I'd like to start some mushroom logs and am not sure how many dowel spawn to begin with. I don't want to start so small that there's not much of a harvest, but I also don't want to start with too many, in case they get gobbled up by wildlife or some other disaster happens. I'm growing them for my mushroom-loving family, and maybe some to sell too. I'd also like to dry some of them to add to winter meals.
Does anyone know roughly how much per flush of mushrooms I'm likely to get with 200 shiitake dowels? Or 1000 dowels? It would be at the usual spacing, on the usual size of hardwood log.
What amount would be best to start with for a beginner that wants a reasonably good harvest?
I've also found oyster mushroom spawn dowels - do these do well in logs? And is log cultivation of them suitable for beginners? Are yields for this similar to shiitake logs?
50 plugs for a standard 4'/4" diameter log is a good rule of thumb. Commercial yields can be 3 pounds or so a year per log, but that can involve more intensive management (forcing the flush a regular schedule). 1000 plugs would do 20 logs and that could be a pretty good amount of mushrooms for a family. It is more mushrooms than my family would appreciate... Keep in mind productivity is dependent of spawn strain being adapted to your climate so choose carefully. I have found the 'wide range' strains to be pretty good if you are unsure what might work best. The logs should also produce for 3 to 5 years, so to get and keep 20 logs producing regularly, you could inoculate 8 or 10 a year.
I have done oyster plug spawn and had good results on poplar. I discovered there is small black beetle in my area that is very fond of oysters, though, and it was a constant battle to get to the mushrooms first. Also, the squirrels decided they liked to gnaw on these logs and strip the bark. I assume they like the mycelium underneath? This happens to some extent with the oak and gum logs I use for shiitakes, but the poplar bark just strips away so the logs are only good for a year or two at most. Luckily I have lots of poplar in these parts.
It sounds like 1000 plugs is the right amount for me to start with. 20 logs sounds like an achievable thing to do this year. I have mainly eucalyptus, acacias, and white maple. The local spawn supplier has good results with eucalyptus, I'm not sure how the other two would go.
go look at the pamplet at field and forest. They have a lot of good information such as this. www.fieldforest.net
I learned that I need to grow cold and cool weather shiitake since the bugs get the warm and hot varieties. It took 2 years because my logs were around 12 inches in diameter.
Plant a seed and see if it grows. Some seeds do not grow well but others grow beyond your expectations.
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