Growing mushrooms from plugs


My understanding (no direct experience yet) is that the logs will still produce under less than ideal circumstances and you don’t have to force them. I read some accounts of people doing things less than optimal and getting results. Natural weather changes will cause fruiting but if you want a big flush (if you sell them and have an order to meet, for example), soaking them is the answer. As with many things, I think for the hobbyist it’s best to keep it simple! Just keep them well watered and out of the sun/wind. If it’s easier to keep them standing and use a sprinkler, go for it! The stacks seem to just be for space saving and convenience.

An article ( references people throwing the logs in ponds, using barrels, or 50 gal tubs for livestock. I imagine a big trash can would do the trick, too. These are people who sell, so they need mushrooms on a set schedule.


This is true. If we get a two inch rain, they will fruit on their own. but still not as good as a soak.


I do have a water tank (stock tank) which will fit one rack (see photo) of wood in, placed vertically. I cut these logs way too big to move easily because I want to use the racks to hold a little sheet plastic to make puddles under the logs so I don’t have to move them at all. I haven’t got 'round to finalizing the set-up and my friend gave me the stock tank before I had the rack idea. Moving the logs gets old and the big kids seem to often use a sprinkler system. Like in an orchard, occasional deep watering is usually recommended over semi-constant light watering and for the same reason: the logs will grow ‘weeds’ on the surface…competing fungi will attach themselves to the surface. The logs don’t want to be waterlogged either way. My lackadaisical approach to most things shows that Shii (Oak) Take (mushroom) are not too picky. My logs are in direct light now but they are under huge Oak trees and are shaded when it counts. One more thing is that I don’t sit the logs on bare soil, though I think some folks do. It just seems like too much of a contaminant. I have used non-inoculated wood/logs to stack up shroom logs on…nothing fancy is required.


thats way cool Anne


Steve that’s amazing! I can’t wait to try growing em


Dig a shallow trench, cover with a tarp, or thick plastic, fill with rainwater or such.
Supposedly chlorinated water is a no-no - never tried it.
I have a rubbermaid-type tub that fits my logs. I support the sides and fill it with water from the rain barrel and leave the logs awhile.
I also use it to soak them before I plug them.


I’ve never used chlorinated water either, because I’ve had a well. ‘City folk’ tell me though that the chlorine will evaporate (or ?) be gone in a day or so, in an open container. I just write this because it could be a real pain to come up with large volumes of non-tap water in some situations and I’m not sure that that is necessary. 'Tis worth looking into.



Good luck. I started growing Shiitake mushrooms three years ago. It takes a year before you get your first harvest but it is well worth the wait. I got two flushes my first year by soaking them in a kiddie pool in June and then I got another flush in September. This last year I had shoulder surgery so I could not lift the logs so I just left them in the woods behind the house and I got a really good flush in August. I have four logs that are 3 feet long. The first year I dried a lot because we had so many. This last year I dried about thirty that we have used about half of. It is a really good way to use the oak trees that I hate. They drop to many acorns and don’t lose their leaves until December or January. And with every oak tree I cut down it makes room for more fruit or nut trees.
I got my plugs from Oyster Creek Mushroom Company in Wiscassett Maine.


Can I use old log cut like two three years with bark intact. I have bunch of those. If I can not I have
three standing oak trees going down just kidding may be a little bit at a time but will cut these to make
more room for my fruit trees.


A lot of cities use chloramines now which will not evaporate.


No, live trees cut within 2 weeks is best, no more than a month or two at the longest. The longer the logs sit the more likely other fungi have moved in.


Thanks for reply got it logs has to be fresh.


I use tap water. It has both chlorine and chloramine. The former evaporates in one day, the latter is broken down by ascorbic acid as well as other organic acids. It is only 0.5 ppm of each so I used to throw a quart of compost in the drum before filling, and that worked fine. with the sprinkler they get the full effect of tap water, but unless you have a well there is no way around it. They still produce.


That is one pampered log family chillin’ by the tub.


Sorry, Naeem, all the literature says fresh wood, about a month or so after cutting is ideal. (Maybe 3-6 weeks.) The tree’s natural anti-fungal properties have to dissipate, and waiting too long invites unwanted guests. BBQ might be a good way to use them.


I successfully grew several types of mushrooms inoculated with plugs in boiled hardwood pellet bags.


Does anyone have shiitake strains they would recommend? I was looking at Field and Forest, but I’m open to suggestions! My previous order was for work, thought I’ll try some at home, too, if I get some logs.


The very biggest Shiitakes I have grown were on bags of…mostly sawdust/turnings from a friend’s small commercial woodshop specializing in Myrtlewood items. I tried some additives, too. So, I suppose the small window for use of fresh wood is because the wood will pick up competitors…other fungi, mostly. When we buy mycelium it is typically on sawdust or dowel plugs, so it isn’t the age per se of the wood that is the issue. I had one unit that was 1/2 lb. [quote=“Naeem, post:29, topic:9281”]
Can I use old logs
So, Naeem, this is a different aspect of your question. Trees that were cut and left out to get contaminated would not be good candidates. Wood that was not very contaminated and can be sterilized (I used a 'turkey" oven bag) can be used; in fact, it is common in commercial applications.


I’ve been growing mushrooms like Seedy, but not quite as expert. I’m old but not quite a pro. Shiitakes are the easiest to grow/highest quality to eat. In many Asian cultures they eat them as medicine. I say that’s some damn good tasting medicine. Side effect-a big smile on your face. Seriously, that’ s how I got into them. All of the health doctors tell you to fight cancer and live a long time, eat mushrooms. By the way, it’s fun too, and it adds biodiversity to your yard. As an orchardist, you can probably get your substrate for free.
John S


The quality difference with natural logs has been really obvious to me.