Thanks Andrew, it was fun to read about your mushroom growing and foraging experiences. I've noticed the same thing about shiitake logs- they really prefer soaking over sprinkling in order to get them to fruit. My technique is to place the shiitake logs vertically in a large, 55 gallon, food-grade plastic barrel, screw on the lid, then I fill the barrel with well water through the 3 inch hole in the lid. (This prevents the logs from floating on the surface like they do with the bathtub immersion technique.) After soaking the logs for 24 hours in cold water, I restack them and cover them with a clear plastic sheet to raise humidity. Fruiting starts in about a week.
I also like to pick boletes, too. But I only collect king boletes, queen boletes and spring king boletes for drying. (I'm a snob, so I don't eat Suillus species much.)After drying them, I put them in mason jars, label them with the date, species and place where I picked them, and then store them in the freezer, which eliminates any possibilty of bug problems. I store morels and shiitake the same way.
thanks for the information about how you soak the logs. I got some good confirmation of this technique for a mycologist who just recently visited the farm. He plans to come up this spring and do some work with us on 1.) initiating the shiitake logs, 2.) identifying wild spring mushrooms in our area 3.) do some work/planning on how to expand our Kind Stropharia mushroom beds 4.) how to create a more hospitable environment for native morels!
I am excited about these prospects, and will post the documentation on Permies for others to see.