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

Propagating a shiitake mushroom for free: Success

Shiitake mushroom bud

According to some book that has since faded into obscurity in my memory, the traditional Japanese method of reproducing shiitake mushroom logs is simple. Just cut a fresh log and set it beneath the old...and the fungi will move down to colonize the new substrate.

I decided to try a slightly modified method of that technique with a mini log in April 2015. To streamline the spread of mycelium, I placed a wet sheet of corrugated cardboard between the fresh and colonized logs...and sure enough the white threads of fungi soon clambered on through.

Now, seventeen months later, there's finally a tiny mushroom budding on my never-plugged log! Yes, that's nearly a year later than the plugged logs fruited, proof that the traditional technique is slower, if no less sure. Still, given the simplicity of cut-it-and-touch-to-an-existing-log technique, it seems to merit a repeat on a slightly larger scale.

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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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