Mushroom Log Kit Instructions
Here are comprehensive directions on how to grow mushrooms using any of our Mushroom Logs Kits. Be sure to scroll down the entire page to to view all of the instructions as well as our video tutorials on Setting Up Your Mushroom Log Kit and Care and Fruiting Mushrooms From Your Mushroom Log Kit. Read all instructions before starting!
Our Mushroom Log Kits come in the following varieties: elm oyster, blue oyster, shiitake (in retail box), lion’s mane, reishi, turkey tail, aspen oyster, and phoenix oyster.
- KEEP KIT INTACT until you are ready to start.
- WE NEED TO REST! If shaken or jostled too much, mycelium (mushroom roots) will go temporarily dormant. Therefore, your kit will produce best if you let your kit sit undisturbed in the dark for a few days to a week.
Choose the Right Wood Type for Your Mushroom. We Suggest:
FOR SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, USE: oak, maple, beech, birch, alder, hickory, ironwood, sweetgum, cherry, eucalyptus, or black gum. DO NOT USE: cedar, redwood, cypress, fruit trees, pine, ash, walnut, elm, or black locust.
FOR ELM OYSTER or BLUE OYSTER MUSHROOMS, USE: oak, maple, beech, birch, alder, elm, poplar, cottonwood, ash, willow, box elder, hackberry, or mulberry. DO NOT USE: cedar, redwood, cypress, fruit trees, or conifers.
FOR TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOMS, USE: oak, maple, beech, birch, alder, hickory, ironwood, sweetgum, cherry, eucalyptus, black gum, elm, poplar, cottonwood, ash, willow, box elder, hackberry, or mulberry. DO NOT USE: cedar, redwood, cypress, or pine.
FOR REISHI MUSHROOMS, USE: oak, maple, beech, elm, sweetgum, plum, sycamore, or hemlock. DO NOT USE: cedar, redwood, cypress, fruit trees, or conifers.
FOR LION’S MANE MUSHROOMS, USE ONLY: oak, maple, beech, elm, or chestnut.
FOR ASPEN OYSTER MUSHROOMS, USE ONLY: quaking aspen or cottonwood.
FOR PHOENIX OYSTER MUSHROOMS, USE ONLY: spruce, fir, or piñon pine.
Step 1: Drill
Drill the first row of holes along the log 4 inches apart and 1.-1ó inches deep. Rotate the log and start another row of holes 3 inches away from the previous row, making sure to offset the holes so that a diamond pattern is created. Continue this process all the way around the log.
>NOTE: One 3-4 foot log will require approximately 40-50 drilled holes.
Step 2: Hammer
Hammer one dowel into each drilled hole. Once the top of the dowel is driven flush with the bark of the log, angle your hammer slightly to countersink the dowel 1/16 – 1/8 inch below the bark’s surface. The recessed dowel creates a small pocket to hold the wax. If you are inoculating a stump, drill your holes 1/2 inch past the innermost layer of bark, and space the dowels 2-3 inches apart.
Step 3: Wax
Heat the wax just enough to melt it. Holding the container of melted wax close to the log, dip one corner of your paintbrush into the wax and gently dab over the top of the dowels of one row. Use only enough wax to form a secure seal in the divot. Let the wax begin to partially set up; when you see it turn slightly white, rotate your log to seal the next row. This will keep wax from running out of the divot. After all of the dowels have been sealed, examine the log for any small scrapes or wounds, and dab wax on those areas. If you have enough wax, you can seal the ends of the log, although this step is not necessary.
>NOTE: Make sure the wax you are applying is in a clear liquid state. If your wax begins to whiten in the pan or on your brush, reheat your wax immediately. The congealing white wax is very difficult to work with and will make a poor seal.
Step 4: Incubation
Place logs in an environment where they can sit for 40 days without exposure to a hard freeze (temperatures below 32°F). Keep the logs stored in a heavily shaded area off the ground to minimize exposure to competing fungi. During the incubation period, the mycelium embedded in the dowels grows inside the log until it has sufficiently colonized it. The length of this phase varies considerably (from 6 months to 1-2 years) depending on the size and species of the log as well as the climate.
>NOTE: If you have multiple logs, they can be placed into ricks (stacks of alternating layers). Each rick should contain the same mushroom species. Do not mix mushroom species within the same rick.
Step 5: Care
Keep your logs moist. Wet the logs thoroughly with a garden hose every 1-2 weeks, or soak the logs in a large trough once a month until the first hard freeze or until regular rain begins to fall. We suggest loosely draping a shade cloth or plant blanket over the logs to help maintain the moisture while still allowing airflow. If you do cover your logs, remove the cover during rainfalls. Keep away from harmful chemicals. Do not use herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or any sort of additive.
Step 6: Force Fruiting Your Logs
Once your logs have been sufficiently colonized by the mycelium, they can be “force fruited” to initiate mushroom production. You can determine when your log has been sufficiently colonized by looking at the face of the log. When you see a blackish discoloration covering more than 2/3 of the face, your log is ready to be soaked. To force fruit, soak your logs in rainwater, well water, pond water, or dechlorinated water for a period of 24 hours. (To dechlorinate tap water, let the water sit in an open container for 24 hours or boil water for 10 minutes, letting it thoroughly cool before using.) After soaking the logs, return them to their previous arrangement. Force fruiting should be done at a time of year when daytime temperatures range between 60°F and 80°F. When the seasonal temperatures are outside of this range, initiation of growth will be difficult. Your logs may even begin to fruit naturally if they are exposed to heavy rainfall and the correct temperature range. Whether you are force fruiting or your logs begin producing naturally, when you see small mushrooms begin to appear on the logs, water the logs heavily (at least 1-2 times per day) until you harvest the mushrooms. After you harvest a crop of mushrooms, the logs or stumps will go into a period of dormancy for 8 weeks, after which time they can be force fruited again.
>Note: The yield and production cycle of mushrooms are dependent upon many factors such as climate, moisture, length and diameter of the log, type of wood used, and number of dowels inserted. Some logs or stumps may begin producing mushrooms in 6 months while others may take up to 2 years.
CAUTION: Growing mushrooms on logs is a fun way to cultivate your own homegrown gourmet mushrooms, but as is the case with any food harvested from your garden, care should be taken before consuming. Before eating any mushroom grown outdoors, always be sure that you can identify it and are certain it is edible.
WATCH OUR VIDEO TUTORIAL ON HOW TO SET UP YOUR MUSHROOM LOG KIT: