Cultivating Shitake Mushrooms

Mushroom Spawn

I studied Permaculture this past winter.  Reading fellow Wisconsinite Mark Shepard’s new book, Restoration Agriculture, inspired me to read all the books I could find in the Southwest Wisconsin Library system on Permaculture.

The pioneering books by Mollison and Holmgren are great, but the best book by far is Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture.  This Austrian farmer inspired me to try and cultivate mushrooms.  So I purchased a bag filled with mycelium plug spawn from Field and Forest Products. 

Drill a hole, hammer the plug in, then seal with wax.  Repeat every few inches until the entire log is covered.  Place in a shady place and keep moist.

If all goes well, the mycelium will spend the next year colonizing the rotting log.  The following year it will produce the fruiting bodies we call mushrooms.

I don’t know if this will work or if I’ll even like Shitake mushrooms, which is the variety I’m growing.  It looked like too much fun not to try, though.  Click on the bottom photo to enlarge and see better the tools of this project.

Mushroom Tools

5 Responses to Cultivating Shitake Mushrooms

  1. Thanks for sharing this Matthew, this looks like fun and I love mushrooms. I will have to give it a try.

  2. Rich says:

    I grew some Shitake a few years back, and used to take the whole cap, put some olive oil and garlic on them, and grill them.

    All the vegetarian types claim they sorta taste “meaty” (which I found hard to believe), but I actually thought they did have a little bit of a meaty taste and texture.

    Cut them up, saute them with garlic in olive oil or butter, and they would go great with a good steak.

  3. Thanks Rich for the cooking tips. I’m looking forward.
    Gordon, you’ll be doing all kinds of fun projects once you retire from your city job.

  4. amyparmenter says:

    I’m not sure I’d have the patience to wait a year…but looks like fun. Hope it is worth the wait. Be sure to let us know!

  5. Update: Didn’t work for me. I’m guessing I didn’t keep them moist and shaded enough through our hot summer months. Maybe I’ll try again sometime.

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