On Thursday, Nov. 10, the Braxton/Clay Extension Master Gardeners met at the Big Otter Volunteer Fire Department for a workshop on growing shiitake mushrooms. Clay County FFA officers presented information on growing and cultivating mushrooms to replicate natural growing conditions and then assisted with inoculating logs.
The logs were 6-8 inches round and about 3 feet long, with species including white oak and maple. Logs are cut then cured for approximately two weeks prior to drilling holes to inoculate with spawn plugs. The plugs were inserted using hammers and mallets, and then sealed with wax. The logs should be stored in a dark, moist location out of sunlight. The spawn will grow in the logs throughout the winter, and in spring, we’ll hopefully see white mycelium on the log ends. A flush of mushrooms can be encouraged by soaking the log for 8-12 hours to replicate typhoon conditions, and within 10 days, there will be the fruiting bodies of shiitake mushrooms.
After the conclusion of the workshop, the Braxton/Clay EMG had a business meeting and voted Dawn Lucas as the 2023 Braxton County Extension Master Gardener of the year. Awards were presented for volunteer service, with our local chapter donating the equivalent of over $33,000 in hours.
A new slate of officers was also approved as follows: President Vicki Pierson, Vice President Christi Boggs, Secretary Aine Slabaugh, and Treasurer Suzie Legg.
Master Gardener training classes are offered online in both spring and fall. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer Extension Master Gardener, please contact the WVU Braxton County Extension Service at 304-765-2809 or the Clay County Extension Service at 304-587-4267.