|A bounty of edible shiitake mushrooms ready for harvesting.
I'm fortunate because my profession as a forestry technician allows
me to spend a lot of time in the woods. Many years ago, after
I noticed numerous mushrooms growing on fallen and standing
trees, I began to explore the wonderful process of growing
my own edible specialty mushrooms on tree logs obtained from
my woodlot in eastern Manitoba (American zone 3b / Canadian zone
3a). After many years of experimentation, I have succeeded.
Two of my favorites to grow are the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus
ostreatus) and the shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes).
I begin in my home laboratory by taking a small piece of mushroom
tissue and growing the spawn in a sterilized substrate. Once
this process, called a spawn run, is completed, I can successfully
inoculate logs by inserting the fungus spawn into the wood.
After a log is inoculated, the fungus will spend its life
digesting and breaking down the wood cells. When the fungus
is well fed and environmental conditions are right, mushrooms
Oyster Mushrooms on Logs
Oyster mushrooms are often found on dead standing trees or
on fallen logs. The name is derived from the mushroom's oyster-shell-like
form, which is quite fragile. In my opinion, homegrown oyster
mushrooms harvested from logs far surpass supermarket mushrooms
in both texture and flavor.
the spring or early summer, I inoculate firewood-sized pieces
of freshly cut hardwood logs by applying a thin layer of oyster-mushroom
spawn to the log ends. I then secure aluminum foil over both
ends of the logs to prevent drying.
place the logs in a dark (not clear) plastic garbage bag in
my garage for approximately three months. During this incubation
period, the mushroom spawn has sufficient time to colonize
the logs, after which the logs are unwrapped.