Mycelium growing from grain to dowels

Many edible and medicinal mushrooms can be grown on a variety of freshly cut trees.  Select the right type of tree that is suitable for the  type of mushroom you would like to grow.  Most cultivated species, like oyster and shiitake, grow on hardwood logs from deciduous trees such as maple, oak, and alder.  A few cultivated species, such as Hericium abietinum, grow on coniferous trees.

The logs you inoculate must be from a tree that has freshly fallen or been recently cut down.   (Dead wood that is aged more than a couple months will already be colonized by competitor mushroom species.)

The best time to harvest a tree is in the late winter time, because the sugar content is highest and the bark tends to stay on the dead log longer.

Cut logs into 3 or 4ft lengths for easy handling, and drill a row of holes just over an inch deep, about 6inches apart, using an 8mm (5/16 inch) drill bit.  Rotate the log and start another row about 2 inches away.  Alternate the holes to form a diamond pattern like this:

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Tap your plug into the hole, then cover with melted wax (bees, cheese or soy wax) using a small paint brush or wool dauber. Place your logs outdoors in a moist shady area, raised off the ground, and exposed to rain.

The fungus can tolerate being outdoor in the icy cold of winter, but do not expose to the direct hot sun in the summer of the mycelium might die.  It’s important to keep your logs well hydrated.  The best way to hydrate a log is to soak it overnight (12-24h) submerged in cold water.

Alternatively, if you use a sprinkler, it is best to water for several hours at a time once a week, rather than watering just a little bit daily. The objective is to keep the moisture inside the logs high but allow the outside to dry so as not to rot the bark off.

It will take a 6 months to 2 years before your log will fruit, depending on factors such as the mushroom species, tree species, and diameter of log.