Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Operation Inoculation, Complete
Written by Laura

Over 500 newly inoculated logs are stored indoors at a temperature near 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The logs have been dead stacked and covered with cardboard to absorb any moisture released by the logs. Next they will be wrapped in plastic (see below).

Today we finished up our fall inoculation with the covering of our logs. I must admit it feels good putting a lid on the entire project. Lots of hard work went into getting our logs to their current state. With callused hands (for the newbys anyway) we can just sit back and be proud of what will one day become a bountiful mushroom harvest.

The whole process took us several days, spanning nearly two weeks. We still had to continue with the day to day runnings of the farm, so at times many of us would disappear from the ranks. Orders still had to be processed and packed. Spawn had to be made, and mushrooms picked. Luckily the hired temporary help were pretty reliable. A successful inoculation can easily be attained with good help, good music, and good coffee.

When Mary Ellen moves logs...Joe is sure to wear his safety glasses!
Joe uses a high speed angle grinder with adapter to get the logs drilled quickly.

As you can see...Jasen, Rachel, and Jeni take this job seriously. Laughing is absolutely not tolerated! Notice how Jeni is using our new Dual Tool and Rachel is using our traditional Palm Tool. What's nice is that the Dual Tool can be used with either the palm or thumb.

Brian, an elected helper, meticulously waxes each log, making sure no hole goes unfilled.

Our logs are now draped in plastic. This method insures adequate moisture content. 
This concludes our fall inoculation journey. Come spring, all of these logs will be moved out into our laying yard. We expect the first fruits of our labor sometime in mid-summer. We truly hope that our fall inoculation series of blog posts has taught you something you never knew before. Good luck to all of our Shiitake growers!


  1. I suppose this is the appropriate time of year to ask about Shiitake cold hardiness.
    I can't seem to find specific temperature ranges of cold that could kill Shiitake mycelium.
    I've been advised not to over-winter iniculated logs in "harsh" places but I'm not sure what that is relative to. For instance my area generally reaches -15 once a year, but typically hangs in the single digits in the coldest weeks.
    Any thoughts on this would be great. Thanks : )

  2. Shiitake mycelium in logs have been reported to withstand temperatures as low as -22 F, but experience tells us that under really cold conditions, a lot depends upon protection from wind. Our logs have survived temperatures close to -30 and we know that shiitake mycelium in the lab, with proper handling, can withstand temps as low as -80! If in doubt keep the inoculated logs in a low stack in a protected laying yard.