It is well known that growing your own mushrooms is not that difficult if you set yourself up for success.
1. Plan to inoculate logs and make sure you have what you need ahead of time.
2. Make sure you are working with good plug spawn from fresh cultures. (Did you know some suppliers store their plugs 6 months to 1 year before they are sold?) We have tried both plug spawn and sawdust spawn and we prefer plugs. Bugs and birds really like the sawdust. Reach out to the seller and don't shop blindly. Good businesses want to talk to the customers.
3. Make sure you harvest healthy trees that are 3 to 8 inches in diameter. We prefer 4 to 6 inches because they are easy to handle. Over 8 inches and the colonization time is extended greatly, other methods such a totems or v-notch work better. Tree should be harvested when dormant so the stored sugar levels are high.
4. Tree should be fresh cut within the month you plan to inoculate. We have cut and plugged same day an waited a month. The yield difference is not noticeable, but the colonization time might be longer than expected on older cut logs due to competing fungi.
5. Match the tree species with the mushrooms that works best. We prefer oak and maple for most plugs, do you research for your area.
6. Only wax plug sites, do not wax the end of the logs as that greatly reduces the logs ability to draw moisture in the log. Use the wax you have available; bees wax can get brittle can crumble, we have the most luck with cheese wax and paraffin pillar candle wax. You are wanting a wax that has a high melting point. The goal is to keep the wax on the logs for the first year during colonization.
7. Once the log is plugged and waxed, store the logs off the ground during colonization. A pallet works well. Also remember that the winter winds and lack of leaves can dry your logs out so make sure the logs still have 80% shade in the winter and protection from the wind.
We wish you the most success with your log growing adventure!