A Guide: How to grow Shiitake Mushroom

shiitake mushroom

Shiitake is one of the most popularly grown mushrooms worldwide. It has a little bit of difficulty while growing once it establishes it would give harvest for 4-6 years. So here in this article, I will give you a complete guide about How to grow shiitake mushroom.

What is shiitake mushroom?

Shiitake word comes from two words Shii mean Oaktree and take mean mushroom. It comes from the Latin word Lentinus edodoes. It grows in Asia for about 800 years ago. It is the third most widely grown mushroom. They are tan to dark brown with caps that grow between 2-4 inches long. They are typically eaten like a vegetable; shiitake are fungi that grow naturally on decaying hardwood trees.

It is natural wood decomposer that is typically a saprophytic growing on dead tissue of deciduous trees. Mainly oak log considers best for its growth. Even you can also use blackjack oak, sweetgum, maple or hickory for this purpose. Fruiting usually starts within the fall or early winter and spring. You can inoculate the logs with spawn. You can also use dowels that are mushroom mycelium mixed with sawdust or wood.

Why grow shiitake mushroom?

Shiitake mushroom is one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide. They are best for their rich, savory taste and diverse health benefits. The compounds in shiitake may help to fight with cancer, boost immunity and support heart health.

Supplementary diet:

They are mostly preferred due to their nutritional value. The nutrient in 4 dried shiitake mushroom consists of:

Total calories: 44

Carbs: 11 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Protein: 1 gram

Riboflavin: 11% of the daily value.

Niacin: 11%

Copper: 39%

Vitamin B5: 33%

Manganese: 9%

Zinc: 8%

Vitamin B6: 7%

Folate: 6%

Vitamin D: 6%

Besides, shiitake contain many of the identical amino acids as meat. They also boast polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols, and lipids. Many who have immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, and anticancer effects. The amount of bioactive compounds in shiitake depends on how and where the mushroom is grown or stored. They also protect against cancer.

As whole food:

You can cook with both fresh and dried shiitake, although the dried ones are slightly more popular. Dried shiitake have an umami flavor that is even more intense than fresh. The flavor will be described as savory or meaty. It is often considered as the fifth taste alongside the sweet, sour, bitter and salty. They can be used in both dried, fresh shiitake mushrooms and can be utilized in stir-fries, soups, stews, and other dishes.

Improve heart health:

Shiitake mushroom may boost heart health as an example there consist of three compounds which ultimately lower the cholesterol

Eritadenine: this compound inhibits an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol.

Sterols: These molecules help in blockage of cholesterol absorption in your gut.

Beta-glucans: this fiber help in lowering cholesterol.

Side by side they also help in reducing the blood pressure.

Strengthen the immune system:

Shiitake might also help in strengthening the immune system. the study revealed that by consuming two shiitake daily, after a month their immune system and their inflammation system drop. This immune effect may well be partly because of one among the polysaccharides in shiitake mushroom.

Promising antibacterial and antiviral effect:

Several compounds in shiitake have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects. As antibiotic resistance is growing, some scientists think it is important to explore the antimicrobial potential of shiitake. Some antimicrobial activity in test tubes, eating shiitake is unlikely to own an ant effect on viral bacterial activity in test tubes, eating shiitake is unlikely to own any effect on viral bacterial or fungal infections in people.

Strengthen the human body:

Mushroom is the sole natural plant source of fat-soluble vitamin. Your body needs fat-soluble vitamin to make bone strong, only a few foods contain this important nutrient. The fat-soluble vitamin levels of mushrooms vary looking at how they are grown. When they exposed to UV light, they develop higher of this compound.

The study also reveals that the low calcium, low vitamin D diet developed symptoms of osteoporosis then those given calcium and UV enhanced shiitake had higher bone density. The shiitake will provide vitamin D2 which is often inferior to vitamin D3 which is found in fatty fish and few other animal foods.

Approaches to grow Shiitake mushroom:

There are three main approaches are used to grow shiitake mushroom.

  • Nutrient amended spawn
  • Log production using forced fruiting
  • Log production utilizing natural conditions and irrigation.

Nutrient amended spawn:

Winter is the most suitable time to select spawn or live culture equivalent to seed. Mostly grower prefers sawdust spawn and invests within the spring-loaded inoculation tool necessary to insert the sawdust into logs. The most on going tend towards shortcuts like pre-inoculated wooden dowels, which is also called a plug spawn or may be pre-inoculated logs.

Mushroom spawn is a few varieties of a substrate that has been colonized by mushroom mycelium. Generally, shiitake spawn is purchased as either plug spawn or sawdust spawn. You should start with plug spawn. It is very easy to handle with special tools. Plug spawn is a tiny dowel that is inoculated with shiitake mycelium. Sawdust spawn is usually cheaper but it is a small amount trickier to figure with. A special inoculation tool is employed to pack the sawdust into holes drilled in your mushroom logs.

Log production using forced fruiting:

 It is a very commonly used approach. Here, you have to follow steps to get a mushroom harvest by using this approach.

Material required for cultivation:

Here is the material you will have to grow shiitake mushroom in logs.

  • 100 inoculated shiitake mushroom plugs.
  • Two recently cut hardwood along with bark. They should be 4-8 inches in diameter and 3-4 feet long. Thick barked hardwoods like oak and poplars are ideal to form shiitake logs. Side by side also gets more shiitake mushroom plugs at the identical ratio roughly 50 plugs per 6” diameter along 4’ long log.
  • High-speed power drill with a multi-purpose 5/16” drilling bit. If you would like to induce more serious and do plenty of logs, you will probably want to upgrade to an angle grinder with a specialized high-speed adapter as you will be able to see here.
  • Rubber mallet for tapping the mushroom plugs into the holes.
  • Food grade wax, some beeswax or cheese wax for sealing your mushroom plugs within the log. Canning wax is not ideal because it becomes brittle and might fall off leaving your logs open and exposed to being colonized by other mushrooms
  • Old junk can for melting your wax.
  • Camping stoves or other heat sources for melting wax in a can. We just use our stovetop and reheat the wax as necessary.
  • Small paintbrush for applying wax.

Selection of Inoculum:

The next step is to order good quality culture which is called spawn for inoculum. There are certain strains are specific to a variety of substrate used like sawdust. You can get soaking or irrigated sawdust blocks or hardwood dowel.

The shiitake inoculum has a different variety for a different environment.

  • Normal condition: C-41, C-15
  • Warm condition: CS-24, CS-125
  • Cold conditions: CS-16, CS-11 and CS-118.

Required growing environment:

Here are the following environmental condition required for the proper growth of the shiitake.

Relative humidity: the humidity for log should be 60-75% and for sawdust, blocks and the artificial log should be 90%.

Substrate temperature: For optimum growth of shiitake the temperature of the substrate should be 77oF. the 41oF is the threshold level below which growth is ceased and above 95oF the mycelia growth halts.

Duration: the growth period of mushroom is about 4-9 months on logs and 30-60 days required for sawdust blocks.

pH: the pH of the substrate should be 5-6.

The fresh air exchange, Co2, and light are conditional. The absence of these factors will not affect the growth of the Shiitake mushroom.

Selection of substrate:

Deciduous oak species are best such as turkey, blackjack, water, and laurel. Straight sapwood also preferred which can be used as the main trunk or larger branches. Always prefer to cut the logs in a winter month when the sap is down. The log should be 3-8 inches in diameter and 3-5 ft. long. Prefer to cut the substrate at least 2 weeks to 1 month before the inoculation.

Selection of log:

You have to select an old log for inoculation. They should be 3” to 6” in diameter and about 31/2’ long and cut from deciduous hardwoods.

Prepare the log for inoculation:

Always inoculate in a shady area as direct sunlight may damage the spawn. Make holes in a row which should be 6 inches apart and should be in one row for every inch of diameter in a diamond pattern. Use a high-speed drill of about 8000-10,000 RPMs which would be work in a large number of logs. Each log should have 35-50 holes on each. Use a 12mm bit for sawdust spawn or 8mmbit for plug spawn. The depth of the outlet depends on the thickness of tree barks. For turkey or blackjack oak, the hole must be one inch deep. Apply water to oak ¾ inch should be enough.

Carefully pack the holes with sawdust spawn or place hardwood dowel in the hole. If using sawdust, you need to pack the spawn down into the hole with a 3/8” dowel rod or use a special tool for it. Seal the hole with melted food-grade wax to stay out competing organisms. Use a camel hair brush as plastic bristles melt in hot wax sponges or cheesecloth.

The condition required for shiitake mushroom pinhead initiation:

For initiation following conditions are required.

Initiation: Submerge the logs and blocks in cold water for 24-72 hr.

Relative humidity: humidity should be 95% for initiation.

Air temperature: The temperature of the air should be 59-68oF.

Duration: The required duration for initiation should be 7-14 days after soaking.

Fresh air exchange:  The fresh air should be exchange for 2-4 times per hr.

Light: for initiation ambient natural light is required.

Apply wax to shiitake log:

On a stovetop, grill or camp stove heat your wax until it is fully melted. Using a cheap paintbrush, seal each cut end of the log completely with melted wax. Next, seal each hole thoroughly with wax so that each shiitake plug has its own tight little house and also protects them from other competing fungi that may come knocking.

Stacking of log:

The log should be stacked in a different pattern to grow the mushroom. There is the following pattern in which you can stack the logs.

  • Lean-to method
  • Crisscross method
  • X-pattern

Incubate your shiitake logs for 6-12 months:

Place the shiitake log under a shade, moist location off the bottom but procurable of a hose. You do not need an excessive amount of sunlight to hit the logs and you do not want the logs touching the bottom which inspires other competing fungi to return aboard.

An old palette, bricks or concrete blocks are good for this purpose. Ideally, you will also cover your logs with a breathable cloth to assist exclude sun while allowing moisture to return through, do not use plastic since this can make your logs mold.

Once you have stored your logs, it is time to provide water to them.

Wet conditions: if the humidity resides in your climate then you have to water shiitake logs once per week for about 10 minutes during a dry week within which it does not rain. If you get an honest soaking rain, do not worry about irrigating them.

Dry conditions: if you reside during a dry climate, you must arrange a proper system to irrigate the logs twice per week for at least 10 minutes. Do not apply water to your logs if the outer temperature is below freezing as this may cause your logs to separate or lose their bark.

When shiitake log ready to initiate:

Under ideal conditions, your shiitake logs are going to be able to fruit after 6 months, but it is recommended that you simply wait a minimum of 9-12 months before initiating them. here initiating means forcing them to fruit and produce mushrooms.

It takes lots of energy for the shiitake colony to supply mushrooms. Waiting to initiate them ensures that the colony is admittedly strong. Your logs will perform a reasonably good job of telling you when they are ready. Keep watching the cutting ends that you simply sealed with wax. When the expanse looks dark and mottled then you recognize the colony has appropriate the log and is prepared to fruit.

Sometime, under ideal conditions, logs will act and fruit on their own without your help. Once you have determined that your shiitake logs can be initiated, you will want to submerge them in water for 25hrs. you will use a tub, a pail, a contractor bag, a natural body of water or whatever else you will come up with that is large enough. Ideally, you will use non-chlorinated water, the water straight out of the hose will work fine if that is your only option.

Apply inoculum for colonization:

Stack log in a vertical position to extend the water absorption. Irrigate the log during the times of drought, high temperature and windy weather are going to be necessary. Apply water for at least 20 minutes for 2-3 times per week. The log must be in a deeply shaded area having 60-70% shade.

Allow shiitake to colonize the wood:

It takes at least 4-9 months to colonize on the log which is also called spawn run counting on climate along the log diameter to start fruiting. Logs will usually fruit for 3-5 years without additional inoculation counting on the size of log and conditions. The yield will vary but each log can produce up to 5 lb. of product over 3 years and valued for 8$ per lb. in a very retail market venue.

Protection from pest:

Before fruiting time, the most important threat to a shiitake cultivation operation is drying out. Once fruiting begins the priority shifts to predation by slugs. Farming the woods suggests employing a flock of backyard ducks to prevent the slug population down, but once we raised ducks they devastated out landscape after heavy rains. They do not eat the mushrooms but they are eating almost everything else, from slug to green fields and that they make an unholy mess of the muddy land after heavy rains.

A much more reasonable slug prevention tactic is circling the logs in an exceedingly thick ring of wood ash. The slugs would not cross a 3-4-inch-wide ring of wood ash, as it is manufactured from leftover salts within the wood after burning. Unlike seasoned, it would not hurt the soil or woodland ecology. Wood ash may be a great natural slug prevention technique but just make certain to re-apply after heavy rains.

Harvesting Shiitake mushroom:

Once mushroom has started to fruit, the log and mushroom should be kept dry. Harvest the mushroom when the cap is 2/3 opened. Cut the stem flush with a sharp knife and store in cardboard boxes or paper bags in a cool dry area.

The following spring, once the temperature rises above 60oF, fruit the logs by submerging them in cold, clean water overnight in a feed tank or a close-by creek. On the following day move the log to a shady area and lean them against a tree or fence with a tarp spread underneath. Keep slugs trapped with an organic deterrent like Sluggo or started beer traps. Cover it with a fruiting blanket or other permeable cloth and wait 5-7 days for the mushroom to emerge.

Once the caps are open but just about flat, cut the fruit from the log with a knife or twist it off by hand. Refrigerate the mushrooms during a paper not a plastic bag for up to 10 days. By restacking the identical logs within the original formation, you will be able to recruit them every eight weeks until nighttime temperatures begin dipping below 40oF. shoulda log fail to fruit within the first place, peel back a small amount of bank. If you see a white film, the inoculation was probably successful but need longer to fruit so restack and check again in six weeks.

Shiitake mushroom yield:

Shiitake mushroom logs will begin to supply a round estimate of about 8- 16 months after inoculation. The specifics will rely on your climate. Each log will produce a couple of pounds of mushroom each year for up to eight years. Shiitake mushrooms sell for about 10$ per pound which implies that every log should produce roughly 80$ worth of mushrooms in its lifespan. One bag of 100 spawn plugs cost about 10$ can inoculate roughly 3 logs meaning a 10$ investment should lead to roughly 240$ worth of mushrooms.

Large commercial operations bring their costs down further by using sawdust spawn and specialized inoculation tools. That said, the most important cost for a producer is time. The time looking forward to the logs to supply and also the time moving sorting and watering logs. For backyard producer, its flow is free if you are doing this for fun and also the profits can be eaten up at home in the tasty harvest.

Cost-revenue estimate:

The given estimates assume mushroom cultivation on 100 free logs and do not consider labor costs. Allow roughly three days for drilling and inoculating besides as three hours per fruiting meet per week.

Initial investment: Angle grinder with adapter and dedicated bit 160$, spring-loaded inoculator 35$, deep fryer 20$, four 2.5 pound bags of cheese has cost about 35$, four wax dauber 1$, four 5.5 pound bags sawdust inoculant 100$, tarp 5$ and fruiting blanket 25$.

Harvest yield: Approximately ¼ to 1/3 pound per log per fruiting, with two to a few fruiting annually betting on climate which is 50-100 pounds.

Retail price: 10$ to 20$

Annual revenue: 500$ to 2000$

Effective lifetime of the crop: approximately seven years.

Log production utilizing natural condition and irrigation:

If you cannot cut a log from the tree and environmental condition is favorable, then after some time you will find out the growing shiitake upon the surface of the oak tree. It also grows naturally in a wild forest where conditions are most suitable.

Hopefully, By adopting these approaches along with steps you can grow your shiitake mushroom. Article written by Robert Davis, the owner of Growfoodguide.com, Passionate about all that has to do with growing your own organic vegetables.

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