Made in the Shade

Do you have a stubborn shady area accumulating more household junk and windblown leaves than plants? Is a section of your property wooded? Hardwoods to be thinned?

Many of our repeat customers count on us to help thin their dense hardwood forest to revitalize the forest, provide firewood, and to grow premium log-grown shiitake mushrooms.

Consider your growing possibilities in forest farming:

  • mushroom logs
  • forest medicinals
  • forest edge species
  • maple sugaring
  • agroforestry
  • wild plants
  • habitat naturalization with native plants

We have quick access to shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and bear’s tooth comb spawn strains, inoculation tools, and the experience to efficiently set up and inoculate the logs on your woodlot, wood chip bed, or just grow your own indoors.

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Go to Mushroom Logs to try a ready-to-fruit log or indoor grow options.

As for the outdoors, while we use specialized tools to drill and insert using the more complex sawdust spawn method, you can easily inoculate logs using the totem method or wood chip bed. A brief description is below; consult additional resources for more information:

Totem Method

oyster mushroom spawn sandwich unwrappedIvan thinks ‘spawn sandwich’ better describes this method. This method mimics the plug spawn method in that a wound is created into the bark, the exposed surface packed with spawn, then finally sealed for a period of time to colonize the wood. Tools needed: chainsaw, black (garbage) bag and ties

  1. Source healthy hardwood tree species, ideally between 8″ and 16″ diameter. Maple, ironwood, beech, oak, and birch among others work for shiitake. Poplar and willow work for oyster.
  2. Using the chainsaw, cut 6″-12″+ thick cross-sections of the log. (smaller diameters are best reserved for sawdust spawn inoculation method)
  3. Starting with a firm base on the ground, open up the garbage bag and reassemble your log sections using a thin layer of spawn to sandwich any cuts made into the log. Therefore, the first layer of spawn will be on top of the empty garbage bag, followed by your first log section on top, a second layer of spawn, your second log section on top, followed by a third layer of spawn. Last layer of spawn in illustrated was tied together with a layer of newspaper ‘icing’ to hold the spawn together, or a thinner top layer of wood could be used. Use nails to secure the log sections together or lean the log against another tree or object if rebalancing needed.
  4. Loosely tie up your garbage bag spawn surprise for re-opening 3-4 months down the road.

Wood Chip Bed

This method is similar to creating a ‘lasagna’ garden. When you’re done, it makes perfect sense to put your job well done toward growing a garden. Your plants will benefit from symbiosis with elm oyster mycorrhizae (mushroom root). Works best for oyster and elm oyster in filtered sun to full shade. A bag of spawn is good for 25 square feet.

  1. Start with a base layer of cardboard (dig out the top sod layer optionally). Wet the cardboard.
  2. Mix in 4-6″ of hardwood chips (straw may also work for oyster) with spawn. Wood chips are best aged for a month to kill off any anti-fungal compounds in the wood. If the hardwood chips are less than fresh, soaking the chips in water for a few days will help minimize competing fungi. The fungi will colonize both the wood/straw and cardboard.
  3. Top-dress with another layer of cardboard, additional layer of wood chips, or straw. This top layer is a sort of sacrificial layer which is more prone to contamination and drying out. Moisten the garden bed as needed.