Making a shiitake kit sustainable

Runs With Scissors gozer at
Wed Nov 20 02:10:13 EST 1996


I am the pleasantly surprised new owner of a shiitake kit.  I notice
from the instructions that after a few flushes the kit will be used up.
I'm wondering if there is some way to take a piece of the kit (which
looks like a huge block of smooshed-together popcorn but is apparently
some kind of sawdust) part-way through and put it in a new environment 
and keep getting mushrooms. 

1) Is this practical?
2) What kind of stuff (wood?  sawdust?) do shiitakes prefer?
2.5) Will they accept anything besides wood/sawdust (like ponderosa
   pine needles?  :-) )
3) Should I take a part from the outside, the inside of the original
   block, or doesn't it matter?
4) Should I chop up the piece and distribute it into the new "bed"
   or stick it in whole?
5) Will stealing a piece upset the mycelium growing in the block in
   any way?

I've read a little bit about mushroom cultivation but most of the
material I have seen has been outdoors using logs.  I don't have
the time or inclination to grow more mushrooms than I can eat.  
If I could keep this kit going indoors and get a few mushrooms
every few weeks I will be perfectly happy.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.  

George Ozer

PS: If shiitakes are picky about what they grow on and it is 
something really weird and hard to find, pointers about where to
get some would also be highly appreciated!

PPS: I live in a rural area in the foothills of the Sierra-Nevadas,
and have access to lots of oak, cedar, and pine stuff, in case one 
of those is a suitable food for my decomposing buddies.  It is 
possible to grow shiitakes in regular old compost?

Q: Commander Riker!  What is best in life?           <PGP email welcome>
A: To smirk at your enemies; to see them shift uneasily about before you; 
   and to hear the lamentation of Wesley Crusher.

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