Sunday, October 18, 2009
I have been growing Shiitake mushrooms for close to 20 years. I was introduced to them by a friend who had seen a presentation on non-timber forest products. There were a lot of ideas floating around back then like ginseng cultivation, band saw mills, mushroom cultivation, Christmas tree growing and the like. We tried most of them and some of them took off
and were quite successful. I tried ginseng cultivation but the deer seemed to like them better than me.
Shiitake cultivation is relatively simple, uses readily available material, ( oak logs)
and continue to produce long after you inocculate the logs.
The basic process involves a few steps, harvesting the logs, inoculating the logs, letting the logs lay, and eventualy harvesting the mushrooms!
The links above take you to a series of videos showing the process of growing and harvesting your own mushrooms.
It is the final step that takes the most patience and the least physical effort.
From harvesting the logs to first harvesting the mushrooms will take at least 18 months.
I keep them in a shady forested spot this is my " laying yard"
However once the logs have been inoculated they will continue to produce two crops, spring and fall, for up to 10 years.
I hve been purchasing my spawn ( the source of the mushrooms) from the same people for the entire time. The results have been good without fail.
Their web site is http://www.gourmetmushrooms.ca
and the kits can be found here .
I prefer to saute the mushrooms in butter with finely chopped spring onion, orif I have too many at once I will dry them in the oven with the light on and rehydrate them later.
They are also excellent in mushroom soup or chicken soup with mushrooms that I am making right now.
What you can expect is a fleshy mushroom with a subtle garlicy after taste. The flavour is subtle and delicious, don't over season less is more.
I was able to harvest 3 pounds this first time for these logs.