Growing mushrooms is a good idea for multiple reasons, and these reasons can be achieved in a few different ways. You can either grow it in your garden or yard, laboratory, or greenhouse, either on a small or large scale. It's a fungus that deserves the attention of more mycologists and growers. All that is required for its cultivation is a few less stressful procedures.
Growing mushrooms on logs and stumps at home require less stress and maintenance, which allows us to enjoy fresh mushrooms. You can grow mushrooms on logs and stumps with little space. However, hardwood, like the oak tree, is perfect for certain species of mushrooms, like the Reishi, Lion mane, Shiitake, and the Oyster mushrooms. Select your logs based on what type of hardwood is available on your land or in your area.
WHAT IS PLUG SPAWN?
Mushroom plug spawn is mushroom-inoculated hardwood dowels that have been colonized with mycelium. It is also called dowel spawn or mushroom plugs.
Mushrooms can be grown outside with the aid of the plug to inoculate hardwood logs and stumps.
Although mushroom plugs are typically used to grow Shiitake mushrooms on logs, they can also be used to successfully inoculate any hardwood-loving species, including Lion's Mane mushrooms, Reishi, and all varieties of Oysters.
WHY SHOULD WE USE MUSHROOM PLUGS?
There are several reasons you should consider using plugs in growing your mushroom. Below are a few reasons:
- They are both reliable and straightforward in growing mushrooms on the logs and stumps; well-constructed plugs give perfect cultivation of mushrooms.
- It's very effective for inoculating substrates made from wood or fibers. It readily colonizes cardboard, wood chips, paper, stumps, and logs.
- Logs can be inoculated in several ways for cultivating mushrooms. This can be done by sandwiching sawdust spawn into a carved log hole or stump with a chainsaw blade coated in "spore oil."
STEPS IN MAKING PLUGS FOR MUSHROOMS
Making your spawn is the best you can learn as a mushroom grower. Below are 4 do-it-yourself steps that will help get your plug spawn done in no time.
- SOAK THE PLUGS FOR 24 HOURS IN WATER.
Soak the plug spawn in clean water for 24 hours. Soaking it for a day allows it to absorb the moisture required for colonization.
- DRAIN AND STERILIZE
After the hydration, the next step is dehydration and sterilization. The plug spawn should be sufficiently dehydrated after a 24-hour soak. You are to drain the excess water from the jar and cover it with a breathable lid.
- PLUGS SHOULD BE INOCULATED
After draining and sterilizing the plug spawn, they can be inoculated with mushroom culture using either grain spawn, agar wedges, or liquid culture.
- COLONIZE, USE, OR STORE
Simply set the jar on a shelf away from direct sunlight once it has been inoculated. Mycelium will crawl across the plug spawn and be wholly colonized in 2 to 3 weeks (depending on the species).
If you are not ready to utilize the spawn as soon as they are colonized, you can store them in the fridge for many months as possible.
HOW TO MAKE A PLUG SPAWN
Making mushroom plug spawn at home is similar to producing first-generation grain spawns. The only difference is that you will use hardwood dowel spawn instead of sterilized grain.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO MAKE A PLUG SPAWN
- ⅜" INCH OF SPIRAL WOUND HARDWOOD DOWELS
You can quickly get your spiral wound hardwood dowels from any hardware store or craft shop. It can also be gotten on online mushroom equipment vendors or e-commerce websites like Amazon.
However, non-spiral wounds dowels can be used instead, but the mycelium fungus acts well on the spiral wound dowels.
- MASON JARS WITH CUSTOMISED LIDS
These are the same jars used to create first-generation grain spawn. The lid should be changed with a filter patch or wad of pillow stuffing to allow the mycelium to breathe.
- MUSHROOM CULTURE
Some types of mushroom culture are needed to inoculate the plug spawn. However, Oysters, Lion's Mane, Shiitake, and Reishi are suitable species.
- PRESSURE COOKER
Before inoculating with culture, a pressure cooker is needed to sterilize the plug spawn.
You can get away with boiling or soaking the plug spawn in hot water because they are pure hardwood. But if you have a pressure cooker, it's always preferable to be safe from infection and save more time and energy.
GROWING MUSHROOMS ON LOGS AND STUMPS USING PLUG SPAWN
Growing mushrooms on logs and stumps is a low-tech, low-maintenance, stress-free way to have mushrooms in your backyard for many years. Once you have plug spawn, log cultivation is quite simple. Below are things to put into consideration:
- CHOOSE YOUR WOOD
Choosing the correct wood is one of the best choices you can make as a grower. Hardwood is almost always best for many mushroom species. Wood logs can be taken from standing or newly fallen trees. It's critical to be picky when wood selection because it determines your outcome.
The wood should still be damp, and it should not have been down for so long that other microbes such as bacteria and molds won't colonize it. Even fungi can colonize it and produces unwanted mushrooms.
- DRILL THE HOLES
These holes have different dimensions in inches. It's 4" inch apart and 2" inch in between rows all down the logs with a 5/16 inch drill bit. The measurements do not have to be accurate for this operation, but they should be evenly distributed around the log.
- HAMMER IN THE PLUG SPAWN
This is by far the most enjoyable stage, at least until you get mushrooms from your logs.
You will gently place the mushroom plug spawn into each hole in the log and gently tap it into place with a hammer or mallet until it fits in a while and matches with the wood's surface.
- BEESWAX SHOULD BE USED
To seal the logs, melt a few bits of pure beeswax. This is necessary because wax can be very messy and difficult to clean; choosing a container that can be recycled at the end of this activity is preferable.
- STACK THE LOGS
Choose a suitable site for your newly inoculated logs. This is mainly dependent on the type of mushroom you're producing. Most mushrooms like dark conditions; however, others prefer dappled sunshine. Your log stack should be elevated above the ground to keep rot and insect infestations at bay.
For stacking your inoculate logs, you have two choices.
- The first option is to lean them against a horizontal structure, such as a fallen tree or sawhorse.
- The second option is to arrange the logs in a square or rectangle pattern, crisscrossing each log as you go.
- WATER AND WAIT
It is critical to keep the logs moist while waiting for the mushrooms to grow. The rain and/or snow will do most of the work for you.
However, if your area experiences a dry spell, it is a good idea to spray your logs with a hose, watery can, spray bottle, and also a knapsack sprayer can also help.
Without a doubt, the best way to grow mushrooms is to use fruiting logs and stumps. We have discussed some do-it-yourself, step-by-step procedures that must be considered to achieve success in growing mushrooms.
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