Hericium erinaceus grows primarily on hardwoods, though conifers can also be used with some success. Stumps or logs can be used for inoculation. The spawn plugs should be inserted into the open face of cut stumps.
This eminently edible mushroom species is ideal for inoculation into logs, stumps or partially buried, vertically-oriented logs; after incubating the logs may be partially buried, vertically-oriented, to conserve water during fruiting.
Hericium erinaceus is widely distributed on hardwoods—particularly oaks—across much of North America. These are beautiful mushrooms, with cascading white icicle-like spines, and are some of the best of the edible fungi.
Our Plug Spawn comes complete with our user-friendly, fully illustrated 10-page instruction booklet.
Fungi Perfecti offers plug spawn of a number of hardy gourmet and medicinal mushroom species: Reishi, The Oregon Polypore, Maitake, The Conifer Coral, Lion's Mane, Shiitake, Pearl and Phoenix Oyster, Chicken of the Woods and Turkey Tail.
These sterilized birch plugs are spirally grooved and fully colonized by pure mushroom mycelium, and are available in packages of approximately 100 or 300 dowels (our Shiitake Plug Spawn is also available in packages of approximately 1000 and 5000 dowels).
By using the dowels to inoculate cut hardwood logs or stumps, mushroom mycelium can be encouraged to grow throughout or colonize the wood. Once the wood is fully colonized (typically 9-12 months) mushrooms will spring forth from cracks or channels in the wood.
Generally, the best time of year to inoculate logs and stumps is in the Spring, after your last hard frost. However, you can inoculate your logs any time up to 2-3 weeks before consistently (i.e. 'round the clock) freezing temperatures set in for the Winter.
The idea is to allow the mushroom mycelium growing on the Plug Spawn time to establish itself in its new home before it goes into dormancy over the Winter. Logs can be left outdoors over the Winter, under a layer of straw or a burlap tarp, shade cloth or other vapor-permeable cover (do not use plastic tarps: this can cause mold to form). In areas where the Winter is exceptionally harsh, logs can be stored in a shed, barn, garage or other outbuilding.
Our Plug Spawn prefers to grow on hardwoods, with the exception of the Conifer Coral Mushroom, which grows on conifers, and the Phoenix Oyster, which grows well on firs.
Most species can be grown on either logs or stumps. Non-aromatic hardwoods such as oak, poplar (cottonwood), elm, maple and similar woods are very good candidates for log cultivation. Alder is a good wood for the cultivation of Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms, but must be kept above ground because it will decompose quickly in contact with the soil. (We do not recommend using aromatic woods such as cedar or eucalyptus.) Thick-barked woods are preferable over ''paper-bark'' woods such as birch, and any log that is shedding it's bark should not be used.
Logs should be cut one to three months in advance of plugging. Cutting your logs in the late Winter or early Spring helps to insure that they have a high sugar content, although this is not strictly necessary. Freshly-cut logs should not be immediately inoculated; trees naturally produce anti-fungal compounds, which degrade in two to three weeks from cutting. Aged deadwood is also not recommended for plugging, as it has a poor nutrient base for supporting mushroom growth. Logs or stumps with fine cracks (called ''checks'') running through them are more quickly colonized with mushroom mycelium than those without.
Logs should be cut to lengths of 3-4 feet, and are best if they do not exceed 14 inches in diameter. Use a 5/16'' drill bit in a high-speed drill to drill 2-inch deep holes no more than 4 inches apart, evenly spaced in a ''diamond'' pattern along the length and around the full circumference of the logs. Stumps should be inoculated along the circumference of their face, in the border between the bark and the heartwood.
Insert 1 plug per hole and whack it in with a hammer. A 3-4 foot log can take 50 or more plugs, while stumps usually hold 30-50 plugs The more plugs you use per log, the faster the wood will be colonized with mushroom mycelium. Holes can be sealed with cheese wax or beeswax to protect the mycelium from weather and insects while it is growing; although this step can be helpful, it is not absolutely necessary.
We guarantee our Gourmet and medicinal Mushroom Plug Spawn to be viable. (In fact, if left unattended on a shelf or in your refrigerator for too long, many of our Plug Spawn species will begin to produce mushrooms right out of the bag!) However, the total number of mushrooms you can expect to get via log and stump cultivation will vary from log to log, and from season to season.
Any outdoor mushroom cultivation project involves a number of variables; climate, species, sugar and moisture content of wood, consumption of mushrooms or mushroom mycelium by insects and other animals, quality of care and just plain old chance, to name a few. Due to the many and various contributing factors involved in this method of mushroom cultivation, Fungi Perfecti cannot accurately predict the amount of mushrooms your Plug Spawn will produce.
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Fungi Perfecti is dedicated to making the best medicinal mushroom products, and uses only the highest quality ingredients. All of our products are Certified Organic by the Washington State Organic Food Certification Program. They are free of pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They are also Kosher Certified. Cultivated and processed under environmentally controlled laboratory conditions, you can be assured that you are getting a bona-fide product of the highest quality.
''Fungi Perfecti, owned by mycologist and author Paul Stamets, is the best all-round source for medicinal mushroom products and information.'' - Dr. Andrew Weil.
Please refer to our Mycomedicinal Info page, in our Knowledge Center, for more specific information on medicinal mushrooms directly from Paul Stamets.