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How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms

Learn how to inoculate a shiitake mushroom log, and grow shiitake mushrooms for production.


When you think of growing crops on the farm, plants nestled in soil is usually what comes to mind. But you’re selling yourself—and your market potential—short if you leave mushrooms out of the equation. Japanese-origin shiitake mushrooms are simple to grow, and they carry a decent price tag at farmers’ markets.

According to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s fact sheet “Growing Shiitake Mushrooms,” much of the U.S. shiitake production takes place in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California, but there’s no reason you can’t begin production where you live.

To start growing shiitake mushrooms, gather these materials:

  • 4-foot-long fresh oak log, 4 to 6 inches in diameter
  • cheese wax
  • shiitake mushroom grain spawn or inoculated wooden dowels
  • 5/16-inch drill bit
  • drill
  • hammer (if using wood dowel)
  • double-boiler system
  • paintbrush

Find a shady, high-moisture location on the farm to set up your shiitake production station, and watch the video below to learn how to inoculate a shiitake mushroom log with spawn. Shiitake spawn grow best in temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees F, and all you have to do once your logs are started is water and wait.

After about two weeks, a well-watered shiitake log should be ready for harvesting. Remove the mushrooms from the logs by twisting them or cutting them at the base. Then refrigerate the shiitakes in cardboard boxes to allow the mushrooms to keep for up to two or three weeks.

The flavorful, meaty shiitake is traditionally used in Asian cuisine, but try it in your favorite recipe containing mushrooms for a nutritional flavor boost.

 

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How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms

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Reader Comments
You may have to wait for about 6 months for the initial fruiting after you inoculate the log. According to the the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, "Natural fruiting of shiitake occurs under prolonged cool, moist conditions. It will usually occur within two weeks of a natural rainfall." Fruiting typically occurs in the spring and fall, though depending on your climate, there are certainly variables that could affect production times.
Hobby Farms Editor, Lexington, KY
Posted: 4/3/2014 7:21:30 AM
You may have to wait for about 6 months for the initial fruiting after you inoculate the log. According to the the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, "Natural fruiting of shiitake occurs under prolonged cool, moist conditions. It will usually occur within two weeks of a natural rainfall." Fruiting typically occurs in the spring and fall, though depending on your climate there are certainly variables that could affect production times.
Hobby Farms Editor, Lexington, KY
Posted: 4/3/2014 7:20:28 AM
Your explanation says after two weeks shiitakes should be ready to harvest?? The video says 6 months to a year, which is it. Also what do you do with the logs in the winter??
lsarrow1, Grand Ledge, MI
Posted: 4/2/2014 6:15:59 PM
Informative video. I did, however, feel bad watching the woman in this video. It was sad she wasn't more involved... by having a speaking role, or even wearing a company shirt like her male counterpart. Is there a reason the man did all the work while she stood there? I don't normally comment about this sort of thing, but she was so passive... it distracted me because it was a little sad. Not much of a mushroom team.
Bones, Tulsa, OK
Posted: 12/22/2013 3:26:15 PM
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