Shiitake logs generally grow (or fruit) mushrooms from May through October.
The log should fruit for two to four years.
Where to keep your log kit
Outdoors – we recommend that you keep your log kit outdoors in the summer.
A shady spot – at least 80% shade.
Somewhat protected from wind, but with a little room around it.
Stand it up with a log end down. If the ground is often wet, place brick underneath.
Place your log in an unheated garage or shed when temperatures start to fall below freezing.
There’s no need to cover your log.
Bring it outside again when temperatures rise again above freezing.
Watering your log kit
Watering isn’t necessary. Log will fruit mushrooms spontaneously, a few at a time, especially in the spring and fall.
Still, log kits are much more productive if you force-fruit or shock them. Here’s how:
Fully immerse your log in cold water in bucket for 24 hours.
Remove log from bucket, place in shady spot outdoors, and gently pour soaking water on the ground underneath the log.
Place large paper bag loosely over log kit for two to four days, or until new mushrooms are the size of a large raspberry.
Water ground daily for best results.
You can force-fruit twice per summer – once in early summer (eg. July) – and late summer (eg. September) with two months in-between.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this mushroom log kit ready for fruiting?
Yes, it has started to grow mushrooms, and should continue to do so for a few years in summer months if it has gotten sufficient watering.
Can I keep the log in my basement?
I don’t recommend it; mushroom logs perform better outside.
Do mushrooms fruit in the winter?
No, shiitake will not fruit in cold temperatures, or temperatures below 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Will squirrels, deer, or rabbits eat the mushrooms?
Yes, they will; I recommend placing a wire mesh cage around your log.
Do bugs or slugs like mushrooms?
Yes, they do; you may want to remove or kill slugs.
My log smells moldy, or it has white or blue/green stuff growing on it. Should I do something about it?
Yes, you should put it in a more open place – so that the log gets a chance to dry off – inhibiting mold. If the white stuff is close to the ground and smells mushroomy, it’s probably mushroom mycelium!
When should I harvest shiitake mushrooms?
You should harvest the mushrooms when they are still roundish – before they have flattened out, but you may want to wait until you can see the gills showing on the underside of the cap.
How do I know that the mushrooms growing on the log are shiitake?
The white gills on the under side of the cap shouldn’t be continuous, but eroded or rough-edged (see photo). Compare with some store-bought shiitake. If you still aren’t sure, ask an experienced shiitake grower or mycologist for help.