Today was dedicated to our shiitake mushrooms. Two weeks ago, we cut down a water oak and a red oak in preparation for today. Once we were ready for inoculation, the first thing to do was to cut the trees into pieces of a suitable size, just about 3.5 feet long. We ended up with this truckload of more than 44 feet of ready-to-inoculate logs.
Then, using an angle grinder with an adapter for high-speed drilling, we systematically drilled holes in each log in a 2 inch by 6 inch diamond pattern. Short wood plugs containing shiitake mushroom mycelium were inserted into each hole and hammered in until they were flush with or just below the surface of the log. Finally, each plug had to be covered with wax to prevent it from drying out.
We stacked the newly inoculated logs out in our “mushroom yard” where we’ll water them weekly as needed to keep the logs moist enough to foster the growth of the shiitake mycelium. Patience is a virtue in mushroom production, as it’s possible that we won’t harvest from these new logs until next year.
After consulting the weather forecast for the week ahead, we decided to put off planting our greenhouse-grown veggies for one more week. Even though much of what we were going to plant is pretty tolerant of cold weather, those plants have been very sheltered from the elements thus far. With two nights this coming week forecast to be in the low- to mid-30s, we felt like it would be better on the plants to keep them in the greenhouse through this cold snap, then get them out. We did plant a second round of potatoes, snow peas, and carrots, and the cold shouldn’t hurt them much, perhaps just slow their growth a little.