Hello! I am new to growing mushrooms. I have purchased some lions mane, turkey tail, and reishi plug spawn and was hoping to inoculate some logs in a few weeks. But now I am reading that they can not be in cold conditions in the first 6 weeks after inoculation. Is this true? Or will they just not grow as fast/stop growing in the winter? Any advice would be great! We don’t have anywhere to keep the logs indoors, although we do have a barn they could go in.
Taylor Cleveland wrote:Hello! I am new to growing mushrooms. I have purchased some lions mane, turkey tail, and reishi plug spawn and was hoping to inoculate some logs in a few weeks. But now I am reading that they can not be in cold conditions in the first 6 weeks after inoculation. Is this true? Or will they just not grow as fast/stop growing in the winter? Any advice would be great! We don’t have anywhere to keep the logs indoors, although we do have a barn they could go in.
"It is best to inoculate logs in early spring if they have been cut during the winter. You can usually begin to inoculate logs one month before the average last frost date as long as day-time temperatures are above 40o F."
I see you're in a warmer zone, but growmushroomscanada.ca says late winter (early spring is mentioned elsewhere) is the time to inoculate and the log should be fresh:
The best time to harvest a tree is in the late winter time, because the sugar content is highest and the bark tends to stay on the log longer.
I'm planning to cut a big maple branch after sugaring time and inoculate a log from it then.
Me too!!! ok, I had Sargent Largent as a prof at HSU... now in north idaho. This past spring i plugged a bunch of 10" diam birch logs with shiitake, we'll see how those go. I sprinkled them all summer. But, winter plugging seems like a less than stellar idea. Prime time to cut logs is early spring, when the sugars are flowing through the cambium at their height and as the first leaves just start (or just before). Obviously, it depends where you are, what kind of trees you had to harvest, and what kind of environmental conditions you plan to subject these inoculated logs to. Keep in mind size of logs, diameter, wind, moisture, balance of heartwood vs sapwood ... I've heard reishi are one of the most difficult to grow (from research, OSU,...etc, lots of ARS and agroforestry papers available online if you search enough). One key. depending on your environment, you'll likely have to heavy irrigate your logs, (reishi has some interesting requirements, north slope half buried, lions manes not too far different) point. easiest way to "irrigate" is to soak logs for 12 hours every couple weeks, so, cut your logs to a size that fits an old bathtub in the yard or a horse trough. but you have to be careful when you irrigate, depends if you just want to keep the logs moist for mycylium growth or if you want to spark primordium stimulation. depends on temperature and humidity. One thing im going to try is to make a wattle fence enclosure with pine trimmings, basically a 8x8x6ft enclosure, pine trim branches as wattle poles as 4" diam thinnings as posts . hahaha! I love the experiments! back to innoculations, plugging: when you you put your plugs in, buy some cheese wax and cap each plug. and before you do, wash and scrub each log with a wire brush to get off all the lichen moss mold.. but winter innoculation, probably a bad idea. wait til temps are 45f high average and above freezing at night. Have FUN! hope my rambling helped :)
“Civilization has not much to brag about. It drives its victims in flocks repressing the growth of individuality” - John Muir
For those talking of cutting and then inoculating logs. You need to cut a live log or branch a couple months before plug spawning it. Live trees have antifungal properties and you must let that die out before spawning them to have the best results. It's a tricky timing thing between waiting until the antifungals are gone but before another fungus invades it. I run a small indoor mushroom farm and have never done logs but have seen and read a lot about it. I don't remember anything about spring sugar or sap content being a benefit and I suspect it may even be a hinderance as other bacteria and such feed on the sugars while you're waiting for the antifungal properties to decay before plugging. Most indoor farms doing Shiitake just use whatever dry hardwood sawdust is available and rehydrate it and it works great.
Good point, Chris. Most professionals I've read from or talked to would say you should drill it with mycelium within one month. Some say 2 weeks, some say 3 weeks. I usually start before a month because it might take me a few weeks to finish those logs. Of course, if where you live it is solidly frozen for the whole time, you might be able to go longer than a month. I think that they say cut in the spring as the flow starts because that is when it has the most sugars in them that the mycelium can grow on. Of course, that's for full time mushroom farmers. Many of us have other things to do, kids, spouses, full time other work, friends, other hobbies, etc. Sometimes we can get it for free. Spring is my busiest part of the year, and I live in a mild winter area, so I am more likely to cut or drill in the winter.