Low Tech Mushroom Log




Introduction: Low Tech Mushroom Log

So how do you grow mushrooms? If you read anything about it it sounds so complicated. I'm going to show you how to grow mushrooms with pretty much nothing more then a piece of cardboard and a fresh branch or log. You won't need any specialised equipment and I am going to try not use any technical words and make it as easy as possible.

The things you will need;

Some oyster mushrooms from your local farmer's market

A cardboard box

A fresh branch or log.

Some Hydrogen peroxide 3%

Measuring cup



Cutting board

Zip-lock bag

Hand saw or Chainsaw

Step 1: Buy Some Oyster Mushrooms From the Farmer Market

The first and most important step it to buy a cluster of oyster mushrooms. They need to have the base of the stems still on them. The farmers sometime cut them off but check them out and ask the grower if you have to.Then when you get them home cut the bases off like in the picture and keep them to one side.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cardboard

Now cut up your cardboard into bits that will fit into your zip-lock bags. Rip the cardboard to expose the perforated middle. Mushrooms love this perforated cardboard but will grow on any brown cardboard. Soak the cardboard in 500ml water mixed with 3ml hydrogen peroxide for about 5 minutes.Then give it a squeeze out.

Step 3: Cut the Mushrooms

When your cardboard is ready, cut up the bases of the mushrooms. Lay them out on the cardboard. Like so.

Step 4: Roll Them Up

Now just roll them up and put them in the zip lock bag. Label and date. Put them somewhere out of the light. I put my on top of the kitchen cupboard. Check them in a week or two.

Step 5: They're Ready to Go

So these guys have been in the bag for 2 weeks, they have heaps of nice white growth and are ready to go.

Step 6: Cut You Log

The next thing you need to do is find a fresh log for them to grow on. Fresh as possible no longer then 1 month old. I then cut up the log with my chainsaw into biscuits. If you don't have a chainsaw you can use a hand saw.

I am using a local wattle that I cut down about 1 week ago.

Step 7: Layer Between Timber Biscuts

Now take the cardboard from the zip-lock bags and unroll them. Layer them between each biscuit. I only make them 3 high. You can go as high as you want but I find critters knock them over sometimes. Water every week for the first few weeks. Now leave them in a shady position and wait for the biscuits to become colonised...this may take a few months.

Step 8: Ready to Eat

The weather cooled down and we had some rain and bam! Mushrooms!

These ones took about 4 months to fruit on a local tree called Pencil cedar.

They are ready to cut off and eat. I use a knife and sometime I wash them if they need it.

The most important thing here is that you put the logs somewhere you go regularly. You can miss them easily, if you don't visit the often. The size of the log and type of timber will determine how long before it fruits and how many times it fruits. Bigger logs take longer to fruit but will fruit more times. I have had logs that fruit 3 times a year for 2 years.

You just have to experiment with you local timber and local mushrooms from the farmer's market!



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    54 Discussions

    Wow, thanks for posting, you really do make it look more simple then most of what I've read about the subject, I especially like it that you use mushrooms from the market :)

    Growing mushrooms is something I'd love to try in the future and I'll definitely keep this instructable in mind for when the time comes.


    1 year ago

    I love the simplicity of this instructable. Also the use of hydrogen peroxide is great. I find hydrogen peroxide treatment to be an easy alternative to heat pasteurization for straw and for wood pellet media for pearl oysters and elm oysters. Perhaps other media and other species also work. I use "One-Step", a hydrogen peroxide product used in home brewing, at the one tablespoon per gallon rate used to sanitize beer brewing equipment.


    1 year ago

    This is an awesome idea nice job

    Oh my goodness thanks alot for this i will try this, cooler whether is coming really soon here in the Philippines

    used cardboard w/ 1 side removed-placed chopped up stem bases inside the valleys of the paper. used several different types from local store. 3 of the 5 types did start and produced mycelium. " BUT " left too much water inside the cardboard in the ziplock. result was that the soup that collected in bottom of bag went bad prior to being able to procure logs. so my comment is to be sure that cardboard is wet but not dripping out water before inserting into ziplock.

    went ahead and procured hardwood sawdust - soaked in water / hydrogen peroxide solution then used my "spoiled cardboard" to try and start in plastic covered trays.

    starting to see a bit of white growth spots ( I hope) and just observed some very very tiny growth that are starting to pop up in one tray. these may be the start of some mushrooms popping out.

    will be starting another group soon and will be sure to correct these past mistakes and get the white mycelium moved onto the wet sawdust planting trays quicker.

    then if trays start production will use as a starter for other trays, bags and logs

    and eat a few along the way

    Hi there!

    What is the ideal or appropriate outdoor temp for this project? Is it possible to do it in late autumn, zone 6? I can easily pop up a cold frame or a garden cloche for a warmer environment. I just can't wait to start!

    Thank you so much! Super clear instructions! Awesome!

    This is a nice technique for wood-loving mushrooms (incl. Oyster, Morel mushrooms). I don't think this technique will work for dung-loving mushrooms (incl. Portobello, White Button mushrooms). The "bible" was written by Paul Stamets: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580081754

    I am trying this now. I am trying oyster, maitaki, king oyster and chantrelles. I wonder if it will work?

    1 reply

    Well, the oysters and the king oysters got all white in their zip locks and I transplanted them to the outdoors in between log slices, but now they have disappeared out there, no more nice white stuff. I am using maple logs, maybe they don't like it. But I am wondering, why not just use cardboard, they obviously love it. Couldn't you just transfer the starts to a larger roll of wet cardboard in a larger zip lock and just let them live happily in the cardboard?

    Just a comment. I have never messed with oyster mushrooms, but I believe it is true with all mushrooms that the entire body of the mushroom is dikaryotic mycelium, the same thing that will infiltrate the logs, so, if the stem is not there, just use the fleshy body of the mushroom. To keep it sterol I used peroxide on the surface of the mushroom, cut the skin and peeled it back and used a cube of the flesh to propagate my mushrooms. It should work with oyster mushrooms. The part we eat is the ruining body, but all parts of the mushroom has the same genetic makeup to propagate the mushroom. I have done it with Shiitake and other mushrooms.

    What does the hydrogen peroxide do? If it's used for sanitizing then surely boiling water or a minute or two in the microwave would do the job.

    3 replies

    Ah, right. I'm going to give it a go but split the log(s) lengthwise as sawing is too labor intensive.

    That sounds really cool! I did this not long ago with a friend. We used
    wire to put the logs back together. Them we stood them up vertically by
    buried them a bit to keep them up. Good luck!

    What is the reason that it stops growing after 2 years? Is it because they soak up all the remaining nutrients from the log? What happen if you put them in a living log (is it possible?)

    1 reply

    After 2 years the log taken over by other fungi and will be well on the way to decomposing. harder wood last longer and softer ones less.

    I think you would cause damage to a living tree.

    Put simply may have homemade mushroom. Very cool!!!

    A question: Can I make the cultivation of this same way to other types of mushrooms?

    1 reply

    Wish I could buy oyster mushrooms locally with base stems to do this...

    Comparing dense wood with fluffier substrate that oyster mushrooms seem grown on usually, it seems that one could cut the wood into thinner sections with similar results. Maybe the fruiting life span would be less?

    In a shiitake-growing class I took, the instructor recommended using trees felled within a week, to avoid competing fungus invasions.

    Unless there's a difference in English usage, the word to describe the cardboard's internal ridges is "corregated". Perforated means slightly pre-cut.

    Thanks for the good idea!

    1 reply

    Hey I did get it wrong, it is called corrugated or as we call it here in Australia "corro".

    If you can't get oyster mushrooms locally you can always start with a oyster mushroom kit. There are heaps available online, and from there you can keep it going with my method.

    And you are right about the logs. As fresh as possible but no older then a month to avoid competing fungi.

    thanks for your input!!