Log Inoculation Using Grow Kits
This method is the way I was taught and I have tried both ways using dowel plugs or substrate bags. I prefer the substrate method as you get more out of a bag, more bang for your buck than you do with dowels. You can use hardwood such as maple, ash, birch and oak. The logs/bolts should be no older than 6-8 weeks after felling. The diameter of log you use will determine how long you will wait until seeing mushrooms, for example a 6″ diameter log will take approximately 2-3 years.
This is a maple log that is 4 feet in length, holes are 1/2″ diameter and 1″ deep, just enough to fit my finger in to push down the substrate. Drill holes all around log and space 6″ apart, the more holes you have the quicker the mycelium will colonize the log. To hold the logs in place I used two pieces of flat wood screwed down on either side of the table to save my back and hold the log in place.
Using a dowel that is the same size as the holes, I hammered the dowel to push the substrate to the bottom of the hole until flush with the log. You can use oysters, nameko, shiitake or lions mane grow kits.
I am using a non stick pesto pot to melt the wax and an old small paint brush as the dabber. Dab brush in the wax and seal the holes. Do not wax the ends of the logs as the wood needs to breathe as the mycelium colonizes.
Another method I have used is cutting small pieces of dowel and then hammering in to hold the substrate in place. I have seen others use duct tape around the log, I’ve tried it and it didn’t work well. Some people don’t even seal their logs so I will leave that up to you to decide.
Stack logs in a pile in the shade and keep moist during the Spring, Summer and Fall. Keep logs off the ground as you don’t want another mycelium to take hold of the logs. You can use a shade cloth on top of the pile to help keep in moisture and shaded. I mark the ends of the logs with species and date using a large black marker. It does start to wear off over the years so I am now using a metal tag on the ends.
Once you feel the logs are ready to fruit they usually need to be soaked to induce pin set. Fully submerge logs in water for 24-36 hours and rest up right as in picture shown.