We are finally, finally getting our “Herb and ‘Shroom Garden” going. And when I say finally, I mean FINALLY. I have been working so hard to get the main garden planted (and reading fiction novels which is quite un-characteristic for this non-fiction bookworm) that I have been struggling to get the Herb and ‘Shroom Garden going. But it is my goal over this next week to be all set in finishing up the rest of my oak logs for shiitake mushrooms and to plant an oasis worth of basil, parsley, rosemary, and other herbs to fill up our teeny, tiny side yard.
And as part of that goal, I have finished half of the one hundred (yeah… that’s not a typo) inoculated plugs I ordered. Phew! No one told me that drilling one hundred holes into oak logs was going to be hard using just a home-use electric drill. Well, maybe someone did, but I wasn’t listening.
Making your own mushroom logs is this easy:
Well, one, you need some 4-6″ diameter hardwood logs. The only types of wood that don’t work well are: soft woods, evergreens, white oak, pine, and cedar.
Two, you will need some sort of power/electric drill with a 5/16″ drill bit. The size of the drill bit needed will also depend on what size inoculated dowels you order. I don’t know how well I can recommend them since I have never done this before, but I ordered my shiitake inoculated dowels from Everything Mushrooms this time. We’ll see how it goes.
First, drill holes about 2″ inches deep in a diamond pattern along your log. You will want your holes to be 3-5″ inches apart and in 4-5 rows depending on the size of your log.
Next, you will hammer in one dowel per hole. This is easy right?! Make sure the dowel sinks into the hole a bit and is not sticking out. If you need to, use a punch to hammer the dowel into the log.
The last step is to wax the top of the dowel filled holes in the log so that they are sealed. You can also wax the ends of the log, but multiple sources have noted that that is not necessary. It is recommended that you use “cheese wax” or beeswax. Since we have beeswax around here, I didn’t see a need to spend money on the cheese wax, although it is only about $8.00 a pound.
I’m not sure how well you can see the beeswax seal coating on top of the plug, but it’s there.
Now we just have to stack the logs so that they are not touching the soil and tap our feet as we wait six months to a year for our mushrooms. It’s going to be awhile. After you inoculate, you should water the logs 2-3 times a week to maintain the moisture level in the wood. After a log is taken over by the mycelium (mushroomyness), they will start to fruit (produce mushrooms).You can also force fruit the logs by completely soaking them in water for 12 to 24 hours every 5 weeks.