1. Cut living tree trunks or large branches into 3’-4' lengths.
The harder hardwoods such as Oak and Maple are preferred though some softer hardwoods such as Poplar work, particularly with Oyster mushrooms. Only living, disease-free wood should be cut for mushroom logs. Inoculate the logs as soon as possible after cutting, no later than one to two weeks after the logs have been cut. This allows the cells in the tree to die but is not long enough for the log to dry out or for other competitor fungi to become established. Our Livin’ Dreams Farm plug spawn can survive in a refrigerator for 6 months.
2. Drill holes in an equally spaced diamond pattern around the entire log with a 7/16” drill bit, 6" apart, about 1"-1 ½” deep, in a row running the entire length of the log. Pro tip: wrap your drill bit with tape to mark the correct depth. Next, roll the log approximately 2-3" and drill another row, with the holes 3" offset, creating a diamond pattern. Repeat, drilling a row of holes down the length of the log, around the entire log. It’s okay if the rows are a little uneven, and if you end up with extra plugs you can drill holes in the ends.
3. Inoculate by tapping a plug spawn into each hole with a hammer.
4. Cover each hole with melted wax using a brush or rag.
5. Incubate logs in a shady place, close to the forest floor but not in contact with soil or leaf litter. Lay down tracks of scrap wood that elevate the logs 1-2" above the forest floor (a pallet will work fine). Stack the logs in a layer with a little space for airflow between each log. Keep the stack lower than the average snow line, as the snow cover protects the logs from dry winter winds. Generally no special care is needed while the mycelium grows throughout the log, but watering may be needed if excessively dry weather occurs. It’s Ok if some of the wax flakes off a bit during this stage. Fruiting naturally occurs after rains, and occurs in cycles. Logs generally begin producing 6 months to 1 year after inoculation; after which, they usually continue to fruit once or twice a year for up to 4 years producing 1-2 lbs. per year.