Did you know that the process of shiitake mushroom fungus spawning to create mushrooms is called fruiting? On the other hand, the art of creating conditions conducive to fruiting is known as force fruiting.
Soaking your mushroom logs is one of the key methods to force your shiitake mushrooms fungus to ‘fruit.’ However, the process entails more than just soaking your log in water.
Is Soaking My Mushroom Logs Necessary?
Force fruiting is mostly done when handling new logs. Once they are well established and have already produced mushrooms, they can fruit without adding moisture. At this point, force fruiting is optional.
If your logs are freshly cut, you do not need to soak them as they still have moisture. Also, soaking your logs in water is unnecessary if you get consistent rainfall.
The whole point behind soaking your logs is to provide sufficient moisture to keep them wet until your shiitake mushroom spawn starts producing mushrooms. It would be best to soak your log at least once a week during no-rain seasons.
How to water your logs during low rain periods
To prepare your logs for fruiting;
- Water your logs once a week over the dry season (such as an extremely hot summer) for 3-4 months.
- Once the logs are sufficiently dampened, reduce the watering to every other week.
- After six months have lapsed, place your log into the ground so they can get moisture directly from the soil.
- For maximum moisture absorption, bury a few inches of the log beneath ground level.
- The log should be able to stay for prolonged periods without watering unless it gets extremely dry.
- Remember to put your logs in a shaded area, as your mushrooms will spawn in 6-12 months after the temperature drops to 55-700 F.
How to water your logs after harvest
Once your logs have fruited and produced mushrooms, you can force fruit them by doing the following;
- Soak your log in cold non-chlorinated water for at least 12 hours.
- If you have to use chlorinated tap water, let the water sit for at least 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.
- DO not exceed 24 hours, as this will get the log waterlogged.
- Then place it back in its spot and wait for it to fruit which typically happens after a week.
- It is best to let the log sit for two months before force-fruiting it again.
How to Force fruit logs
This method is mostly used by commercial mushroom growers looking to schedule their shiitake mushroom production. This shocking method is carried out after the first initial fruiting has occurred naturally in early summer or late spring.
- Soak your logs in 200F cold water for 12-24 hours. The cold temperature simulates nightfall, which is when shiitake mushrooms start the fruiting process.
- Some mushroom farmers even store the logs in a refrigerator overnight to shock them. Storing them in a cold room will also produce similar results.
- Then return them to their fruiting location and cover them in a blanket.
- Repeat the process every two months during the growing season.
- Uncover the logs during the recovery window to allow the logs to develop mycelial growth.
- Ensure the log moisture content remains at 30-40% during recovery.