Mushrooms are an interesting beast. The fruit of the mushroom is eaten, but actually the majority of the mushroom mass is in mycelium (the mushrooms version of roots). Mushrooms only fruit in order to produce spores (the mushrooms version of seeds).
I have never had the opportunity to watch a mushroom develop. Now that we have shitake logs started it is fascinating to see how mushrooms really work. We innoculated the logs back in January. We used plug spawn. This is simply a small piece of a dowel rod with mushroom mycelium growing on it. This is inserted into a hole drilled into the log and then this is covered in cheese wax to prevent dehydration. We have been soaking the logs every two weeks on the nose in order to keep the moisture content between 30 and 60%.
Each time I walk down the hill to soak I notice more mycelium filling the log. Eventually the entire end of the log will turn white with mycelium. I figure we have another couple of months before the log is completely colonized with shitake mycelium........at this point it is fruiting time.
Hopefully with the 4 different strains of shitake we have in we will be able to fruit this fall and then again in the spring.
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )