How to grow your own Shiitake Mushrooms

Updated: Sep 15

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are a common edible mushroom native to East Asia. They grow in clusters on decaying deciduous hardwood trees/logs/stumps and have been used widely in traditional medicine, as well as a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes for centuries. Shiitake are now cultivated worldwide, making up about 25% of the total production of mushrooms globally.

Growing shiitake mushrooms can be done commercially for profit or in a household, hobby setting. We offer everything you need to grow your own shiitake mushrooms at home, or in the garden, in New Zealand: from spawn, to dowel spawn for making your own mushroom logs, to pre-colonised shiitake blocks that are ready to fruit!

Benefits of consuming shiitake - Shiitake mushrooms can help boost the immune system, fight cancers and support healthy heart function by lowering cholesterol levels. Shiitake are low in calories, high in fibre and offer a generous amount of B vitamins. When sun-dried with the gills up, shiitake mushrooms can take up to 10,000 x's the daily dose of vitamin D!

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms on logs in your NZ garden

Growing shiitake mushrooms on logs in your NZ Garden
Abundant shiitake, growing on logs in a Kiwi-garden

An easy, low maintenance way to grow shiitake mushrooms is to use 'dowel spawn' to inoculate logs. Mushroom logs are a bit more of a long-term option and can take anywhere for 6 months to a few years to start producing mushrooms depending on the size of the log. Once colonised, the bigger the log, the longer the log will produce mushrooms and can keep producing mushrooms every year for several years!!

For more information about growing mushrooms on logs, check out our blog post here on the theme.

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms on sawdust fruiting blocks

Growing shiitake mushrooms on blocks is a more short-term option than growing on logs. Some of you will be making your own shiitake blocks from spawn, while others may be getting a shiitake block that is ready to 'fruit' or start producing mushrooms. If you have received a shiitake block that is 'ready to fruit' and already brown, you have skipped to Stage 4 - "Pinning and Fruiting."

The 4-stage life-cycle of the shiitake fruiting block

Shiitake block that has just colonised