Thursday, November 10, 2011

Logs, Logs, Logs... it's all About the Logs.
Written by Laura

Last week Friday we picked up logs for our fall log inoculation venture. Inoculation starts next week Wednesday, and all of us here at F&FP are psyched. Drilling and filling 500 logs brings us great joy! I am being a little sarcastic, but log inoculation can actually be lots of fun. It gives us all a chance to talk and laugh together. I never know what new and interesting things I might find out about Joe, Mary Ellen, and the rest of the gang. Last time we inoculated logs I learned that Phoebe knows the words to just about every Disney movie song, and that Mary Ellen has a serious addiction to iced coffee...well any coffee for that matter. 

Lichens and mosses on logs are not considered a competitor organism. They merely occupy the outside of the logs. The only time they can become a problem is during drilling, as they can get caught up in the drill. If you wish to remove them, try brushing or power washing them off. It is perfectly fine to leave them on the logs though.

We traveled about an hour northwest of the farm to Aurora, Wisconsin to pick up the logs. All 500 logs are sugar maples, 40 inches long, with various diameters (nothing too big to handle though). These maples were cut for timber stand improvement, and the homestead where these logs came from belongs to John and Nancy Roberts, Ken and Dorothy Osterburg, and Ringo (the dog). We first met John and Nancy at one of our workshops this spring. It was there, that John told Joe he could provide us with shiitake logs if need be. Ironically, John went to the same high school as Mary Ellen in a suburb of Detroit. I guess it really is a small world! 

This is what 500 shiitake logs should look like. Notice how they are not resting directly on the ground. This prohibits the growth of competitor organisms.

Ken and Ringo sit back and watch to make sure we load these logs the right way.

Joe, Jasen, and I drove up together in one truck with one trailer. The trailer seemed plenty big enough, but what we hadn't considered was the weight limit. To get the logs home without incident, we could only take about 300 with us. The rest will be picked up next week. 

There's nothing two guys and a dog can't figure out!

John helps Joe and Jasen secure the load before we head out of the woods for lunch.

All in all our trip was successful. We have enough logs to get us started, and we had an amazing lunch. While we were out fetching logs, Nancy and Dorothy were preparing Sloppy Joes (with beef from a neighbors cow), sweet corn (also from a neighbor), homemade apple sauce and cheese, fresh cows milk, apple cider, and blueberries from the farm atop ice cream. What hospitality!

When deciding to grow shiitakes, one has to figure out where the logs are going to come from. Some of you have your own forests to pick and choose from, but for those of you that don't, be sure to communicate well with the person who is cutting your logs. Be sure they know there is a difference between logs harvested for mushroom cultivation and logs harvested for firewood. I wish all of you shiitake growers the best of luck in finding your logs!  

If you haven't already read Joe's blog post on fall inoculation, check it out. 



  1. Thanks so much for the tip about lichens and mosses! I had 50 logs this spring that had this stuff on em, and i wasnt sure if i was wasting my time when i was plugging them. But i wasnt :) The fall inoculations sound very cool. Please udpate as you learn. Also what do you guys use to keep your logs of thew ground during spawn run?

  2. We use pine poles to keep the logs off of the ground, but some people just prefer to use pallets. We will definitely post updates too :)