Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shiitake logs part two

The left hand side is the drilled hole, the middle is the
dowel before it is hammered in, and the right hand side
is the dowel in place.
 After properly soaking your oak logs, now we move on to step two.  Be sure the logs haven't soaked too long because they will inoculate with something other than shiitake.  I forgot about my logs at one point and then found them with a fuzzy layer.  These logs are probably not any good.  I also need to add in that I did this step for most of my logs a long time ago.  I ended up having extra logs and had to buy more spores for them.  This is not the ideal time to be doing these logs,
Wax over the dowel.
 but the spores could die if they sit around for too long.  Either way, the next step is to fill the dowel holes you drilled in the logs.  Each dowel inoculated with spores is for each hole in the log.  Simply hammer them in to place.  Once they are in place you can recess them a little with a nail set, but this didn't work well for me.  The dowels are very moist and they just squashed when I tried to set them.  Some of them ended up squashed
anyways.  Once they are all in the logs, paint over each one with some beeswax.  You can use other kinds of wax as well, but beeswax is the best option because it is safe for food.  I used an old soup can in a pot of hot water to melt the wax, and then an old paint brush to apply the wax.  You can also wax the ends of the logs to help ensure that the logs are not inoculated by anything else.  Stack your logs in a shaded place and wait.  Don't let them dry out too much because it will kill all of your spores and you won't get anything from the logs.  If you need to water them in the heat of the summer, you should do so.  The earliest you should expect anything is 6 months from when they were set up.  It could take a full year, so don't get discouraged too quickly.  Once they become active, they should last a few years.

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