Time for a soak: week 36

At the end of August there is a touch of autumn in the air and it is a good time to start the bathing schedule of the shii-take logs. The young logs that have been innoculated in spring a year before get their first ever deep water experience.  Some logs remain naked despite their refreshing two day dip and have to be given another bath in six weeks time. Other logs are more spontaneous and produce an extravagant number of well developped mushrooms without any effort at all. A number of logs are so enthousiastic that they exhibit their mushroom finery after a rainshower without even having had one toe in the water.  These logs are extra special because they are so productive and can expect their first bath later in the season.
A bath is not just a bath when working with shii-take logs. It has to be deep enough so that the water can completely cover the logs and obviously long enough for the logs to lie in as well. A plug or other emptying system is necessary so that the water can be emptied and refreshed after a number of soakings. A bathtub is great for up to 10 logs with a length up to 1 meter and looks very romantic under the trees in a forest. A childrens paddling pool works as well if the height is at least 20 cm and wide enough for the logs to fit in snugly. A tarpaulen in the pool to protect the plastic from the remains of  sharp branches completes the picture. An secondhand 1 x 1 x 1 container (usually from the food industry) is great to use when quite a few logs with a length up to 90 cm have to be soaked all at once. The only disadvantage with this system is that the container may have to be cleaned thoroughly before use. Serious log farmers can build, buy or borrow a large metal or plastic (storage) container for the soaking of 50 logs at one time. A lot of water is needed but it remains quite cold for a number of weeks and that is just what a shii-take log needs to wake up the mycelium.



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