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

Shitake Mushroom Cultivation

We were invited last year to split a large order of shitake mushroom plugs by some friends and it turned out to be a very productive project. You need to cut some hard wood logs into 3 or 4 feet sections and then drill about 50 holes in each log. The next step is to hammer each shitake plug into one of the holes, pushing it in just below the surface of the wood. Then you pour some hot wax over the hole to seal it up and wait 6 to 9 months. We use a small kiddie swimming pool to soak the logs in water which stimulates fruiting. Our total number of plugs was around 500, which was a nice amount, but since they taste so good as a pizza topping I think we might double that when we get ready for the next round of plugging.
shitake mushroom
According to the Shitake Center some researchers have reported that a daily diet of 9 grams or 10 medium sized mushrooms can lower blood cholesterol levels as much as 45 percent. A highly purified polysaccharide fraction is being extracted from shitake mushrooms in Japan and is being used in conventional cancer therapy. Mushroom extracts have become the leading prescription treatment for cancer in Japan and parts of China.  Lentinan is what the shitake extract is called and it is generally administered by injection and has been used as an agent to prolong survival of patients in conventional cancer therapy.

Shitake mushrooms are listed as having antifungal, anti-tumor, and antiviral effects (The Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms) and are known to contain all eight essential amino acids in better proportions than soy beans, milk, or even eggs. Top that off with a good blend of vitamins A, B, B12, C, D, and Niacin and you have one heck of a food staple that's easy to cultivate and delicious to consume.

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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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Thanks for the information on shiitake! I like common mushrooms, but it seems I should give these a try! :-P
Comment by Roland Smith Thu Jan 14 13:32:43 2010
Shiitakes are amazingly tasty and not hard to grow if you buy the spawn. However, if you want to try to expand them yourselves, I'd recommend oyster mushrooms, which are actually tastier IMO and even easier to grow.
Comment by anna Thu Jan 14 17:45:31 2010

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