Shiitake is the most cultivated and (according to residents of China and Japan) the most delicious mushroom in the world. And also healing! In nature, it grows in Southeast Asia, but it has long been grown in crops throughout the world. Why not try growing it at home?
And indeed, shiitake is a complete protein product with a rich set of amino acids, beneficial trace elements and biologically active substances. The taste of this delicacy is compared to something average between the taste of white fungus and champignon. Shiitake is a part of many delicious dishes - both with heat treatment and without it.
For the cultivation of shiitake at home you do not need specialized rooms with difficult climatic settings and plenty of time for the care of mushrooms. Everything is much easier, believe me. We tell.
Cooking mycelium and substrate
Planting material for growing shiitake is a sterile mycelium, which can be purchased in specialized stores or at work. High-quality mycelium - a good harvest, so buy it only from a trusted manufacturer. In such cases, there are even complete kits for growing shiitake, which include, in addition to the mycelium, a prepared substrate, bioadditives to accelerate growth, and even thermohygrometers for measuring temperature and humidity.
But it is possible to grow shiitake at home or in the country independently, without purchasing the whole set.
It is possible to grow shiitake either on wood logs or on wood chips about 3 mm in size (shredded branches and bark), molded into substrate blocks. The main condition is that the wood is from hardwood trees, because coniferous wood contains resins and phenolic substances that inhibit the growth of mycelium of the fungus. It is believed that for the growth of shiitake most preferred solid wood beech, oak, alder, hornbeam and walnut. However, in principle, you can use any wood.
There are technologies for growing shiitake not only on sawdust and woodchips, but also on other loose vegetable substrates - on straw pit, buckwheat husks, sunflower husks, etc.
Since it is impossible to achieve complete sterility at home, the substrate should in any case be as clean and freshly prepared as possible so that it does not have time to get infected with spores of pathogenic fungi and bacteria.
If you use shredded vegetable residues, you must conduct a pasteurization procedure. Plant residues should be poured with hot water, left for 8-12 hours, then laid out on the grid to partially dry and remove excess moisture.
If you grow shiitake in wood chocks (preferably freshly sawn and without damage to the bark, if not - not over dried, thoroughly cleaned of moss and lichen residues), about a week before planting they should be soaked in water (preferably replacing it from time to time for hot).
Growing shiitake on logs and stumps
This method of growing shiitake is traditional and is called extensive. He seems to "duplicate" the natural way of growing the fungus on solid wood, is quite simple and does not require the expenditure of a large number of forces and means. Once sowing mycelium, the crop can be harvested seasonally, for 4-6 years.
The trunk of the tree (preferably cut down after the fall of the foliage and before the start of sap flow) is cut into chocks about a meter and a half and a thickness of at least 15-20 cm. Then in logs at a distance of about 20 cm from each other, holes of about 2 cm are drilled and a depth of 5 cm. Shortly before the introduction of the mycelium, chocks are additionally soaked in water as described above.
After the logs are saturated with moisture, the grain mycelium of shiitake is introduced into the holes. Top holes are capped with wood or wax plugs (paraffin) to prevent possible contamination of the mycelium with bacteria or mold.
Wooden chocks sown with mycelium are installed (stacked in piles) in humid but well-ventilated rooms or in shady places under trees or shrubs in the open air and periodically watered.
The incubation period (colonization of wood by mycelium) lasts from 6 to 12 months - the duration of the stage depends on the amount of seed, environmental conditions and the selected shiitake strain. In the initial period, the illuminance is not important, the optimum temperature should be 15-26 ° C and humidity - within 80-90%. If the logs are located on the street, for the winter they are carefully covered with straw or transferred to the basement.
After a period of overgrowing by the mycelium (its completion can be judged by the appearance of white zones of the shiitake mycelium on the cross section), it is necessary to induce (stimulate) fruit formation.
In nature, in the homeland of the fungus, this process is triggered by seasonal rains, creating the necessary moisture in the wood. You just have to soak the chocks with sprouted mycelium in cold water for 2-3 days, and then install them vertically in a warm shady place, protected from drafts, and wrap with air-tight material for some time to stabilize humidity and temperature. After 7-12 days, the first fruiting bodies should appear on the surface of the chocks.
The massive growth of fungi begins when the average daytime temperature is about 20 ° C and continues in the open air until about October - at least you will receive two waves of fruiting.
If the cultivation process is organized indoors, then fruiting shiitake is possible all year round. It is necessary only after each wave of fruiting to soak the logs again and give rest to the mycelium.
Growing shiitake on sawdust
This method of growing shiitake is called intense. It is more fruitful and “speedy” than the past, but it will require a little more effort from you than the above described option. In this case, the fruiting of the fungus can also occur year-round in the basement or greenhouse - just create the necessary conditions for it.
First you need to prepare the substrate by the method described above. Before sterilization, sawdust (chips, husks, etc.) should be supplemented with grain and bran of cereals (wheat, barley, rice, millet), flour from leguminous seeds or other sources of organic nitrogen and carbohydrates in order to increase nutritional value. 30% of the total substrate. To improve the structure and acidity, you can also add a little dry chalk or gypsum to the substrate.
After sterilizing treatment and cooling of the substrate to a temperature not exceeding 22 ° C, mycelium is carefully placed on it in pieces 1 cm in size, so that it is not less than 5% of the total volume.
Sowed wet substrate is placed in plastic bags, in the walls of which pre-cuts are made 3-4 cm long. For about a month, the substrate mass should be overgrown with mycelium - for this, as in the previous case, there is no need for light, but the temperature should be in the range of 15-26 ° C.
After this, the substrate block must be removed from the container again and soaked in water for 2-3 days - as you already know, this mushroom requires “bathing”, which simulates the beginning of the rainy season, to start fruiting. After that, the substrate is again hidden in perforated plastic bags and placed in a room with moderate lighting and ventilation (humidity 85-95%, temperature about 20 ° C).
After 7-12 days, the first fruiting bodies should appear, then the fruiting will go in waves with small intervals approximately every month. For better growth of fruit bodies, mushrooms should be sprayed from time to time with water.
Now, armed with detailed knowledge, you can easily grow "Japanese mushroom" at home. You may also be interested in information on how you can grow an oyster mushroom at home.