I tried inoculating some logs from the garden with mushroom spores. I had some month-old beechwood logs here from the last annual spring tree cleanup which were fresh, solid and wet enough for the task. Furthermore, I stumbled upon some reduced Oyster Mushroom (pleurotus ostreatus) mycelium dowels from the garden center. I don’t know if they’re still capable of reproduction since they’re a little over their expiration date but they seemed lively and fresh enough, so I tried them out.
Oyster mushrooms can be grown well on beechwood. They need rather cool temperatures of about 12-18 °C (~ 45-65 °F) and a shady, humid spot to colonize their substrate, which ideally takes 6 – 8 weeks but can also take up to three months (and even more – don’t give up too early note), depending on the liveliness of the spawn and the suitability of the surroundings.
- Some hardwood logs (in my case beechwood, obviously), about 50 – 75 cm in length and about 10 – 15 cm in diameter
- Wood drill, 9mm dia. and hammer
- Some candle wax
Water the logs for 12 – 24 hours in cold, fresh, unchlorinated tap water if necessary and keep them submerged for the time (since mine were still pretty fresh, I only did 12 hours). Then let them air dry for another 12 hours before proceeding. Since my logs didn’t fit into my small growing tent I cut them in half, obtaining four equally-sized pieces.
Distribute the mycelium dowels equally to your logs: Soak them in cold, clear water for about one hour, while in the meantime drilling holes into the wood. My plugs were 8 mm, so I drilled 9 mm holes, 5 to each log and as deep as the dowels are. Then, with clean (!) hands insert the plugs, trying to get as much mycelium into the wood as possible and giving them some light taps with the hammer if necessary.
Finally, seal each of the plugs with a dab of molten candle wax. Done. I placed my logs into trays with a little soil in them and put these in my small growing tent on the shady north side of the house.
Now it’s all about an occasional check if they’re not dry and adding some moisture if necessary, and well, patience.