Below are some commonly asked questions and their answers:
What is the problem if the log doesn’t grow mushrooms?
In almost every case, the problem is caused by one of the following 3 conditions:
- Improper temperatures
- Not enough water
- Not enough shock (temperature difference) at fruiting time
Make sure to:
- Check for toxins in the air or water
- Keep the log at room temperature during resting
- Set the log outside in spring and fall for fruiting.
- Put it in the refrigerator or freezer for 8-12 hours during shocking.
- Gardeners – Give the log plenty of soaking time and leave it alone. Don’t mist it, except for pinning.
Also try increasing soaking time or soak more often. A brown paper bag over the log may help reduce light levels and maintain humidity.
How do I know that all the mushrooms are edible and there are no poisonous mushrooms growing on my log?
We inoculated your log all over with high-quality shiitake spawn, cultivated in a sterile environment by a professional mycologist. The log is full of spawn so that nothing else can easily grow inside. A healthy log has a strong immune system that fights off diseases and competing fungi. You may get a fungus on the bark, such as a brown or green fuzz or a hard, woody shelf mushroom, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get any fruiting mushrooms other than a healthful, flavorful shiitake. If you do, you will recognize it as non-shiitake. Remove the mushroom. DON’T EAT IT. Dab or spray rubbing alcohol on the place where it grew.
What if there is mold or some other fungus growing on my log?
Small shelf fungi are common. Apply rubbing alcohol to the wet or dry log, and then scrape off the invader gently. Don’t use bleach or fungicide.
White fuzzy fungus is shiitake mycelia. If it’s on the bark, it is caused by too much humidity, sometimes from being in the bag or box too long. Shiitake on the ends of the log means the log is ready to fruit. Shiitake may grow over the ends to seal the cuts. The mycelia will dry and can be peeled off, if desired. It will not interfere with fruiting.
Green mold: The log is too wet. Put alcohol on it and let it dry.
What if my log doesn’t fruit on schedule?
The age of your log, the type of wood, and your water, light, and temperature all affect your mushroom production.
Once your log has fruited, it HAS to continue to produce mushrooms when it has the proper moisture, temperature, and light. If you don’t get pinning and fruiting on schedule, start dropping the log on end or tapping with a hammer after soaking, and try it again every 2-3 weeks or so. Find a way to maintain cold temperatures during shocking. The two-month cycle is normal for most logs but, just like kids, some get their growth spurts earlier and some later.
After fruiting regularly for a year or so, your log may take a break. Keep it watered, put it outside in spring or fall, and your mushrooms will come back better than ever! Withholding water for 30 days may work, if the humidity is high (like in your bathroom).
What do I do with my log if I am going to be away for a period of time?
If you are going away, soak your log for 24-36 hours in room-temperature water before you go. If you will be gone longer than 30 days, have someone soak it 24-36 hours every month. Your log may not fruit on schedule, but it will begin fruiting again as you resume your maintenance soaks.