Ricking

After the logs are inoculated, rick them on a wooden pallet, out of contact with the ground. The “spawn run” or incubation period, when the fungus is colonizing the entire log, can vary from half a year (fruiting in the fall) to a full year (fruiting the following year). During dry spells, put a sprinkler on the logs for half an hour or so, about as often as you would water your garden. Notice the trees in the background: The usual recommendation is to manage shiitake logs in “85% shade,” but you won’t need a light meter—just site them in the edge of some woods, or build a light frame with shade cover. And how do you judge incubation progress? Note the growth of white mycelium on the butts of several logs on the right. When that growth covers most of the end of the log in the cambrium and softwood layers, the fungus is well enough established for fruiting (inducing mushroom growth).

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