Cutting Logs for Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

Stacked mushroom logs waiting for spawn Beautiful weather Tuesday.  Sunny. Upper 60’s.  (Next day we were getting sleet). My husband asks, “What if I take half a day off work?  Is there something we could do at our land?”   Yep, I needed to get a meter reading for the electric coop.  Why not bring the chain saw and thin out a few trees for shiitake mushroom logs?

Cutting down small oak tree with chain sawWe’ve never grown mushrooms before, at least not on purpose.   Yet, our 4 acre piece of hardwood trees seems perfect for raising mushrooms. Plenty of wood, shade, humidity, north facing slope, spring fed creek.  Whether we grow mushrooms for only ourselves or for profit is undecided.  First we’ll learn to grow some.

Brian, my husband, runs the chain saw.  He is in charge of cutting down trees.  My job is to tell him which to cut.  Help him as needed. We’d cleared a small area for some fruit trees a couple of years ago, leaving a couple of the larger trees.  I told him not to cut down any more trees unless they were dead, or until we had a use for the tree.

We harvested a few white oaks, about 6-8″ in diameter at the bottom.  They still had some of their leaves, made it easier to identify.  If we were smart, we’d have planned ahead and identified trees to harvest for mushrooms last fall, before the leaf fall.  I would have liked to have tried some on sweet gum logs too for comparison.  Hating sweet gums, my husband and cut down the ones he saw on the edges of our woods earlier.

Cutting logs into 4' lengths for mushroom logs I was surprised how quick this went.  We had 26 4′ logs in no time.  If we need more logs, we’ll harvest another tree.  Brian trimmed off the larger branches with his chain saw, while cutting into 4′ lengths. The rest we pruned with loping shears or pruners.  One of the great things about trees growing in thick woods is that they often grow straight and tall, seeking the sun.  Less to trim.

The holes we’ll immediately drill before adding the spawn.  I wanted to add the spawn 1-3 weeks after harvesting the logs.  We hauled them home.  Currently they are sitting on a tarp on a trailer awaiting the spawn.  Keeping them in the shade so they don’t dry out is a good idea.

Why did we haul the shiitake mushroom logs home instead of growing on our land?  Because our land is 25 minutes away, it is easier to keep an eye on our mushroom logs if we grow in our backyard.  It also has an abundance of shade.

Plastic tarp under mushroom logs

13 Skill Progress: Growing Shiitake Mushrooms on Logs

Shiitake Mushroom Research complete

Logs Cut for Shiitake Mushroom Growth complete

Drill Holes and Inoculate Logs with Shiitake Spawn Plugs complete

Shiitake Incubation Period  9 – 12 months?


Cutting Logs for Growing Shiitake Mushrooms — 2 Comments

  1. We got dozens of mushrooms several times over the course of a few years. Because our summers are so hot and dry we had to keep watering them. Because they were in a shady corner, I often forgot about them. After a rain storm from time to time we had more mushrooms. Not as many as I expected, but it did work for us.

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