These shiitake kits are sold and shipped at a point just before being ready to fruit (4-6 weeks).
Store them for 2 days so they recover from shipping, at 65 to 70F degrees.
If they are not yet pinning (small brown nubs), place the block in the refrigerator over night to cold shock it (don’t freeze).
At this point remove the plastic, place the block in a fruiting enclosure to maintain humidity at 80-95%.
The fruiting enclosure can be either a clear plastic tote, or clear trash bag, don’t let the trash bag touch the block.
Use a spray bottle with either well or spring water (city tap water is treated and may damage the mycelium), spray mist the
block at least once a day, also mist the inside of the trash bag or tote, which will help keep the humidity high. Let the blocks
have some fresh air at least once a day, just leave them uncovered for 20 or 30 minutes, or at least take the cover off to
vent the co2.
This is the fruiting stage, you’ll want to keep the block out of direct sun, while making sure they get some light for at
least a few hours each day, like near a window, or a well lit room.
Shiitake mushrooms will fruit at a wide temperature range (upper 40’s to 70F), but they do best at 50-60F, below 58 the caps the caps will develop much thicker and darker. They also grow slower at colder temps, but that’s OK.
Mushrooms are ready to harvest any time after the veil breaks away on the underside of the caps, exposing the gills.
I like to wait a day or 2 after that, they get a little bigger and the cap is a little softer, tender. To harvest, take a razor or
knife and cut the stock close to the block. Store the mushrooms in a paper bag, in the refrigerator, they’ll last longer if
they can breath, 1-2 weeks, but they’re best when you eat them immediately.
After you’ve harvested all the mushrooms, let the block dry out at room temperature for 2 weeks.
then soak it by dunking it in well water, you may need to let it soak, but don’t completely saturate it or it may fall apart. let it drip drain for a day, then back to the fruiting chamber.
You wont yield as much the 2nd flush, but you can do this 2 or 3 times, or until it stops producing, then put it in your garden where it makes a great fertilizer and in time could spawn more mushrooms.
They’re also more prone to contamination as they get older, if you do see any green, cut it off with a knife or razor blade.