Growing edible mushrooms on logs is one of the most satisfying and sustainable means of growing mushrooms.
Traditionally, log inoculations are done in the late winter or early spring, though really any time throughout the year is fine besides the dead of winter or when leaves are leafing out.
The process is relatively simple- drill holes in a freshly cut hardwood log, fill the holes with sawdust or plug spawn and seal the holes with melted wax. The logs need to live outdoors someplace shady!
The wonderful thing about mushroom logs is that you will get multiple years worth of edible fungi without having to re-inoculate your logs. On average a mushroom log will produce for 1 year per inch of diameter of the log. Meaning if you inoculated a 5 inch diameter oak log with shiitake spawn, it will most likely produce for 5 years!
Mushroom log yields depend on the type of wood chosen and the species you are inoculating.
Check out the video above if you'd like to learn more about choosing a mushroom log and using sawdust spawn with our trio of log inoculation tools: our specialized 12mm mushroom drill bit, our inoculation tool, and our angle grinder adapter.
For an introductory experience, you may want to consider an Outdoor Log Kit. They come with everything necessary for inoculating 1-2 mushroom logs. Check out the video below for more information on them!
Mushroom log growing, specifically of shiitake, is hundreds of years old.
The earliest accounts of Chinese cultivation of shiitake in what is now Southern Japan, date back to the 1200s. First prototypes of farming involved dragging fallen boughs of a native evergreen tree related to oaks and beech trees, called a shii, that had been found with sprouting shiitake mushrooms into the courtyards of enterprising individuals.
The etymology of the word shiitake is a mixture of the word shii and a Japanese word for mushroom, take. The tree boughs would continue to produce the edible shiitake mushrooms over subsequent years. Over time the method evolved. Early shiitake farmers would take freshly cut logs of shii, purposefully damage the bark, and place them beside their wild forest collected shiitake logs. As the wild fruiting mushrooms dropped their spores onto the unadulterated logs beneath, they would sometimes begin to colonize the fresh wood and produce cultivated shiitake mushrooms.
Shiitake cultivation took a giant leap forward in the 1940s when a student at Kyoto University named Kisaku Mori produced the first batch of shiitake mushroom spawn by growing mycelium onto wood chips. When they were adequately colonized he injected the myceliated wood chips it into holes or notches in oak logs. The Mori Method moved away from working with spores to inserting already growing mycelium into fresh logs. This technological leap vastly improved the effectiveness of mushroom log cultivation and birthed a multi-billion dollar industry in Japan over the decades following.