How to Grow Mushrooms – Shiitake Mushrooms Agroforestry Practice



JOHNMUSSERFACESCREENSHOT2HQI have dreamed of growing mushrooms at the AESL  1/10th acre urban farm for many years and now that we are adding a forest garden, it’s time to start. I’m collecting all the materials for how to grow mushrooms. I do a lot of research on the subject to have everything ready and the link I found from the University of Missouri Center for Agroforesty was so good and complete I wanted to share it with you as quickly as possible.


This will save you a lot of  trial and error! I get so excited when I find a study like this. The first thing I think is: “WOW, this is all I need to get the job done right!” You will want to keep this material in a safe place or just come back to our site anytime. According to what I’ve seen online, this material is worth a two-day workshop that costs about $800.  First, a few thoughts about why growing mushrooms is such a fantastic opportunity.


Shiitake Mushroom


Other common name(s): Japanese mushroom, Black Forest mushroom, golden oak mushroom, oakwood mushroom


Scientific/medical name(s): Lentinus edodes, Lentinula edodes



Description and remarkable healing properties

A shiitake mushroom is an edible fungus native to Asia and is grown in forests. Shiitake mushrooms are the second most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. Extracts from the mushroom, and sometimes the whole dried mushroom, are used in herbal remedies.


Studies in animals have found antitumor, cholesterol-lowering, and virus-inhibiting effects in shiitake mushrooms. However, clinical studies are needed to determine whether these properties can help people with cancer and other diseases. It is reasonable to include shiitake mushrooms as part of a balanced diet.


How is it promoted for use?

Shiitake mushrooms are promoted to fight the development and progression of cancer and AIDS by boosting the body’s immune system. These mushrooms are also said to help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and to help treat infections such as hepatitis by producing interferon, a group of natural proteins that stops viruses from multiplying. Promoters claim that eating both the cap and stem of the mushroom may be helpful, but they do not say how much must be eaten to have an effect. They say the strength and effects of the mushroom depend on how it is prepared and consumed.


Promoters claim that shiitake mushrooms contain several compounds with health benefits. A compound called lentinan is believed to stop or slow tumor growth. Another component, activated hexose-containing compound (also known as 1,3-beta glucan), is also said to reduce tumor activity and lessen the side effects of cancer treatment. The mushrooms also contain the compound eritadenine, which is thought to lower cholesterol by blocking the way cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream. These claims are currently being studied.



Shiitake are native to Japan, China and Korea and have been grown in all three countries since prehistoric times. The oldest record regarding the shiitake mushroom dates back to AD 199 at the time of Emperor Chūai in Japan. They have been cultivated for over 1,000 years. The first written record of shiitake cultivation can be traced to Wu Sang Kwuang in China, born during the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1127).[5]


During the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368–1644), physician Wu Juei wrote that the mushroom could be used not only as a food but as a medicinal mushroom, taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost qi, or life energy. It was also believed to prevent premature aging.


The Japanese cultivated the mushroom by cutting shii trees with axes and placing the logs by trees that were already growing shiitake or contained shiitake spores. Before 1982, the Japanese variety of these mushrooms could only be grown in traditional locations using ancient methods. In 1982, Gary F. Leatham published an academic paper based on his research on the budding and growth of the Japan Islands variety; the work helped make commercial cultivation possible in the United States.


Shiitake mushrooms


The PDF is by far the best material I have found to date. If you’d like to learn the details of how to grow mushrooms with these properties, click on this link: Growing Skiitake mushrooms in an Agroforestry practice.


Hope you enjoyed this post. Let us know what you think. This is NOT as hard as some may think. Give it a try, start small and enjoy the journey.


Yours for sustainability,


John Musser





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