Mushroom Farming in Michigan
Current shiitake method

The above photo represents current shiitake cultivation with current methods of recipes, handling, browning, and fruiting.

Control 1

This block was identical except for the control which proved a theory concerning mushroom cultivation.

Numbers Matter

Quantity

Control 1

Shiitakes are known for extremely in-consistent harvests in numbers.  Over the past 2 years I have witnessed and cultivated standard methods which had no guarantee of numbers.

My on going studies on the new method have proven a successful harvest each and every time.

Commercial growers only use a ‘one flush’ method – this block harvested 10.2oz from a 16oz dry weight giving it a 63% biological efficiency on it’s first flush.  It’s second flush was able to reach the total to 83%.

Outdoor quality comes indoors

Quality

Measuring up.

Control 1 being put into bigger production block trials to test productivity and quality.  Blocks weight 3.75lbs dry weight(w/spawn)

Shiitakes have a multitude of ranges in size from small to large but I’ve focused on maintaining quality with quantity.

The mushrooms we’re roughy 3.5″ in diameter and wonderful ornamentation that gives it an outdoor quality appearance, and better yet – flavor.

Each time, Every time.

Consistency

Shiitakes showing signs of coordination and equal nutrient usage.

The testing has continued to prove consistent shiitakes that are the same size, shape, and coloration which provides all markets with amazing shiitakes.

This block was started 11.23.17 and harvested 1.21.18 – so far of the big blocks in trial it gave the best 1st flush yield of 46% BE and on going studies are about to reach over 50% in larger production block systems.

Timing is Everything

“Most methods of growing shiitake of sterilized sawdust require 70-90 days before primordia are visible, and usually only after the blocks have become brown in color” – Paul Stamets.  ‘Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms’ Third Edition.  Ten Speed Press. 2000.

Growth periods have a lot of factors.

With my method the current timing of a 3.75lb block(dry weight) is roughly the following stages.

  • 2 weeks for mycelial recovery and spawn run
  • 1-2 weeks for mycelial matting and bump formation
  • 2 weeks of browning initiation and completion
  • 1 week browning complete to cracking
  • Un-bagged/Shocked – 4-6 days for majority pin set
  • 3-4 days to final harvest

Timing has not been a focus yet but promising signs we can get Shiitake of this size under month in incubation stage.  The impact it would have would be one of the greatest because amount of space needed to incubate shiitake is considerable and the incubation room is the largest space in most grow operations due to it’s the longest stage of all and fruiting is usually under 7-10 days.

Shiitake mushrooms, Lentinula Edodes, are in the Basidiomycota family of fungi.  They are gilled mushrooms with white gills and white spores – can be grown indoors or outdoors on a hardwood medium.  They’ve been cultivated for years and are one of the tastiest mushrooms on the market.

Shiitakes are still in their infancy of cultivation in my eyes and there is still so much to improve upon.  Shiitake yields are not nearly as good as Oysters or similar mushrooms and many do not know why – but I’ve found a key recipe for my blocks that not only makes them tasty but productive.