Want your logs to produce up to 4 lbs over three or more years? Please, follow the care tips that are provided with your log. And if you have any questions be sure to ask!
-Make sure that your log is shaded. It needs at least 80% shade (and a bit of sunlight). Do not put your log in direct sun.
-Water your log! This is the most important step! The mycelium inside the log is living and needs water to grow. I water my logs at least once a week. After you purchase a shiitake log, soak it for 24 hours in clean water.
-Your log should be standing up at all times, preferably out of the wind. The wind will dry it out much faster. Use a brick or a rock to keep your log from touching the soil. Competing fungi will have a better chance of taking over the wood if it is sitting in the soil.
-Bugs!! Almost every type of bug loves the sweet mycelium growing inside your log. Slugs especially! Put salt or diatomaceous earth around your log to help deter the slugs. You can set up beer traps as well!
-Do not cut off your mushroom until it forms a cup. Make sure that you use a clean, sharp knife and cut it against the wood. You might see little bugs inside your mushroom. They are not harmful to the shiitake. Just blow them out with a hairdryer!
-When your mushroom log starts the pinning phase you might want to bring it into the garage to keep it out of the elements. There is nothing worse than having a beautiful mushroom get splashed with dirt. Try not to harvest your mushrooms when they are wet! They should last up to one month in the fridge if harvested dry.
-Do not soak your mushrooms in water. If anything, you can use a damp paper towel to clean the top.
-When it is time to eat your mushrooms make sure that you cook them! If you eat them raw you will not get the health benefits of the mushroom. Make sure to cut off those woody stems as well! Use the stems to make a mushroom stock.
-If you don't have time to eat them you can always dehydrate them! If you leave them in the sun, face up, for an hour the vitamin D skyrockets! I crush up the dehydrated shiitakes and hide them in my husband's food! He gets the health benefits without even knowing it! You can also cook them and freeze them.
These days shiitake mushrooms are often grown on sawdust blocks. While this method does speed up the growth process, we chose to grow mushrooms via their natural habit - on the log! Growing mushrooms on the log bring a superior product - both in taste and nutrients. Trust me, it is worth the wait!
This is an article that explains the difference between shiitakes grown on logs versus sawdust blocks. Most people have never tasted a real shiitake grown from a log. The difference in taste is incredible. Once you taste a shiitake grown from a log you will never go back to the grocery to buy mushrooms again! They are healthier for you too! No pesticides are used to grow the shiitakes on the logs. Taste the difference!