I ordered 300 shiitake mushroom spawn plugs from Fungi Perfect. I picked the shiitake mushrooms over some of the other types they offer because they were supposed to be one of the easiest to grow and because they grow well on oak logs, which is what I had available. I also ordered their handy plug spawn kit that comes with the correct size drill bit with stop, a rubber mallet, non-GMO soy wax and a brush. They also include a great instruction manual with your order.
They recommend using a tree that has been cut more than two weeks but less than six months and preferably cut while the tree is dormant, when the sap and moisture content are the highest. The logs should be about 3-4 feet long and 4-8 inches in diameter. My logs were quite bit wider than recommended but hopefully they will still work.
Here are the steps:
1) Use a stiff brush to brush any moss or dirt from the logs
2) Drill holes evenly spaced about 4 inches apart, in a diamond pattern all the way around the log- Or if you are like me, willy-nilly but somewhat evenly spaced around the log. I also took the liberty to put some plugs in the ends.
3) Pound a plug into each hole using the rubber mallet, until it is flush with the log
4) Melt wax and brush wax over each plug to seal in the moisture. Brush wax all over each end of the log and over any wounds or exposed areas.
5) Stack the prepared logs in a shaded area and off the ground to incubate for six to twelve months. The larger the log, the longer it will take for the mycelium to completely colonize it.
6) Water once or twice a week until the temperature drops to freezing.
7) When the ends show a mottling over 65% or more, they are colonized enough to fruit. You can start to force them to fruit by submerging them in non-chlorinated water for 24 hours or let them fruit on their own.
8) After soaking, you can partially bury one end of the logs in a large bucket or pot of sand.
9) Water daily to keep moist while the primordia (baby mushrooms) are forming.
10) Harvest and enjoy!