The Shiitake mushroom is an edible mushroom originating from China which grows from dead logs.
Nevertheless, it's been known worldwide by its Japanese name 'Shiitake' ('shii mushroom', from the Japanese name of the tree that provides the dead logs on which it is typically cultivated). Nowadays, it has been farmed and used in many Asia countries either fresh or dried. It also has become popular in many western countries.
The Shiitake's popularity stems from its culinary importance and the beneficial health properties it has to offer. It also well known for its beauty ingredient in reducing, slowing wrinkles; lifting and firming to reveal healthy, younger looking skin. This mushroom mainly grows indoors at 50-80F temperature, so it's great to plant in the cold season. It just needs water and place in cool dark place. Shiitake mushroom can be collected every 2 weeks and up to 6 months.
The set consists of a plastic bag with a substrate of sawdust. If you see any white-brown bumpy growths, these indicate early mushroom fruition. These bumps will later become the shiitake mushrooms.
CULTIVATION: Remove the plastic bag from the substrate Put the set in daylight for some weeks. A window sill facing north is ideal for this. Wait until + 50% of the surface has turned brown. Put the carton lid on top after you have indented the corners, opened the air holes at the short ends, and removed the inner circle in the top of the lid. You will not be needing the white lid any-more. Immerse the substrate in a bucket filled with cold tap water (24 hours). Lay a heavy object on top of the set to keep it under water. Please note, if mushrooms are already growing on the cultivation set, you may skip the immersion step. Spray the cultivation set at least once a day with a plant spray to prevent it from drying out.
HARVESTING: The harvest period is around one week, and the fully-grown mushrooms have a cap diameter of 4-8cm. After a harvest, let the set rest for at least 15 days. During this rest period, take the set from the window sill and keep it in a place which is neither too dry, nor too hot (a cellar is ideal). After this period, repeat the cycle, starting at point 2. The second harvesting period arrives after 5-10 days. During a period of maximum 6 months, you may have 5 to 8 harvests. Good luck and bon appetit.