HeavyPetal has a quick HOWTO on plugging shiitake logs. Her version includes the cheese wax step, with picture, which I didn’t bother with, so I highly recommend checking her post out. My guide to plugging a shiitake log is, of course, here.
Last year, I had to have a dying hickory in my yard cut down. While I paid to have most of the trunk hauled off, I still have a pile of the limb wood. I had decided a while back that I would plug these logs with shiitake spawn and make shiitake logs. Its best to do the plugging after the last hard frost, so I waited until yesterday to do the work.
I ordered my plug spawn from Fungi Perfecti, a neat company near Olympia, WA. They’ve got spawn for lots of different strains of mushrooms, but I love shiitakes and shiitakes love hardwoods. The spawn arrive in a little bag like the picture on the right. The spawn themselves are small dowels, about 1.5″ long, with a spiral groove cut into the side. You can clearly see the white mycelia from the shiitake in the groove. There is also some grain in the bag as well, which I surmise are how the dowels were inoculated.
I had ordered my spawn about a month ago, so by the time I pulled the bag out, there was plenty of mycelial growth in the bag, which you can see in the picture on the left as the white matting around the dowels. According to the instructions, this is normal and probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d used the spawn more quickly. Fortunately, no mushrooms had begun to bud, so I didn’t have to pull those off.