Shiitake Batch 1: Reflections (Timing, Process, General Notes)

A farming friend asked me how long I waited before shocking my logs, as they just inoculated some this spring/summer and were considering shocking theirs. My reply was as follows, which includes general notes and reflections on the process. I share this here for reference (with minor redaction) in case anyone (myself included) takes a look at how this shiitake batch went.

I waited much longer than needed. This batch was inoculated in Feb/March 2017, so it’s been about 1.5yrs. I knew these were ready because shiitakes started sprouting up on their own.

I could’ve shocked these logs sooner but I wasn’t in a rush and didn’t have a) the logs on site, as they were stored at a nearby farm, and b) a water tank large enough to shock them in. I’d been trying to find a used water tank for a while but when the mushrooms were emerging I went and bought a new 100 gal Rubbermaid stock tank from Tractor Supply.

A sign most growers go by is the mycelium growth on the log ends. Of my logs that were fruiting, only about half of them had that growth, but they’re all fruiting to varying extents, so that growth is not a necessary condition. I notice more of that growth on logs that had their ends waxed.

On the note of moisture management: in my spring 2017 logs, I kept some with me locally and most at a farm ~25min drive. The logs at the farm are what’s fruiting, and they don’t appear cracked or dry at all, as they sat in shade under evergreen canopy. The logs with me were moved around and never had great evergreen canopy, and as a result their bark is dry and still have produced no fruit (though I haven’t tried shocking them yet).

If you’re not in a hurry for results, I’d hold off soaking them until early Summer 2019, and you should be able to get 2 or 3 good flushes out of them then. You could try shocking a small test batch this fall to see what happens. If you do, you may want to mark them somehow to remember which logs went through what.

Lastly, in terms of when you shock them, the type of strain might matter a little: If I recall correctly (or find my notes on it…) this batch of mine are all WR46.

What do you think?