China, and it is the most in demand ingredient in any modern and oriental cuisine. They can be bought in the supermarkets, but if you know how to plant mushrooms in the comfort of your own backyard, you will not only save lots of money but you are certain that you will be eating a mushroom that is free from chemicals.
The procedures in planting your very own mushrooms are simple enough and some areas of concern that you need to focus on while growing your mushrooms are temperature, amount of rainfall, sunlight exposure, and drying winds.
How to Plant Mushrooms – Choosing your Logs for your Shiitake
Understand that shiitake mushrooms grow in logs and choosing the right log is important. Hard wood logs are the most suitable for shiitake mushrooms. Most mushroom growers choose birch, maple, alder, aspen, willow, hazel, and the favorite oak. Apple, ash, and sycamore are not recommended and they are not good choices to grow your mushrooms.
It is advised to cut your own logs for the mushrooms from healthy or fit trees during autumn (when the leaves began to fall) to spring (just before the buds puff out). Make sure not to exceed six weeks before you inoculate when you cut your logs. Keep the logs well moistened, out of sunlight, and make sure that strong winds won’t dry them out. There is a huge possibility that other weed fungi will contaminate your logs if you leave it longer. Make sure that the bark is clean and undamaged. Scars on the log will only invite other fungi to come and the log will likely lose the necessary moisture which you don’t want to happen. Choose the ones with fewer branches. If you can’t find the suitable logs, you can always buy them from farmers, forest managers, tree surgeons, or fire wood merchants just make sure to specify your requirements.
It is wise to use straight logs with 4 to 6 inches diameter and 40 inches long, these measurements are the most ideal for easy handling and lifting. Smaller diameter will dry out quickly, which you don’t want to happen (too) and larger diameter are more difficult to handle and your patience might run out because it will need longer time to colonize the log. Let the logs rest to let the natural fungicides expire.
The Process of Learning How to Plant Mushrooms
You will need shiitake spawn which can be purchased from suppliers and they usually come in dowels. You will also need wax and applicator, electric drill with drill bit, and pan and stove to melt the wax.
After three weeks of allowing the logs to rest, you are ready to inoculate. Keep in mind that you only need to inoculate the logs just once. Drill holes 6 inches apart along the length of the log. The next row should be drilled 2 to 3 inches from the first one with the holes spread out to form a diamond outline. Drill extra holes near the ends of the log. Insert or plug the holes with dowels. Melt some wax on a pan then apply or paint the melted wax onto the holes to keep the spawn safe. The wax actually protects the spawn against any contaminants as mycelium spread through the log.
You can stack the logs against the fence or lay them on straws on the ground. Make sure that the logs are placed in shady, damp place that allows the logs to maintain high level of moisture. If it seldom rains, then you can opt to water them heavily.
Once the logs are fully colonized by mycelium then move them to a more suitable place for fruiting. The most suitable is a warm and moist area with at least 70% shade and out of drying wind’s way. The place should be moist but not wet. Lean the logs on a rock or another log and avoid laying them on the ground.
Expect to see your fruits of labor between six to twelve months. Your shiitake logs will continue to give you all the mushrooms you need for a long time, usually up to eight years. It pays to learn how to plant mushrooms and you can be more than glad that you did.