How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms in Sawdust

Written by wendy rose gould
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How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms in Sawdust
Shiitake mushrooms typically grow on logs. (shiitake on log image by Zlatko Ivancok from

The Shiitake mushroom is a type of fungus traditionally used in Chinese medicine. In addition to its medicinal purposes, Shiitakes are also a culinary treat and can be found in a variety of foods. When ingested, the mushroom has a number of positive side effects, including its ability to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels and accelerate metabolism. Although it's known for growing on logs, Shiitakes can also be cultivated in sawdust.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sawdust blocks/bag (pre-inoculated)
  • Plastic bag
  • Scissors
  • Cold water

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  1. 1

    Purchase sawdust blocks or sawdust in a bag that is pre-inoculated with Shiitake spores. You can find these at various mushroom supply stores, including and

  2. 2

    Place the sawdust into a sterile plastic bag. Tie it loosely to allow for air to enter and exit.

  3. 3

    Keep the bag in a humid, room-temperature environment until a white coating begins growing. This white coating serves as protection for the growing Shiitakes.

  4. 4

    Cut an additional slit in the bag to increase airflow after the white coating has formed and bumps (young Shiitakes) begin showing.

  5. 5

    Remove the plastic bag once a third of the white coating has turned into a brown colour. Keep the sawdust in its warm, humid environment. The process from white coating to brown coating takes anywhere from one to three months.

  6. 6

    Wait for two days and then shock your Shiitakes by immersing them in cold water for at least 48 hours. They should have access to daylight.

  7. 7

    Cut the mushrooms close to the surface after they've fruited (grown into mature mushrooms). Do not rip them out of the sawdust. The mushrooms should be ready for cutting one to two weeks after you've shocked them.

Tips and warnings

  • Sawdust blocks typically produce about seven flushes of Shiitake mushrooms (0.907kg.).

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