How to Grow Mushrooms in Virginia

Overview

Virginia is known for its extensive collection of edible (and not so edible) wild mushrooms. With their seasonal climate, mushroom lovers can grow a wide variety of fungi at home using tree logs. Fruiting of fungi will occur after the mycelium has fully colonized each log and the amount of time to harvest is different depending on the species of fungi. As holes in logs must be fitted to the spawning tools provided by the spawn supplier, wait to prepare your growing site until receiving your mushroom spawning kit.

Step 1

Cut logs in late winter or early spring. Logs should be about 4 feet long from healthy trees 3 to 8 inches in diameter. Virginian oak, maple and sweetgum trees work well for most type of mushrooms and are available locally.

Step 2

Drill holes at the depth and diameter specified by the spawn supplier. Holes should be drilled 6 inches apart into rows along the length of the log. Each row should be spaced 2-4 inches apart. For optimum growth, stagger holes in a diamond pattern, which encourages faster colonization of the log.

Step 3

Immediately insert the spawn into the drilled holes and cover with hot wax or foam plugs. This prevents other fungi from colonizing the log and keeps the spawn alive.

Step 4

Place the logs in a warm environment between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit and out of direct sunlight. Be sure the logs receive adequate air circulation without being vulnerable to high winds. After inoculation, it will take 6-18 months for the spawn to spread throughout the log and produce mushrooms.

Step 5

Monitor the moisture content of your logs. Though most mushrooms varieties require different amounts of moisture content, none can survive in dry logs. Keep water on hand and add moisture during periods of low rainfall

Tips and Warnings

  • Monitor your mushrooms for pests such as slugs and sprinkle with wood ash to deter them.

Things You'll Need

  • Logs
  • Drill
  • Spawning kit
  • Water
  • Wax

References

  • Foothill Fungus Farmer: Mushroom Cultivation
  • NC State University: Producing Shitake Mushrooms
Keywords: grow mushrooms, log mushrooms, virginia

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.