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Growing Gourmet Mushrooms

Michael has worked in whole system design, with a focus on edible and ecological landscapes, for over two decades.

Learn how to grow gourmet mushrooms in hardwood, step-by-step.

Learn how to grow gourmet mushrooms in hardwood, step-by-step.

How to Grow Your Own Edible Gourmet Mushrooms

Growing gourmet mushrooms in your landscape is a very rewarding and tasty process. Mushrooms like shiitakes and oyster mushrooms grow readily on hardwoods. Maple is one great wood option for growing mushrooms.

Step 1: Prep and Drill the Hardwood

Use hardwoods that are from healthy trees, gathered while dormant, and approximately 36 inches in length by 4–8 inches in diameter.

Cut and then drill with a 5/16 drill bit 1 inch deep every 6 inches along the log.

Rotate over a few inches and offset the drilling pattern so that the entire log gets drilled. These holes will then house what are called spawn.

Carefully whacking in the spawn so as not to damage the bark

Carefully whacking in the spawn so as not to damage the bark

Step 2: Inoculate the Log

Insert the little wooden dowels covered in fungi mycelium. These are the seeds of the mushroom. These get inserted into the holes very carefully using a hammer.

Be careful not to harm the bark. You want to keep your bark in good condition to hold moisture in the log. These get hammered flush with the bark.

Waxing the logs to seal in moisture

Waxing the logs to seal in moisture

Step 3: Seal the Plugs

Once they are in flush and the entire log has been plugged, you want to wax them. This can be a paraffin wax or cheese wax applied with an old brush or a specialized wax dauber. This helps seal and keep in the moisture for the mycelium.

Step 4: Label the Logs

You want to be sure that you are tagging your mushroom logs with what you are inserting. This way you have safety in knowing what kind of mushrooms are supposed to be coming out of your log. This is a key step. Be sure not to skip it.

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Storing inoculated logs under my deck

Storing inoculated logs under my deck

Step 5: Store the Logs

Next, store your logs. You want to put your logs where they will stay moist and shady but also somewhere that you frequent so that you can observe them and see when the mushrooms come out. It can usually take 12–18 months for the mushrooms to begin to fruit (for the logs to begin to produce).

Leaning logs that are ready to fruit under evergreens

Leaning logs that are ready to fruit under evergreens

Step 6: Prepare Logs for Harvest

When they do, it's a great idea to lean them up so that you can easily come along and harvest them with a knife. It'll happen quickly, so be ready.

Cherry stump drilled along edge for Reishi mushroom spawn plug

Cherry stump drilled along edge for Reishi mushroom spawn plug

How to Inoculate Tree Stumps With Mushrooms

If you have access to the stumps where the trees were cut, those can also be inoculated.

  1. Just simply drill along the outside sapwood.
  2. Insert your spawn.
  3. Seal it with wax and cover it.

You'll be off to the wonderful dance of abundance with mushrooms and all the other garden goodies you grow.

Soon you'll have a mushroom log of your own!

Soon you'll have a mushroom log of your own!

More Mushroom-Growing Resources

If you're looking for more resources, these are two wonderful books to help get you going on your mushroom-growing adventure:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Michael Judd

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