growing mushrooms on logs

Growing Mushrooms on Logs: An Easy Process to Begin Producing Mushrooms

For those who are interested, growing mushrooms on logs is a great way to start your own mushroom farm inside or out, and you can learn the process here

To begin growing mushrooms on logs, you will need some supplies to do it efficiently and effectively.

The first is a palm inoculator. This tool is ideal for mushroom growers who will be producing 20 or more logs in their grow, or plan on growing mushrooms year after year. This tool is about $40 from Field & Forest.

How to use the palm inoculator for growing mushrooms on logs

The process is pretty simple with a palm inoculator. To begin, you take the inoculator and stick it into the sawdust grow medium. The tube then fills with the mycelium. You then put the top of the tube into the log and press the back of the inoculator so the mycelium injects into the log.

The tool is simple to take apart and use. In the video below you can see all of the components of the palm inoculator and how they work together, in case yours ever falls apart and you need some tips on how to put it back together.

The next tool for growing mushrooms on logs: An adapted angle grinder

We begin with a normal angle grinder and add an adapter so the angle grinder can also include a drill bit. 

The drill bit we use is the same length as the end of the palm inoculator, so the two can work together properly. There is a stop collar so the drill bit will not go any deeper than desired. And for the record, we usually inoculate the log 1” to 1.5” deep.

The biggest advantage to using an adapted angle grinder is that the grinder is rotating at 10 - 12,000 RPMs, while a regular drill is closer to the range of 3,000 RPM. If you’re doing 20 or more logs, this is a great tool to use.

Growing mushrooms on logs: Creating holes and rows

Once you have your tools ready, you can begin prepping the logs with rows of inoculation points. We typically recommend using an entire log so you can maximize your yield. We create a row of holes on the log with each hole 6” apart. There should be 2” between each row.

We do this because of the direction the cell walls run in the log. Using this  method the mycelium will be able to easily run throughout the log without having to fight through the cell walls.

Filling and sealing the holes 

Once the holes are drilled, we prepare the spawn by breaking it up into tiny pieces. An amazing thing about mycelium is that we can break it up into such tiny pieces, as you can see in the video, and those tiny pieces will all still lead to growth.

We then fill the palm inoculator with the inoculated substrate by striking the material three times with the tip. This will make a dowel-shaped mass of substrate. It can then be put into a hole in the log by hitting the back of the palm inoculator. You continue this process over and over until each hole is filled.

Once all of the holes in the logs are filled with mycelium, we use cheese wax to cover each hole. Begin by melting your wax. A crockpot or a metal pot will do. Once the wax is melted, use a brush to appeal wax over each hole. Putting wax on the hole does two things; 1. It keeps moisture inside the log, and 2. It helps keep other forms of fungi out. These holes are access point where other spores could enter, so closing it off will help keep the mycelium we inoculated the log with safe. 

Then put your logs in the proper location and wait for the mycelium to take hold! Remember, using an ideal environment for inoculation is important if you want the mycelium to colonize the logs more easily. Below is a look at the best process for managing your mushroom logs now that they have been drilled, filled with plug spawn, and left to inoculate.

The ideal environment for cultivating mushrooms on logs

Moisture is critical to growing mushrooms properly. The moisture content of logs should be maintained around 45%. Mycelium can grow anywhere between 20-50%, but outside of that range, the mycelium will be suffocated by water or killed through drought. The most important time to maintain proper moisture content is during the first year spawn run. When growing outside, if rainfall does not occur every 2 weeks, then you will need to water your logs. You can do this by placing a sprinkler on them for 4-8 hours or by soaking them for 2-5 hours. This will bring the moisture content back up and keep the logs happy for another month.

Do you want to start growing mushrooms? Check out the variety of spawn we have, and our mushroom growing kits!

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