Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) colonised dowels
Shiitake mushrooms foraged in forests from fallen logs have been the most popular mushroom in Asia for centuries. In the last century, techniques have been developed to cultivate them intentionally, with commercial production at last becoming feasible.
Shiitake are cultivated outdoors on hardwood logs (totems) as a growing medium, or indoors on enriched sawdust substrate. Two viable methods are in wide use today, small-scale “natural” log cultivation or artificially in supplemented sawdust bag cultivation, used mostly by large-scale commercial operations.
Natural log cultivation is the oldest method and imitates nature closely. Low initial costs make it ideal for small scale growers, but the process is physically demanding. It requires “planting” hardwood logs felled in the dormant season… they can be logs or branches freshly-cut from healthy, living hardwood trees, often gathered from timber stand improvement cuts.
Shiitake WR (Wide Range) is a popular commercial strain that offers fast spawn run, heavy first flushes and quick log recovery after fruiting. A great strain for first time growers.