The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Shiitake Inoculation

drilling holes in a shiitake logDay-time temperatures staying above 40 F --- check.

Beeswax hunted down (from a neighbor who keeps bees) --- check.

Time to innoculate the shiitake logs!  We actually only innoculated about a third of the year's logs Thursday since it's very wrist intensive work.  First, drilling holes in a diamond pattern.

Pounding spawn plugs in a shiitake logNext, hammering in the shiitake plugs so that they sit just below the bark surface.  As instructed, we'd kept the plugs moist in their bag in the fridge, and as I pounded them into the log, liquid bubbled up out of the holes.

Third, melting beeswax and painting it carefully over each shiitake plug.  It's essential that the logs be kept moist and also free of wild fungi --- plugging up the holes with beeswax helps with both.  (Other types of wax are too brittle and tend to flake off.)  This works best as a two person job, with one person turning the log and the other painting so that the wax goes on quickly and stays hot.
painting wax over the plugs in a shiitake log
Finally, labelling the logs.  The first year, we labelled the ends with sharpies, and the numbers became illegible in short order.  This year, we screwed little pieces of old flashing into the ends and wrote the numbers on the metal tags, pressing down hard so that the indentation will remain even if the ink washes off.

We'll poke at the rest of the logs over the next couple of days.  Innoculating shiitake logs is a joy in the type of weather we've been having, so I'll be looking forward to it!

This post is part of our Innoculating Mushroom Logs series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Looks like fun! Can't wait to see pictures of how things are progressing...
Comment by Stacy Hart Fri Feb 13 21:55:36 2009
Once we finish inoculating, there won't be much to see for about a year out of the shiitake logs. Luckily we've got older logs which will bear this year!
Comment by anna Sat Feb 14 10:33:27 2009

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