What should I do? Instructions and operation
Step 1: Immersion
We must take the log out of the box as soon as possible.
There is no time to lose, then completely submerge the trunk for 24 hours (maximum 48 hours) in a bathtub, basin or similar. It is better if it is non-chlorinated water, if it is tap water we can leave it to stand for 12 hours so that the chlorine evaporates.
Step 2: Production
- After 24 hours, remove the trunk from the water and place it vertically on a saucer with about 2cm of water, and cover it on top with the plastic bag that you will find in the box, which will help to keep the trunk moist.
- After 3 days remove the bag.
- During the production phase, it is best to keep the trunk indoors (this prevents the mushrooms from getting wet or being eaten by insects), in a cool, shady place with natural light.
Step 3: Harvesting
- After a few days (3-4 in summer and up to 2 weeks in autumn) the mushrooms will start to appear, breaking the bark. It will take several days for them to reach the optimum size for harvesting, when they will open up and take on a “lentil” shape; we will not wait for them to open up completely and take on a flat shape with slight undulations. At that moment we must harvest them by cutting the stems flush with the trunk and they are ready to be cooked (there is no need to wash them before cooking).
Step 4: Rest
- Once all the mushrooms have been cut, the trunk should be left to rest for about two months, also in a cool, shady place with natural light. This resting period can be indoors, in which case it should be permanently upright on the saucer with 2cm of water (avoid placing it near a radiator, or exposed to the sun). The trunk can also spend the resting period outside, in which case it should be placed lying down in the garden or in a cool area, preferably surrounded by vegetation, so that it can be rained on but at no time should it be exposed to the sun or draughts.
- During the resting period we should water the trunk from time to time (without pressure), especially if we see that the wood is beginning to crack at the end. In drier climates, water more regularly.
- After 2 months, or two and a half months since the rest period has started, the trunk will be dipped again and the process starts again (after a few days we will pick the mushrooms and then we will leave it for 2 months again). During 3-4 months in winter we will not submerge the trunk, so it will recover its strength to give good blooms in spring. In this way you can obtain 3-4 blooms of mushrooms a year.
A few tips:
- We have introduced the mycelium of the shiitake mushroom into our native oak trunks through holes in their perimeter (which we subsequently sealed with natural wax) a year ago. These are whitish filaments or rootlets that have been feeding on the wood of the trunk until they have matured sufficiently to start producing mushrooms. We must take care of this mycelium, which will remain inside the trunk, as it is a living thing that needs permanent humidity and favourable conditions for its survival.
- If the first time we submerge the trunk it does not give us mushrooms, there is no need to worry, it is possible that it is a little short of completing the maturation period, we keep it in the resting conditions and we will submerge it again after a month. In the first year the trunk will give us fewer mushrooms, the quantity will increase in the second and third years.
- Sometimes, if the trunk is too wet, the cut surface of the trunk may turn greenish. In this case, the trunk should be ventilated, the watering should be stopped and the water dish should be removed for a while. Once the greenish hue disappears, replace the water dish and reduce watering.
If you have any doubts, consult the frequently asked questions page.