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Shiitakes

By The Old House Web
Shiitake mushrooms are not native to Illinois. They can't be found growing on trees in the woods. Many growers raise the mushrooms on hardwood logs inoculated with the spores.

Oaks are the most reliable wood for producing mushrooms. Three to five (3 to 5) foot logs/limbs are cut. Five to thirty (5 to 30) holes are drilled in each log, wooden plugs inoculated with the shittake fungi (purchased through mail order supplies) are inserted into the holes, and then sealed to prevent drying. Canning grade paraffin wax works well. Use a small amount of hot wax; quickly cover and spread to prevent the wax from penetrating the log and killing the fungi.

Logs are watered to keep them moist, but allowed to dry between waterings.

Optimum growing conditions include 60? to 80? F., 80-85% relative humidity and water when necessary. If logs develop a green or blue surface fungi, discard.

Logs seldom produce mushroom before two to three years of incubation outdoors. The mushroom fungi must colonize the entire log first. Logs are soaked in water for 6 hours to no more than 2 days and stacked in an A-frame arrangement to allow air circulation, sufficient room for growth and ease of harvest.

Mushrooms mature within three days to a week after growing. Harvest usually occurs in the spring and fall after rains and when temperatures are cool.

(revised 2-94)


Articles in this collection were copyrighted 1995 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For full copyright information about the articles in this encyclopedia, click here.


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