Spring is the season for inoculating logs. Wait until after the last frost to do it so the spawn is not shocked by freezing. You will need Inoculating equipment: Drill w/ 5/16″ bit and 1.25″ stop, staple gun, aluminum labels, ballpoint and Sharpie, Hammer or sawdust spawn injector, portable stove, pot or can to melt wax, natural bristle brush.
You will need plug or sawdust spawn and logs or stumps appropriate to the species of mushroom you would like to grow. Oak is good for most species of fungi. See the chart for the preferred type of wood for various popular cultivated mushrooms, although cultivation books and specs from spawn suppliers suggest a a wider variety of woods are acceptable. See recommendations for Shiitake, Maitake and Blue Oyster on the Fungi Perfecti site.
Plug spawn is put in the 5/16″x1.15″ holes with a hammer or mallet. Sawdust spawn is inserted with an injector tool. Holes for sawdust spwn can be bigger and should match the barrel of the tool.
Wax is used to seal the ends of the logs (immediately after cutting), and the holes after the spawn is inserted. This serves to preserve moisture and keep out competing fungi.
According to many sources you should use “cheese wax”. if you find this hard to acquire, you can use candle wax. Many cultivators prefer to use Soy Wax as it is from a renewable resource, as opposed to Paraffin which is petroleum derived. For me the most important distinction is between “pillar” and ‘”container” waxes. Pillar wax is intended for casting free-standing candles. It is harder and formulated to shrink ever so slightly and not stick to the mold, so it tends to flake off the log. Container wax is stickier, softer and does not shrink. Wax can be purchased online (last time I got some, Canwax seemed the best deal) or at craft stores like Michael’s.
For answers to frequently asked questions check out the Fungi Perfecti FAQ about log and stump cultivation of mushrooms.