How to pick mushroom?


When do I harvest magic mushrooms?

When should you harvest magic mushrooms, from a grow kit ? Pick too soon and the mushroom will not have reached their full potential. Pick too late and the whole substrate is covered with black spores.

We’ve noticed that Magic Mushrooms Shop customers are very curious to find out; “when do I harvest my lovely mushrooms?”. So we gladly present instructions on how and when to harvest!

When do I harvest magic mushrooms ?

The best time to harvest magic mushrooms from your grow kit is just before the veil breaks. Veil breaking time is usually between 5 – 12 days after the first mushrooms pins pop up from the substrate.

This time indication is broad because the maturing of magic mushrooms can vary, depending on strain variation, humidity, temperature and fresh air.

Why harvest just before the veil breaks?

The veil connects the cap of the mushroom to the stem and covers the gills. When the mushroom matures the veil will break and uncover the gills. This is the time for the matured mushroom to think of the next generation and it will release spores from the gills to make reproduction possible.

The released spores will cover the other mushrooms and the substrate underneath them. This is harmless for the mushrooms and the substrate. But the potency of the mushroom will reduce a bit when you wait with the harvest of your mushrooms after the spore release.

Looking for the strains with the most potency? Read our blog on the strongest magic mushrooms!

Making spore prints and syringes

This is pretty advanced, but it’s interesting to know that you can make your own spore prints.

Your own spore prints? It’s possible! You could actually put your own cultivation process independently on an infinite loop.

If you want to make a spore print or make a spore syringe it is important to harvest the before spores are released. The spores need to be conserved for further cultivation. The best time to pick mushrooms, for a spore print, is when the cap has opened. The cap will flatten and gets the shape of an umbrella. Most times this will be the same or in the next few days after the veil is broken.

Too small for harvest?!

“Should I pick the small mushroom together with the big ones? Or should I wait?” A very frequently asked question.

What you can do is just pick the mushrooms that you think are big enough. And let the other mushrooms mature for a couple of days.

But keep a close eye on your grow kit!
Growth goes rapidly in this stage. One night in the pub might be enough to find your mushrooms covered in spores.

Considering microdosing? Inform yourself with our Psilocybin Microdosing Guide!

How to pick the magic mushrooms ?

We have covered the picking of mushrooms in a different blog post. The basic strategy is twist and pull. But to make it easy, we also made video instructions for harvesting mushrooms:

The veil underneath the cap of the mushroom indicates when the mushrooms can be harvested. When this veil breaks open, it is time to harvest. If you wait too long, the cap will open and release its spores. The substrate and the mushroom itself will become covered in black/purple spores. Although this does not affect the potency of the mushrooms, it is best avoided. Harvesting in stages is an option, but beware of contamination. Always wash your hands thoroughly before harvesting mushrooms. Or even better, wear sterile rubber gloves.

Mature mushrooms can be harvested by grabbing the mushroom by the base, and performing a twisting, counterclockwise motion. Pulling the mushroom straight out of the mycelium with too much force can damage the mycelium.

After harvesting, you can use a small brush to gently brush off any vermiculite or substrate left on the mushroom. However, do not wash the mushrooms.

Drying and storing

Fresh mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator, but only for 3-10 days (depending on the specie and moisture content). For long term storage, drying them is a better option.

Mushrooms contain about 90% water, so drying them is not only an excellent method for storage, it also decreases their size, thus making transport easier. To dry mushrooms, all you need is air circulation and a warm spot. An effective method for drying mushrooms is by placing them on kitchen paper and directing a fan at the mushrooms to provide a constant airflow. At a temperature of 25-30c the mushrooms should be cracker dry in a few days.

Storing dried mushrooms

There are several ways to store dried mushrooms. Most important in order for the shrooms to maintain potency, is to store them airtight and in a dark spot.

  • Honey. Chop the mushroom up in smaller pieces, or use a jar large enough for the mushrooms to sit in. Make sure you write down the contents (weight) of mushrooms added per unit of honey to avoid dosage mishaps!
  • Freezer. Freezing dried mushrooms is said to be the best method for long term storage. Make sure the mushrooms are completely dry before freezing them, or they will become mushy and prone to rot. Store them in an airtight container or plastic bags.
  • Airtight bags/container. Pack the dried shrooms in a (ziplock)bag. Squeeze out all the oxygen and close the bag. Put the first bag in another bag and pack it airtight. Store in a cool, dark spot.

Mushroom Harvesting: How To Harvest Mushrooms At Home

Growing your own mushrooms at home is easy if you purchase a complete kit or just spawn and then inoculate your own substrate. Things get a little more difficult if you are making your own mushroom cultures and spawn, which require a sterile environment involving a pressure cooker or autoclave. However you start them, the question of when to harvest the mushrooms will inevitably come to pass. Read on to learn how to harvest mushrooms at home.

When to Harvest Mushrooms

If you buy a complete mushroom kit, the instructions will give a time frame for picking your mushroom harvest. This is really a gist, since depending upon conditions, the mushrooms may be ready to pick a couple of days earlier or later than the instructed date. Also, size is not an indicator of when to pick. Bigger isn’t always better. The general rule of thumb is to begin picking your mushroom harvest when the caps turn from convex to concave – turning down to turning up.

Oyster mushroom harvesting should occur 3-5 days after you see the first mushrooms begin to form. You are looking for the cap of the largest mushroom in the group to go from turning down at the edges to turning up or flattening out at the edges.

Shitake mushrooms are grown on logs and that is how they are sold as kits. Or you can establish a shitake garden by cutting your own logs during the mushroom’s dormant season and then inoculating them yourself. The latter option requires patience since mushroom harvesting won’t take place for 6-12 months! If you purchase pre-inoculated logs or sawdust blocks for your home, they should fruit right away. A couple of days after you see the first signs of growth, they will begin to cap. Three days later or so, you will have the first good sized shitakes ready to harvest. Picking your shitake mushroom harvest will take place over time and, with proper care, shitake logs can produce for 4-6 years, maybe even longer.

How to Harvest Mushrooms at Home

There is no great mystery to harvesting your mushrooms, although there is some debate amongst amateur mycologists who hunt for outdoor species. The debate revolves around whether to cut the fruit or twist and pull the mushroom from the mycelium. Realistically, it makes no difference. The only pertinent point for wild mushroom foragers is to pick mushrooms that are mature to a point that they have distributed most of their spores so the species will continue to prosper.

Home growers can harvest in either manner, either plucking the fruit by hand or cutting it. In the case of the home mushroom kit however, there is no need to allow the mushrooms to drop spores, so if you see a white “dust” dropping onto the surface below the colony, harvest them. The white “dust” is spores and that means the fruit is mature.

How To Harvest Magic Mushrooms

Harvesting mushrooms by hand isn’t rocket science, but there is a way to do it right—and a way to do it wrong. Find out how to harvest your magic mushrooms so you can enjoy multiple flushes of healthy, uncontaminated shrooms every time.

If you know what you are doing, harvesting your magic mushrooms by hand should be no problem. However, to avoid complications, growers must make sure to harvest their crop on time, and using the correct technique. Additionally, growers should be careful to sterilise all of the equipment they use so as to avoid bacterial or mould problems.

Over the years, the growing and harvesting techniques used to produce magic mushrooms have not changed very much. If you know what to look for, mushrooms will let you know when they are ready to harvest. Harvesting on time is key to maintaining their quality and appearance. Moreover, as long as you remember to work sterile and take care when handling the mushrooms, the harvesting process can be quite quick and easy.


Harvest occurs after the casing and pinning processes that prepare mushrooms to spawn and grow.

The casing process involves spreading mycelium-infused compost into containers that function as mushroom beds. A layer of peat is then added on top of the compost to act as a casing material. The mushroom mixture is kept in this state for about six days, constantly being watered in order to maintain moisture. Within roughly two days, the mycelium should be ready to grow through the peat and go through the pinning process.

However, customers who grow their magic mushrooms with one of Zamnesia’s ready-to-use grow kits do not have to worry about going through the casing process. Our kits are designed to save you time and effort while still guaranteeing a fresh crop of healthy mushrooms.

Pinning is a process that involves creating autumn weather conditions so as to force the development of little white pins. These pins will eventually develop into small buds, and then mushrooms. Growers are advised to maintain a constant environmental temperature of 23°C throughout this stage. If this is a problem, placing a heated mat underneath your grow containers should help to establish a consistent temperature. Zamnesia’s Infrared Mushroom Heat Mat can help your mushrooms to colonise and develop faster.

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After these processes, mushrooms are ready to grow until harvest. After about three weeks of growth, the first flush can be harvested, with the second being picked approximately 9–10 days later.


You will know that your mushrooms are ready for harvest by the status of the veil underneath their caps. If this veil has broken, then it is time to harvest. However, we at Zamnesia recommend that you harvest right before the breaking of the veil. This will prevent the spores from being released—more about this below. At this point in their life cycle, the mushrooms will have developed light, well-rounded, conical-shaped caps perfect for use.


It is always better to harvest your mushrooms a little too early, rather than a little too late. Picking mushrooms too late will result in the cap opening and releasing its spores. This is troublesome because the mycelium releases hormones that tell them to stop fruiting and start colonising. The final result could be a grow kit that is incapable of producing any further flushes, resulting in dramatically reduced yields.

When spores are released, they cover the mushroom in purple and black spots. While this may not affect the potency of the mushroom, it will cause a mess and will lower the aesthetic quality of your mushrooms.


When your mushrooms are ready to harvest, you should pick them by hand. Doing so will reduce the potential for damaging them.

Mushrooms can be harvested by being pulled upwards from their base while performing a twisting motion in a counter-clockwise direction. Be careful not to use too much force as this could end up damaging the mycelium. Harvesting with dry hands is always a good idea. Small tweezers can be used to help you pick the shorter mushrooms that may be more difficult to grip.

A gentle, small brush can be used to brush off any remaining substrate or vermiculite on the shrooms.

Working sterile is one of the most important things to remember when harvesting mushrooms. Ideally, sterile rubber gloves should be worn so as to prevent contamination. However, regularly and thoroughly washing your hands before working with mushrooms is also recommended. Neglecting to work sterile could lead to contamination by mould or bacteria. Sterilising your growth tools and containers before utilising them is also necessary. Smaller containers can be conveniently sterilised through a process that involves boiling and steaming them.

Drying and storage is an important part of the post-harvest process. Mushrooms that will be consumed within 10 days can be stored in a refrigerator. However, shrooms that need to be stored for the long-term need to go through the drying process. This process is extremely simple; just spread the mushrooms out on a cloth or kitchen towel and allow them to dry. When setting your mushrooms to dry, make sure that none of them are touching each other as this could lead to rot. Additionally, changing the drying towel or cloth for a new one every few days will also help to prevent any kind of mushroom rot.

When dried at room temperature, and kept out of direct sunlight, magic mushrooms are usually fully dry within 7–10 days. Afterward, they can be stored in an airtight container inside of a refrigerator, or another dark and dry place. Properly storing your mushrooms in a dry, cool, dark place will retain their potency for 2–3 years.

Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammy, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.

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How to pick magic mushrooms from your grow kit?

As you’re reading this, you are probably well on your way to harvesting your (first) flush. We can imagine the excitement for beginning cultivators, because we’ve all been there :). But wait! There’s one final question that’s burning in your mind: “how do I pick my magic mushroom from my grow kit?”. No worries! The Magic Mushroom Shop Blog is here with instructions on how to pick magic mushrooms.

Cultivating magic mushrooms takes some time and effort. Some cultivators favor colonized grow kits like a B+ Magic Mushroom Grow Kit, widely known for being an easy and flexible grower. Others are emerged in the world of advanced cultivation and learned how to use a magic spore vial.

At the end of the flush everyone ends up at the same point; picking those lovely mushrooms!

And you want to do it right!

The aim is to pick the mushrooms in a considered manner, carefully separating them from the substrate so that your baby’s remain beautiful, from the top of the cap to the bottom of the stem.

Being gentle is key!

It benefits the physical appearance of the mushrooms and the substrate, and it’s optimal for mycelium network. Remember; the mycelium network still has to be alive and active for the next flush.

Usually it takes 10-12 days for after the first pins start to show. In another article you can read when you should harvest. Assuming you’re ready to harvest, we will now explain to you exactly how to pick magic mushrooms from your grow kit.

How to pick magic mushrooms – instructions

Magic mushrooms should be picked right before the veil breaks from the stem or cap. Once the mushrooms are ready to harvest, the mushrooms should be gently separated from the substrate. It is preferred to go about this with a “twist and pull” technique:

  • Reach for the bottom of the stem with your thumb and index finger.
  • Softly start twisting and pulling on the stem until the bottom starts to loosen up.
  • Apply more power, if necessary. But beware; don’t jeopardize the surface of the substrate.
  • Complete the separation of stem and substrate and repeat this process with the other stems.

Instruction video

To make it easy we’ve also made an instruction video.

It’s not that hard, right?

It might feel like a daunting operation at first. Most first time cultivators are terrified to tear up the substrate. But just keep calm, follow the instructions mentioned above and pick those mushrooms with a kind and steady hand.

Ready for the next step? Read this article on how to dry and store your mushrooms.

The Shrooms Experience

Determining the right time to harvest magic mushrooms can be a little tricky and challenging, especially if this is your first time. For you to enjoy the many benefits and awesome effects of shrooms or magic mushrooms, it is essential that you know the best ways to harvest them. Following specific steps is necessary to ensure that you will be able to harvest magic mushrooms successful. And it is the goal of this article to shed light on the best ways or methods of harvesting magic mushrooms.

Magic mushrooms are easier to harvest when they grow at the same rate and size, however, this is not always the case. You will notice that there are shrooms that look smaller than the others. Because of the different sizes of shrooms, determining which one is ripe for harvest can be quite complicated. Considering some few important pointers is a must before you start harvesting them.

You will notice that there are large magic mushrooms and there are also medium and small-sized shrooms which need more time to grow. Some first-time magic mushroom growers pick the large shrooms first and then harvest the small and medium-sized ones – thinking that the smaller ones are still growing and developing. However, this is a wrong practice. Harvesting larger magic mushrooms while leaving the smaller size ones is not advisable since this will not increase your harvest. Moreover, you are risking contamination of your magic mushroom grow kit.

When is the Best Time to Harvest Shrooms?

The best time for you to harvest your precious shrooms is when their hats have not yet fully opened and you can still see that they have a nice round head. You can also harvest your shrooms or magic mushrooms before the veil breaks. The normal veil breaking time is between 6 to 13 days after seeing the first mushrooms pins popping up from the grow medium or substrate. But of course, this all depends on the strain or variety of magic mushroom. Factors such as temperature, air, and humidity play a big role as well.

Harvesting the shrooms before the veil breaks are advisable since this is the time when the matured mushroom are thinking about their next generation. And so they start releasing spores from the gills – this is where reproduction starts to happen. If you want to make sure that the shrooms that you have harvested are potent, then make sure that you count their age. Take note that the small immature magic mushrooms are proven to be more potent compared to larger shrooms.

If you are planning to make spore print syringe, then it is essential that you harvest or pick the magic mushroom before they start releasing spores. These spores will help you preserve the strain and can be used for further cultivation. For magic mushrooms growers who are planning to cultivate and not consume shrooms, the best time to harvest is when that cap has fully opened. Wait for the cap to form into an umbrella-like shape. This should happen a few days after the veil has broken.

Can’t wait for your shrooms’ harvesting time? Order the finest dried shrooms and other magic mushroom products here!

Best Way to Harvest Shrooms

  1. Make sure that you do your research first and acquire more knowledge regarding the sizes and maturity of magic mushrooms. Of course, you also need to make sure first that what you are harvesting is indeed magic mushrooms. Remember that there are mushrooms that are poisonous
  2. It is also essential that you be careful when harvesting magic mushrooms and make sure that you avoid contamination and infection. Once an infection takes place, your magic mushroom grow kit will become useless or unusable. Be sure that you avoid cross-contamination at all cost. This is why you are encouraged to work in a sterile and hygienic environment.
  3. Wash your hands before you proceed with the harvesting. And make sure that you only use top quality antibacterial soap.
  4. It is also recommended that you use sterile gloves when harvesting. Don’t recycle the gloves but make sure that you are using new ones everytime you harvest.
  5. You will then remove the container out from the bag.
  6. Be very careful when grabbing the mushrooms. Use your two fingers and grat it at the bottom of the stem.
  7. It is also necessary that you gently turn the stem and then pull it upwards out from the grow medium or substrate.
  8. Don’t worry if you will see some damage to the substrate since this is typical. What matters most is that you stay careful and keep the environment sterile at all cost.
  9. As much as possible, you need to avoid breathing in the kit. Keep in mind that your breath is full of bacteria that can contaminate your mushroom grow kit.
  10. Ask for advice from your fellow magic mushroom growers regarding their best harvest practices. Listening to the advice of other growers will help widen your knowledge regarding harvesting magic mushrooms.

The debate over which technique between picking or cutting is better for harvesting wild mushrooms doesn’t seem to be leaving us any time soon. Each technique seems to have its own proponents. Those who prefer picking the entire wild mushroom argue that cutting can leave a stump which acts as a disease vector when it rots. On the other hand, proponents of cutting say that it results in higher yield and that the technique doesn’t cause too much disruption to the mycelium underground unlike picking.

So, which harvesting technique should you choose between picking or cutting? This article will take a look at each harvesting technique separately so that you can know which one to choose.

There is a consensus in North America which feels that cutting is the better technique for harvesting wild mushrooms. The argument is that cutting does not disturb the root system. A research was conducted on plots that harvested mushroom by cutting it with a knife and pulling it from the soil. It concluded that yields in the cut plots decreased over time while the yields in plots harvested by pulling mushrooms out increased during the study period.

How To Safely Identify Psilocybin Mushrooms

Have you ever heard of people ending up in the ER due to mushroom poisoning?

These frequent accidents occur due to the fact that people think they “know” which mushrooms are safe to eat and which are not. Reality shows us that many of them are wrong.

Things get even more complicated when it comes to psychoactive mushrooms (also called “magic mushrooms”) due to the fact that the psychological profile of the persons willing to try this type of mushrooms includes a higher tolerance for risk.

That is why it is crucial to invest a lot of time in getting to know the specific characteristics of psilocybin mushrooms before you head out to pick them up and eat them. This can make the difference between having a pleasant spiritual experience of ending up in the ER with serious poisoning.

See More on the Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Psilocybin Mushrooms>>

What are Psilocybin Mushrooms?

Before we go into more details, what exactly are psilocybin mushrooms? Psilocybin mushrooms are the most popular “magic mushrooms”, which means that they are mushrooms with psychoactive properties. They are considered sacred medicine among indigenous tribes, having been used extensively in the past in religious and spiritual ceremonies, especially in Central and South America.

Although currently they are classified as a Schedule 1 drugs in the United States (and many other countries), recent John Hopkins research seems very promising. Some studies have shown that consuming psilocybin mushrooms can have a beneficial effect for individuals suffering from various psychiatric disorders, from anxiety to OCD and depression.

Another study from Johns Hopkins University showed that most of the participants rated this as one of the most significant spiritual experiences of their lives. It also proved that ingesting psilocybin mushrooms creates long-lasting positive personality changes in the users.

Here are a few important pointers on how to differentiate between psilocybin mushrooms. Make sure you extensively study pictures of these mushrooms and notice the differences between them.

Psilocybe semilanceata

These mushrooms are also known as “Liberty Caps” due to their large caps. They are known to be among the most potent psilocybin mushrooms. They also grow frequently in North America and throughout Europe.

These mushrooms usually grow in meadows and pastures, often in those grazed by sheep. However, unlike psilocybe cubensis, psilocybe semilanceata do not grow directly out of dung.

Psilocybe mexicana

These mushrooms grow especially in Central and South America, where they have been used ceremonially for millennia. They are also called “teonanacatl”. Similar in aspect to psilocybe semilanceata, it is hard to distinguish them from the latter.

Psilocybe cyanescens

This specific type of psilocybin mushrooms are also known as “Wavy Caps”.

According to Jacob Akin from the University of Wisconsin, there seems to be evidence of this type of mushrooms at the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Research is showing that these mushrooms were used by the ancient Egyptians for their psychoactive properties during religious ceremonies.

These mushrooms are also found in many areas throughout the world and are known to be quite potent when it comes to their psychedelic effects.

Psilocybe azurescens

This type of mushroom is also known as the “Flying Saucer Mushroom”. It is also known as the most potent psychoactive psilocybin mushrooms due to the fact that it has the highest concentration of the psychoactive biochemicals, psilocybin and psilocin.

It often grows along the northern Oregon Coast, favoring the beachland interface. Psilocybe azurescens prefers to grow in dune grasses. It also causes the whitening of wood. Fruitings begin in late September and continue even after the first frost occurs, until late December or even January. It is a very adaptive species.

Psilocybe baeocystis

This type of mushroom is also known as “Knobby Tops”. It is usually found on decaying conifer mulch, in wood chips, or in lawns with high lignin content.

It can also occasionally grow from fallen seed cones of Douglas fir.

You can normally find these mushrooms in fall, even ranging to early winter but rarely in the spring.

Psilocybe cubensis

This is the most popular species of psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “Golden Teacher”.

You may find it throughout southeastern United States, Central America and northern South America. It also grows throughout southeast Asia, in countries such as Thailand, India, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Normally, these mushrooms grow at their maximum size in the two months prior to the hottest period in the year. In the United States, this means you can find them in May and June most frequently, although they can also be found up until January.

Exercise Great Caution When Dealing With Psilocybin Mushrooms

Please exercise maximum caution when it comes to cultivating or growing psilocybin mushrooms. There is a very real risk of poisoning and even death. It is best to spend as much time as possible in studying extensively the characteristics of these magic mushrooms if you are serious about identifying and consuming them.

A great book on the subject is Paul Stamets’ reference book on identifying psilocybin mushrooms around various parts of the world.

Make sure you also identify the visual differences between the mushrooms and become quite proficient at it before ingesting any type of psilocybin mushrooms.

About the author, Entheonation

EntheoNation – the process of awakening the Divine within.
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EntheoNation is a web show featuring visionaries pioneering the cutting-edge of awakening through psychedelic science, modern shamanism, & new paradigm lifestyles.
Our vision is an environmentally sustainable, socially-just, spiritually-fulfilling, and evolved human presence on this planet, one that integrates ancient wisdom, with modern times.

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Guide To Picking Mushrooms: What You Need To Know

First a warning, mushroom picking requires a certain level of experience and expertise because picking the wrong mushrooms for consumption can be quite dangerous. It’s essential that you know how to identify mushrooms to avoid unpleasant experiences.

If you’re new to mushroom foraging, it’s recommended that you don’t actually eat the mushrooms you pick; at least not for the first year or two. You should take this time to study and learn how to identify the different kinds of mushrooms instead.

Most mushrooms are inedible and some of the most common ones are poisonous, so it’s vital to take some time to get familiarized with the mushroom variety in your area.

What’s more, a great variety of edible mushrooms have poisonous doppelgangers that you need to be able to tell apart. In order to do this correctly, make sure you compare the mushrooms you find to different sources and always double-check your information; be skeptical even of your own conclusions until you’re 100% certain.

It’s also very helpful to surround yourself with other enthusiasts so you can learn from more experienced people. Look for mushroom clubs in your area and join your local mycological society as well! This will give you greater access to information and you’ll be able to consult with experts whenever you need.

The location of your mushroom picking matters, so make sure you choose high-quality landscapes, not areas near polluting industries or heavy trafficked roads. If you don’t live in a Scandinavian country where it is not necessary to ask for permission to pick mushrooms, make sure you obtain permission and, whenever possible, bring an experienced forager with you to serve as a field guide.

Once you’ve learned how to identify the first edible species and their poisonous look alikes with certainty, focus on them and only pick those mushrooms. Don’t try pick too many species and start with easy ones.

As a rule of thumb, avoid all mushrooms in the button stage because they’re even easier to confuse with poisonous and inedible types. Only pick those that already have opened caps.

You also must pay attention to safe storage and transport. The larger mushrooms you pick must be carried in paper bags, wax paper or in a container while the smaller ones should be carried in a small yet sturdy box. Make sure to keep everything separate as well!

As you can see, mushroom picking requires quite a lot of studying and attention to detail. It takes years of experience to have an educated eye, so in the meantime, be careful and follow the golden rule: When in doubt, toss it out!


The web can be a good source for information about foraging mushrooms, but nothing substitutes high quality books about the topic. We recommend the following books (click to go to the Amazon store):

Especially the book Mushrooming without fear is recommended for beginners. It lists mushrooms which not easily can be confused with poisonous ones and give instructions how to start with foraging mushrooms. The last book, Edible Mushrooms, by Geoff Dann, is recommended for Europeans.

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If you use information from this site in order to identify mushrooms, the responsibility for the identification is yours; the site takes no responsibility for damage caused by wrong identifications. Please read the disclaimer.

Is it Time to Fruit Your Mushroom Logs?

Here in Olympia, Washington we’ve already had some well-deserved warm and sunny days which tend to lure us outdoors after a long wet Pacific Northwest winter. Upon strolling through the forest recently I noticed some young Oyster mushrooms emerging from a fallen alder, triggering a thought—perhaps it’s time to soak my mushroom logs! Depending on where you’re located in the world, you might be in a similar situation.
Depending on your bioregion, late spring through fall tends to be the best time of the year for fruiting mushroom logs outdoors. Of course you will also need to be within the recommended temperature range of the mushroom species you’re trying to fruit. One of the most common questions our customer service representatives hear at this time of the year is, “I purchased some plug spawn last year, plugged my logs according to the instructions and haven’t seen any mushrooms yet.” As mushroom cultivators, it’s important to observe how mushrooms grow in the wild and attempt to simulate that process as best as possible at home.
Because most mushrooms are approximately 85% water, the substrate material supporting the fungal colony needs to have sufficient moisture in order to produce mushrooms. Basically, by soaking the logs in fresh water for 24 hours you’re attempting to simulate a heavy rainfall which tends to trigger mushroom production. Once you’ve provided the proper moisture and temperature you’re on the way to producing mushrooms.
If you don’t have mushroom logs yet, now is also a great time to start some. In many areas of North America late winter is the best time to cut your logs because the moisture and sugars within the tree are at their highest. Spring through early summer is usually the best time to inoculate those logs because the average daily temperatures (50–75 °F) are usually more favorable for fungal mycelium growth. This allows the mycelium to aggressively colonize the wood before the native competitors try to take hold. Since it takes approximately 9–12 months for the fungus to sufficiently colonize the logs, you’ll be attempting to fruit logs which were inoculated in previous years. It’s always a good idea to try and add logs to your rotation every year because the average production life of a deciduous hardwood log is 3–5 years, depending on the tree species. This ensures you’ll always have viable colonized logs in the rotation.
After the 24 hour soaking process we find it best to keep the logs in a somewhat shaded location to prevent dehydration. It’s advisable to mist or water the logs 1–2 times daily until you start to see mushroom primordia (baby mushrooms) emerge from the logs. This will usually take 7–10 days depending on the temperature and humidity. Shiitake (shown here) prefers a temperature range of 50–70 °F with humidity around 85%.
As the Shiitake mushroom matures it will increase in size and eventually the veil on the underside breaks, exposing the gills. The best time to harvest mushrooms is when the edge of the mushroom cap is still “in-rolled” and not fluted upward. Harvesting mushrooms when they are younger provides longer shelf life and reduces spore production. Mushrooms grown outdoors, especially Shiitake, tend to be more desirable because they grow more slowly, are darker in color, and have thicker flesh. My family has learned to appreciate and enjoy the outdoor grown mushrooms over the indoor produced varieties for these reasons.
Once your logs have been harvested, it’s best to lay them back in the incubation piles so they can store up more nutrients for future crops. Depending on your environment you might be able to fruit the logs 2–4 times a year, however it is recommended to let the logs rest about 1 month after a harvest.
Now that we’ve walked you through the process, go out and check your logs. You might be pleasantly surprised to see some mushrooms already forming. If not, go ahead and give your logs a well-deserved soak. Hopefully you’ll have some delicious natural log-grown mushrooms in the near future.
For more information on log and stump cultivation of mushrooms, visit the Plug Spawn section of our site.

The Mushroom Guide Part 3: harvesting shiitake mushroom blocks

In Part 3 of The Mushroom Guide, Benedict Noel enjoys the fruits of his labour harvesting shiitake mushroom blocks, as he continues his step-by-step tutorial.

Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 first, if you missed them.


Harvesting shiitake mushrooms is fairly easy. I generally harvest all the mushrooms in a single session, unless there are clearly two pin sets at different stages of growth. I’ll get the block, put it on a piece of newspaper and then cut the top mushrooms off the top of it with scissors. After doing this, I’ll turn the block upside down as I find it quicker to harvest the mushrooms from the underside. You can use a knife, or even twist the mushrooms off. I find that twisting them off often rips large chunks of sawdust with it and this means extra clean up. If I’m harvesting for myself, and I’m not going to use the stalks, I’ll just cut the heads off the mushrooms and leave the stalks on the block. No point doing extra cutting in the kitchen!

Second flushes

Most of the time I don’t bother trying to get a second flush of mushrooms from shiitake. This is because the yield will be fairly low if your first flush is large. If your first flush is small, or you want to maximise yields, do the following:

When you’ve picked the mushrooms from your first harvest, leave the block somewhere to dry out that has good airflow (e.g. on a shelf with a rack). You’re trying to prevent the outside of the block from going mouldy. After 3-4 weeks the block should be very dry. Submerge it in water for approximately 12 hours. One way to do this is to fill a bucket with water, submerge the block in it and place bricks or weights on top to hold it under water. The idea is to hydrate the block so that it gets wet, but not so wet that it falls apart. Take the block out of the water, hit it on each side again (not too hard as this time as it doesn’t have the bag to hold it together) and put it back in your fruiting container. Repeat the misting routine – there’s no need to put it in the fridge this time.

Disposing of the block

Your shiitake log is completely organic, so you can compost it, bury it or add it to your worm farm. Worms love mushroom mycelium, they’ll tear your block apart it a few days.

Dealing with problems

The two biggest problems you’re likely to face are that your block will go mouldy or you won’t get many mushrooms. If your block is going mouldy, it’s too wet and potentially doesn’t have enough airflow. If you’re not getting a good yield, it’s likely the block is too dry and you need to increase humidity by misting it more. It takes a little bit of experience to know what looks right, so if you’re unsure it’s better to err on the side of keeping the block a bit drier. It’s better to get less mushrooms than no mushrooms at all!

Next time, we’ll be taking a closer look at preparing the all important fruiting substrate, so do stay tuned.

Based on an original post available here by Benedict Noel at The Mushroom Guide.

About the author

The Mushroom Guide is written by Benedict Noel from Perth, Western Australia. He’s been hooked on mushroom growing since watching this TED talk in 2015 and has been building his knowledge and experience ever since. Since starting out, he’s helped run a couple of cultivation courses, given presentations at festivals and grown a wide variety of mushrooms, from oyster and shiitake to pioppino and chestnut.

DIY: How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms

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This simple, step-by-step guide will show you exactly how to grow shiitake mushrooms — a delightful gourmet AND medicinal mushroom.

Fight Cancer, Harvest Sunlight to Produce Your Own Vitamin D, and Boost Your Immune System… all by learning how to grow shiitake mushrooms!

You may have noticed from our Instagram photos and other articles, that The Tyrant and I love mushrooms. That wasn’t always the case.

We used to think that mushrooms were just the bland white button variety (Agaricus bisporus) that we saw in the grocery store. The only other mushrooms we knew about were portobellos, which are actually just a more mature white button mushroom (yep, Agaricus bisporus too).

An introduction to a whole new world of gourmet mushrooms

That all changed in 2010 when we got to know mycologist (mushroom scientist) Tradd Cotter. Since then, we’ve steadily grown in our knowledge of and passion for gourmet, medicinal mushrooms. Today, we grow our own mushrooms and wild-forage mushrooms as well.

As a result, we know that there are seemingly infinite varieties of delicious edible mushrooms that come in every imaginable size, shape, color, and flavor.

Gorgeous chanterelle and cinnabar mushrooms from a summer forage in the woods.

Some of our favorite mushrooms range in taste from the fruity & nutty chanterelles to maple syrup flavored parasols to savory & sublime morels.

And, just to give you a proper appreciation for the size that mushrooms can grow, the largest living organism on earth, is a 4 mile wide edible honey mushroom!

Fruiting Honey mushrooms in the woods behind our home.

Learn the Safety Rules Before You Start Foraging and Eating Mushrooms

Unless you live in the desert, chances are there are many edible mushroom varieties that grow wild in your yard or nearby woods.

Just as you shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car without proper training/education, you should NEVER eat a mushroom (or anything else) that you’re not 100% sure you’ve correctly ID’d. Doing so could result in extreme illness or a slow and painful death.

Scared? Good!

Instead of letting your healthy fear of mushrooms keep you off of the mushroom “road” forever, why not just learn how to drive safely and then enjoy all the places these wonderful organisms will take you?

If you’re still not convinced that you should consider getting your “driver’s license” in mushrooms, you might be further swayed by knowing that many varieties of mushrooms have incredible medicinal benefits: they’re antiviral, antimicrobial, anticancer, antihyperglycemic, cardioprotective, and anti-inflammatory.

Want to keep reading? Good!

Mycorrhizal mushrooms

Many of our favorite gourmet mushrooms can’t be commercially cultivated since they are “mycorrhizal,” i.e. they form symbiotic relationships with the roots of plants.

Mycorrhizal mushrooms vastly expand the reach of a plant’s root system to help it draw in additional water and nutrients. In return, the plants provide the mushrooms with a constant source of carbohydrates via glucose and sucrose. It’s estimated that 95% of all plants are mycorrhizal.

So, when you’re walking through the woods and you see mushrooms, you’re seeing a very small portion of the actual organism — the visible fruiting body. Meanwhile, a massively complex, interconnected web of organisms are dancing invisibly underneath your feet.

A mushroom is to its fungal body what an apple is to a tree. Isn’t nature cool?

The Easiest Mushrooms to Grow At Home

Not all mushrooms are mycorrhizal. Many of the best edible mushrooms in the world can easily be cultivated without needing living tree roots to associate with.

At Tyrant Farms, we’re currently growing oyster, shiitake, king stropharia, chicken of the woods, and blewit mushrooms, not to mention at least 15 native edible varieties we’ve enjoyed from our lawn and/or the woods behind our home that were here long before we were.

A delicious and very hard to find umbrella polypore.

This particular article is about a revered Asian delicacy with a wide range of medicinal properties to boot: the shiitake mushroom.

We’ve had some beautiful shiitake harvests over the years, and wow are they a delicious mushroom. As such, we wanted to let you know how to grow shiitake mushrooms, too!

Another cool DIY trick we’ll teach you below: you can supercharge your shiitake mushrooms with extra Vitamin D before eating them.

Keep reading to find out how!

A beautiful cluster of shiitake mushrooms from our logs. These are gill-side up and ready to be charged with Vitamin D in the sun.

The shiitake growing instructions below are very detailed, so they may look complicated at first glance. However, learning how to grow shiitake mushrooms is actually quite simple.

For reference, think about how complicated instructions for making a peanut butter & jelly sandwich look when you see them in writing. Same thing here, so don’t be intimidated!

I. How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms: MATERIALS LIST

Here’s the materials you’ll need to grow shiitake mushrooms in logs:

  • 100 inoculated shiitake mushroom plugs. You can buy shiitake plugs here.
  • Two (2) recently cut hardwood tree sections with bark still on. These should be 4-8 inches in diameter and 3-4 feet long. Thick barked hardwoods such as oaks & poplars are ideal. To make more shiitake logs, get more shiitake mushroom plugs at the same ratio (roughly 50 plugs per 6″ diameter x 4′ long log).
  • High speed/power drill with a multi-purpose 5/16″ drill bit. If you want to get more serious and do a lot of logs, you’ll probably want to upgrade to an angle grinder with specialized high speed adapter as you can see here.
  • Rubber mallet (or hammer but mallet is better) for tapping the mushroom plugs into the holes.
  • Food grade wax, some beeswax or cheese wax for sealing your mushroom plugs in the log. Note: canning wax isn’t ideal because it becomes really brittle and can fall off leaving your logs open & exposed to being colonized by other mushrooms.
  • Old junk can for melting your wax.
  • Camping stove or other heat source for melting wax in can. We just use our stove top and reheat the wax as necessary.
  • Small paint brush for applying wax.

II. How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms: STEP BY STEP GUIDE

1. Inoculate your shiitake logs in the warm months, ideally spring.

If you inoculate your shiitake logs in the middle of winter when it’s below freezing out, the spawn won’t be very active. The ideal time to inoculate shiitake logs is after freezing weather has passed in the spring.

You can continue to inoculate your shiitake logs throughout the warm months up until a couple months before your first freeze.

2. Order Your Shiitake Mushroom Plugs

Once you’ve got your logs identified or cut, go ahead and order your shiitake mushroom plugs. Again, 100 shiitake plugs is enough to do two, 6″ diameter logs that are 3-4′ long. If you have more logs, order more shiitake plugs.

If you can’t use your shiitake plugs within a week of arrival, stick them in the fridge for up to 6 months.

3. Cut hardwood tree sections or source just-cut hardwood logs.

Select two suitable living hardwood tree sections or tree branches that are 4-8 inches in diameter and 3-4 feet long. Oak is ideal, but other hardwoods are fine too.

100 mushroom plugs will adequately inoculate two logs with the above dimensions.

We used to recommend letting your logs “cure” for 2-4 weeks in a shaded, dry environment off of the dirt or forest floor (like a garage or shed floor). That’s because healthy, living trees have anti-fungal agents in their sap, so 2 weeks allows time for these compounds to dissipate.

However, our mycologist friend who originally made that recommendation to us years ago now says that he inoculates his logs immediately after cutting. Apparently, the mushroom spawn will “hang out and wait,” then start to inoculate the logs as soon as the wood’s anti-fungal compounds break down.

The longer you let your logs sit without inoculating them with your shiitake mushroom plugs, the more time you give fungal spores from other species to land on your logs and start to grow.

So don’t wait more than one month before inoculating your logs or your mushrooms will likely have increased competition.

4. Drill Holes In Your Shiitake Mushroom Logs

Use a power drill with a 5/16″ drill bit attachment to drill offsetting, parallel rows of holes in each log. This should look like a diamond pattern.

Each hole should be about 1 1/4″ deep and no more than 3-4″ apart.

Ideally on a 3ft log, you should have 50 holes per log. On a 6ft. log, you should have 100 holes. We prefer the shorter 3ft logs because they’re much easier to carry and move.

5. Insert Your Shiitake Mushroom Plugs Into Logs

Time for mushroom surgery! Wash your hands to make sure you’re not infecting your shiitake plugs with any competing fungi.

In a shaded area, separate your plugs into two piles of 50 plugs (assuming you’re using 3ft logs). Put the plugs on a clean surface, like a washed plate or a ziplock bag.

Put your logs on newspaper or plastic if you don’t want melted wax on the floor/ground. Insert your shiitake plugs into each hole. Immediately tap them in with your rubber mallet or hammer.

Make sure each shiitake plug is well set into the hole so that the surface of the plug is at or below the surface level of the log.

Don’t leave any drilled holes empty! If needed fill any empty holes with wax, or another species of mushroom will take hold there.

6. Melt and Apply Wax to Your Shiitake Logs

On a stove top, grill, or camp stove, heat your wax until fully melted.

Using a cheap paint brush, seal each cut end of the log completely with melted wax. Next, seal each hole thoroughly with wax so that each shiitake plug has its own tight little “house,” safe from other competing fungi that might come knocking.

7. Incubate Your Shiitake Logs for 6-12 Months

Place your shiitake logs in a shady, moist location off of the ground but within reach of a garden hose. You don’t want too much sunlight to hit the logs, and you don’t want the logs touching the ground, which encourages other competing fungi to come aboard.

An old palette, bricks, or concrete blocks are good for this purpose. Ideally, you can also cover your logs with a breathable cloth (such as a shade cloth or weed blocker) to help keep out sun while allowing moisture to come through, Don’t use plastic since this will make your logs mold!

Once you have your logs stored, it’s time to think about their water needs…

  • Wet climate – If you live in a moist climate like we do, you can water your shiitake logs once per week for about 10 minutes during a dry week in which it doesn’t rain. If you get a good soaking rain, don’t worry about watering them).
  • Dry climate – If you live in a dry/arid climate, you should plan to water your logs twice per week for 10+ minutes each time. Don’t water your logs if the outside temps are below freezing as this can cause your logs to split or loose their bark.

To help remember to water your shiitake logs, we recommend setting up a recurring calendar event with an alert so that your technology can help you take care of your biology.

8. When Ready, “Initiate” Your Shiitake Logs

Under ideal conditions, your shiitake logs will be ready to fruit after 6 months, but it’s recommended that you wait at least 9-12 months before “initiating” them. “Initiating” them means forcing them to fruit and produce mushrooms.

It takes a lot of energy for the shiitake colony to produce mushrooms (like having a baby). Waiting to initiate them ensures that the colony is really strong.

Your logs will do a pretty good job of telling you when they’re ready: keep an eye on the cut ends of the logs that you sealed with wax, and if the surface area looks dark and mottled, then you know the colony has taken over the log and is ready to fruit.

Sometimes, under ideal conditions, your logs will go ahead and fruit on their own without your help.

Once you’ve determined that your shiitake logs are ready to be initiated, you’ll want to submerge them in water for 24 hours. You can use a bathtub, a pail, a contractor bag, a natural (clean) body of water, or whatever else you can come up with that’s big enough.

Ideally, you can use non-chlorinated water (rain, spring, boiled tap water, creek, etc), but we’ve found that water straight out of the hose will work fine if that’s your only option.

Since we originally wrote this article, we’ve built our own backyard duck pond for our egg-laying Welsh Harlequin ducks. As you can see here, our duck pond makes an ideal spot to soak/initiate our shiitake mushroom logs – although our ducks might disagree! We usually soak our shiitake logs overnight so our girls can enjoy log-free swimming during the day.

After 24 hours of soaking, place your logs back in a shady area and in an upright, vertical position. This insures that when mushrooms start forming, they don’t get dirty.

You’ll see “primordia” (baby mushrooms) form sometime between 2-14 days. Make sure the shiitake logs stay moist during this waiting period by watering them 1-2 times per day for about 5 minutes each time.

Soon, your whole log will be covered with beautiful shiitake mushrooms! There’s not a “right” size to eat them—you can pick them when they’re small or let them get huge.

9. Harvest Sunlight to Boost Vitamin D, Then Cook & Eat Your Shiitake Mushrooms!

We learned an incredibly cool, simple technique courtesy of famed mushroom expert, Paul Stamets, that literally allows you to harvest sunlight to produce Vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 is produced from animals and used in most D vitamin supplements. Vitamin D2 is the type of D vitamin found in mushrooms and plants.

As Stamets says, “Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that boosts the immune system and plays vital roles in human metabolism.”

Vitamin D is incredibly good for you, and you need it regularly to stay healthy, especially in the northern hemisphere or during the fall, winter, and early spring when there is less sunlight, preventing your body from producing its own Vitamin D.

How to grow shiitake mushrooms and turn them into Vitamin D powerhouses:

Once you’ve harvested your shiitake mushrooms, put them in a sunny location gill side up for 24-48 hours.

This has been proven to drastically boost the shiitake’s natural Vitamin D2 levels from around 100 IU/100 grams to nearly 46,000 IU/100 grams!

Cooking with shiitake mushrooms

Now that you know how to grow shiitake mushrooms, we recommend you learn how to cook them! Not to worry.

There are infinite numbers of ways to cook your delicious and versatile shiitake mushroom. Just do a google search and start experimenting. We just made this easy shiitake mushroom green bean stir fry recipe courtesy of Jaden Hair over at Steamy Kitchen.

If you have too many shiitkae mushrooms to eat, don’t worry. Dry them and put them in an airtight container. Yes, the elevated Vitamin D levels will last for over one year – and you can also put dry shiitakes out in the sun gill-side up to charge back up!

We hope this How To Grow Shiitake Mushrooms Guide will inspire you to grow and enjoy your own shiitake mushrooms at home, year round!

Warning: Don’t ever eat anything that you can’t identify with 100% certainty. Also, it’s estimated that 1-2% of the population may experience an allergic reaction to mushrooms due to their body’s inability to digest them (they don’t have the necessary enzymes).

So, the first time you eat a shiitake or any other edible mushroom, just try a small amount. Wait 24-48 hours and if you haven’t experienced an allergic reaction, it’s safe to assume that your body is perfectly capable of digesting them.


More fun fungi articles you might enjoy:

  • How to identify and use chanterelle mushrooms
  • 6 gourmet and medicinal mushrooms you can easily grow in your garden
  • How to find, identify, grow, and cook chicken of the woods mushrooms
  • The hunt for the elusive morel mushroom
  • How to find and prepare maitake mushrooms
  • A delicious indigo milkcap recipe


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