Growing Mushrooms in Your Own Backyard.

Oyster mushrooms are popular for their ease of growth, taste, variety of beautiful colours and wide range of fruiting temperatures. With so many varieties to choose from, you can’t go wrong, Oyster mushrooms offer a variety of colours and a broad fruiting season.

Inoculating and growing Oyster mushrooms on logs is very simple and straightforward. Maintaining your logs is a matter of moisture management and patience.

Growing Oyster Mushrooms Outdoors on Logs:
The Totem Method

  • Fresh cut logs, 9 – 14 inches in diameter x 36 inches long. Larger diameter logs tend to be unreasonably heavy, and smaller diameter logs are more prone to falling over.
  • Tree Species for Oysters: Poplar (Aspen), Willow, other “soft” hardwoods Species. We have found Poplar works best.
  • Paper lawn debris bags to cover totems, and a few pieces of scrap cardboard.
  • 3-inch deck screws
  • Drill with, with a screwdriver bit.
  • Saw
  • Sawbuck
  • Twine, or large rubber bands.
  • Sawdust spawn. (Sawdust spawn is less likely to attract rodents.)
  • Cup or container to dispense spawn uniformly
  • A Rake for site preparation.
  • Work gloves.

Your first step is to make sure you have good quality logs. You want to make sure your mushrooms have the best food to grow on. This will increase your yield and the number of flushes your logs will produce.

Cut the logs:
pick your logs
  • Healthy, living trees should be cut during the dormant season (late fall and winter).
  • Do not inoculate fresh-cut trees. Wait a minimum of two (2) weeks before inoculating. This allows time for the tree’s defence system to die back.
  • Protect the logs from drying out, keep them out of the sun and wind, low to the ground, on a pallet or skid is ideal and where they can receive natural rainfall.
  • Logs can be stored until inoculation, this can be longer than two (2) weeks if you store your logs beyond 6 weeks there is increased risk of contamination and loss of vital log moisture.
Log Preparation for the Totem method
slice cookies
  • Cut your logs into 36 inch (3 foot) lengths. Use a sawbuck to hold your log while you cut.
  • Cut a 3 – 4 inch cookie off both ends of your log. Do not get them mixed up. These two pieces will be re-attached, sandwiching your mushroom spawn.
Totem Inoculation Method
  • Place one cup of sawdust spawn on the bottom wood slice. Set the log squarely on top and using 3-inch deck screws facen the sliced cookie back on the log, creating a sandwich. Next, sprinkle enough spawn on top of the log to cover it ¼˝ deep. Place the other sliced cookie on top of the log to create another sandwich and screw together.
  • Place your log in an upright position in a shady area. Evergreens offer the best protection for your logs. You may need to rake the area flat and clear of debris so your logs do not fall over.
  • Cover your log with a paper lawn debris bag and secure it onto the log (large rubber bands or twine work well for this). Now you wait for 4-6 months.
  • Once the incubation phase is complete remove the logs from the bag. Watch your logs closely after several months of incubation. Oyster mushrooms fruit spontaneously and quickly and you do not want to miss them. Weather changes such as thunderstorms or changes in temperature trigger the mushroom fruiting process. Each of the oyster varieties differ in fruiting temperature. Consult the oyster chart for more information on when to expect your oyster to fruit.