Making Mushroom Logs

We finally made our mushroom logs!

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This project has been on the list for a couple of years. We had shiitake mushroom logs back at the apartment, but they failed in a comedy of errors- first the squirrels ate all of the mushrooms, then we tried soaking the logs in the rainwater-fed pond (thinking no chlorine=good) and the damn fish ate out all the plugs. We left the logs in a damp, shady place for another six months but never got another shiitake mushroom.

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The irony here is that my older son did almost all of the actual work of drilling the holes and hammering in the plugs, and he hates mushrooms! But he loves his mother.

This time we decided to buy the plugs from Art at Southeast Mushroom and then make the logs ourselves. Those damn plugs sat in the cupboard for two months while we searched for the right logs. You have to have freshly cut oak. When you’re basically just spotting random tree trimmings as you drive around town, finding a specific KIND of log takes a while! When I mentioned this to Art, he laughed at me and gave me two big live oak branches he just happened to have in his truck, and then the next day Jim brought home two more!

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Making mushroom logs with purchased plugs is simple- you just drill the holes, tap in the plugs, and put the logs in a shady place. In a dry climate you can paint beeswax on the ends of the logs and over the tapped-in plugs to conserve moisture and keep other fungi out, but I didn’t do that for this batch.

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We put these shiitake logs in a shady place under the citrus trees. Next up is oyster mushroom logs!

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