The sugars in a tree are important for mushroom growth, so harvest a log for your shiitakes in late winter or early spring, before the buds break.
Choose a healthy log—I recommend oak or maple—3 to 4 feet long, 4 inches in diameter.
Buy shiitake spawn only from a reputable company.
Drill four rows of holes on your log with a drill bit, fill them with spawn, then cover them with food-grade wax. Place your log in a shaded area and let it sit for a year.
Next April or early May, soak your log in a tub of potable water for 24 hours to induce fruiting. Lean it upright, and if all’s gone well, you should soon get one shiitake per hole.
Associate professor John Pecchia ’00 PhD Agr is the director of the Mushroom Spawn Lab and manager of the Mushroom Research Center.