I have a lots of logs inoculated with shiitake, and I was wondering if I could give them an early start in some type of hoop house or cold frame. I tried to find some information on the topic, and basically ran into commercial mushroom building suppliers. I'm quite new to growing mushrooms (last summer was when I started inoculating), and I was wondering if anyone had tried giving logs an early start this way.
I'm trying to decide what I want to do this spring, and I haven't decided if I want to start producing for the farmer's market (I have a nice sized farm all to myself). If I do start growing produce here, I would really like to include mushrooms in my production plan.
This is an idea with lots of potential. Typically in the U.S. shiitake are either nature-crafted in logs outdoors or are intensively farmed indoors on sawdust blocks in climate-controlled conditions. Mushroom growers in third-world countries often use structures similar to hoop houses. See The Shiitake Cultivation Handbook in this thread:
Are the farmers' markets seasonal in your area? Last spring, I had a large surplus of oyster mushrooms, but none of our local farmers' markets opened until summer. By summer, it was too hot for my mushrooms to fruit.
Some strains (not all) of mushrooms prefer a certain number of hours of daylight (real or fake) to trigger fruiting. Typically, indoors, lights are placed on a 12/12 cycle to initiate the production of fruits (that's what I use for shiitake on sawdust blocks indoors) I do not know if you would need to provide additional hours of light (or shade) to trigger the fruiting cycle in shiitake logs or not, or what the exact number of hours should be.
I believe you would have some decent results with trying this out. I do recall reading a method of Japanese growers soaking the logs, then striking them with a mallet to induce fruiting. Apparently the concussion initiates the fruiting sequence.
50-60 F is the temp range for primordia formation and RH should be 95-100%. Stamets says once fruitbodies begin developing, RH should be constantly fluctuated then lowered to 60%RH about 6-12 hours before the fruits are harvested. This is to toughen the skin on the outside, substantially extending shelf life.
Lighting for fruiting is 12/12 as frankenstoen said, although it can be differed from that. If the logs are outside, daylight should be enough.
I dont have much experience with Shiitake but plenty with other varieties and I would recommend any of Paul Stametsbooks. He is considered one of the greatest mycological minds in the field today. You wont be disappointed, the money is well spent. I got the whole set of books from www.fungiperfecti.com
One thing to keep in mind is that there are many different strains of Shiitake available. There are cold temperature, medium temperature, and high temperature varieties. There are varieties adapted to high-intensity indoor cultivation as well as outdoor log cultivation. Some varieties will need a cold freeze to induce fruiting, others are fine with a cool soaking. Consult with your spawn supplier to find out the recommended environmental requirements.
There are probably only a handful of different varieties of shiitake currently available as plug spawn. Many, many more varieties are available only as petri dish cultures and would require some lab work to grow out as spawn, if you are up for that sort of thing.
Thanks for the info. I downloaded the growing guides for shiitake and oyster mushrooms. I also have Growing Wild Mushrooms by Bob Harris. I'll have to invest in the book from fungi Perfecti (that's who i purchased my spored chainsaw oil from last year).
If I move ahead with it, I'll post any results.
p.s. WOW do those growing guides have a lot of information