Planting your own maitake mushrooms by using plugs makes it possible to enjoy the tasty little fungi. Once you plant your plugs in freshly cut hardwood logs, the first batch of mushrooms should be ready for harvest in about a year. If you plant the mushrooms in the spring, you may get your first crop in the fall.
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Things you need
- Hardwood logs
- Drill with bit
- Measuring tape
- Double boiler pot
- Poultry baster
Cut hardwood logs into sections about 2 to 3 feet long. Use logs that are from 4 to 8 inches in diameter. Logs that come from oaks, elms, maples, black gum, beech and honey locust work well.
Soak the logs in fresh water for 48 hours. Use a tub, or keep the logs under a slow soaking hose to get them thoroughly wet.
Drill 1-inch holes about 4 to 8 inches apart into the logs to ready them for the maitake plugs. Use a spiral pattern to drill the holes, starting along one end of your log and finishing at the other end. Each log should contain 20 to 30 holes.
Drop one maitake mushroom plug into each hole. Tap the plug into the hole with the punch so the plug sits about 1/4 inch below the surface.
Melt a block of wax in a double boiler. Once the wax melts, use a poultry baster to suck up some of the wax, then seal the plugged holes by adding some of the wax to each hole. The wax helps keep insects from invading the hole while keeping the plug from drying out.
Staple a tag to the top of your log to help identify when it was planted with the plugs and what type of mushrooms were plugged into the log.
Bury the logs just below the surface of the soil. Choose a shady area, and make sure to plant the logs so you can easily access the tags.
Keep the logs moist. Water the logs if the soil gets dry, and wait for your logs to produce their first mushrooms. The logs should produce mushrooms for years.
Tips and warnings
- Use freshly cut wood to increase your harvest of maitake mushrooms.
- Crockpots work well for melting wax.
- Cheese or candle wax can be used to plug the holes.
- If you bury your plugged logs in an area with lots of wild mushrooms, make sure you use the tags on your logs so you know what you're growing and what's edible.
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