Mushroom Mojo Plug Spawn FAQ:
Q - What are mushroom plug spawn?
A - Plug spawn are wooden dowels (about 1 inch long and just under 5/16th inch in diameter) that are inoculated with mushroom mycelium. When these dowels are inserted in a stump, log or dead tree, the mycelium will colonize the wood, which will begin to produce mushrooms.
Q - What is the difference between a mushroom kit and plug spawn?
A - A mushroom kit is a block of sawdust (or other substrate) that is already fully colonized and is ready to fruit (produce mushrooms) in a very short period of time, usually a matter of weeks. A kit can be made to produce mushrooms twice, sometimes three times. Plug spawn is an inoculated dowel designed to initiate the colonization process. A plug inserted in a dead tree, stump or log will to colonize the wood, a process that can take 9 to 12 months. A colonized stump or log will then begin to regularly produce mushrooms (once or twice a year), for many years.
Q - How do I use plug spawn?
A - You drill (5/16 inch bit)shallow holes (1.25 inch depth) in a stump, dead tree or log, and tap the dowel into the hole, then seal with wax. Dowels should be spaced about 4 or 5 inches apart in a grid covering the length and circumference of the wood.
Q - What tools will I need?
A - You'll need a 5/16th inch drill bit, a light mallet, a small supply of wax or paraffin, a way to melt the wax (hot plate, etc...) and a small brush to brush the wax over the hole to seal the dowel inside.
Q - What kinds of woods are best to colonize?
A - Hardwoods are best (oak, maple, beech, birch, poplar, etc). Avoid fruit woods, soft woods (cedar, pine, conifers) and living trees. Mushrooms grow best on recently dead wood. Colonizing stumps or logs that are rotting, soggy or generally more than two months dead may fail or produce poorly.
Q - When is the best time to colonize a stump or log?
A - The best time to colonize with plug spawn is when there won't be a frost or freeze for at least a month. In warmer climes, you might be able to colonize any time of the year. In colder areas, generally spring to fall. You want to have a log or stump colonized at least a month before a freeze to give the mycelium plenty of time to get established in the wood.
Q - What regular maintenance is needed for colonized stumps or logs?
A - Shady areas are best, and ideally avoid direct contact with the ground. For stumps and trees, avoid inserting dowels close to the ground, and for logs, get the logs off the ground by stacking on other logs. Colonized logs need regular moisture, so in a case where there isn't regular rain, be sure to hose down the wood at minimum every two weeks.
Q - How long will a colonized log or stump continue to produce?
A - The larger the log, the longer it will produce. Colonized wood will produce mushrooms once or twice a year for years. Smaller logs might produce for 3 or 4 years, where large logs and stumps could produce for a decade.
Q - How do I harvest mushrooms?
A - Just pull or break them off.
Check out more mushroom frequently asked questions here.