Shiitake mini farm FAQ
The main stages of incubation
We generally send our shiitake farms at a very late stage of incubation (fully colonised), so they should be close to pinning/fruiting. But to get it to pin, you may need to follow these instructions, which simulate a late autumn storm. During warmer months you may need to do this occasionally to coax it along.
Creating the perfect autumn storm!
- Give the bag a firm but gentle slapping …a storm has blown the tree or branch down! Better to do this with the plastic on, or a bit more gentle with it off.
- Put it in the fridge for about 3 days to chill it down …Winter is coming
- Cut off the plastic bag giving it plenty of fresh air …they just love that autumn breeze
- Soak in cold water for a couple of hours …possibly a passing rainstorm
- Put it in a warmer spot and keep an eye on it ...ahhh a nice sunny autumn day, evaporating all that rain, …meaning much-needed humidity!
- Wait patiently, and when you see baby mushrooms forming, start misting like crazy.
What’s different about your shiitake-farms and others?
My shiitake farm is growing lumps, actually, it’s lumpy all over.
Why does it turn from white to brown?
Are these grown on logs?
Where’s a good place to put it?
My mushrooms caps are cracking!
After receiving the shiitake farm, How long will it take to fruit?
When should I pick?
What temperature does it need?
Some of my mushrooms are very small
What’s the reason for slapping the bag?
Why should I put it in the fridge?
Why and when should I soak it?
Oh no! I think I’ve dried it out?
Shiitake are very hardy, and it’s likely that it’s okay. Soak it in water to rehydrate. It may bounce back quickly or may be dormant for a while. Be patient.
Do I need to keep it in the dark?
These type of mushrooms grow in the deep shade of the forest, so inside room lighting is about right. It’s doesn’t need light to grow, so it’s equally ok in the dark. I prefer to give it a natural environment as possible, to stimulate the production of micronutrients.
Can I put it outside?
You can, but it’s likely that pests like fungus gnats will make a home of it and get to your mushrooms first. The larvae stage of the gnat lives inside the farm eating the mycelium and weakening it. They will eventually eat their way through the cap and fly away to lay more eggs. If you see little critters flying around your shiitake-farm, invest in some yellow sticky fly traps sold in garden centres.
How long will it last?
If you care for it, it should produce for over 6 months. If you are really good, closer to 12. However, it’s nature and there are a lot of variables that will affect its longevity. As it gets older it’s yield will decrease as nutrition is depleted. When you think it’s finally done, you can use it as mulch in the garden.