Selecting a Log

Hardwood logs are often preferred for mushroom cultivation. Species like oak, maple, or beech can be suitable. Avoid any trees with natural anti-fungal properties like cedar or black locust. The logs should be around 3-8 inches in diameter and 3-4 feet long.

Inoculating the Log

You will need to inoculate the log with the mushroom spores or mycelium. This can often be bought in the form of 'plugs' which are small dowels colonized by the mushroom mycelium. Drill holes in the log in a diamond pattern, each hole about an inch deep and spaced around 6 inches apart. Then, insert the plugs into the holes and seal them with food-grade wax to prevent contamination and drying out.


Place the inoculated log in a shaded, damp area. This could be under a canopy of trees, in a misting house, or somewhere with a shade cloth. The log will need to stay moist but not soaking wet. The mushroom mycelium will grow throughout the log during this period, which can take from 6 months to a year, depending on the mushroom species and environmental conditions.


When the mycelium has fully colonized the log, it's time for fruiting. This process can often be stimulated by soaking the log in cold water for 24 hours. After this, mushrooms should begin to fruit from the log within a few weeks. Keep the log in a humid area and mist it regularly to keep it moist.


Harvest the mushrooms when they are mature, usually when the caps have flattened out but before the spores have dropped. This will vary depending on the species of mushroom. The log can be left to rest for a few weeks to a few months and then be soaked again to stimulate another fruiting.


The details can vary depending on the species of mushroom you are growing. Always make sure to do thorough research and consider the specific needs of the mushroom species you are working with.