Photo: Pakutaso
national

Japanese farmers using hammers to grow more mushrooms

13 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In Japan, there’s an image of elegance, some might even say nobility, associated with farming. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to go all that far back in Japan’s history to find a time when the country was still overwhelmingly agrarian, or perhaps it’s a carryover from Shinto beliefs about the divinity present in nature.

Regardless of the reason, though, Japan’s popular image of farmers is of people who work in reverent harmony with nature, delivering the fruits of their respectful labor to the nation’s dinner tables. So it’s a little jarring to learn that in one part of Japan, farmers aren’t just delicately sifting the soil, but smacking things with hammers.

This technique is spreading among growers of shiitake mushrooms in Oita Prefecture, on Japan’s southwest island of Kyushu. A unique aspect of shiitake it that they won’t grow on the ground. Instead, shiitake need a tree trunk in order to form (or “fruit,” to use the technical verb).

▼ As we learned when we grew some shiitake of our own.

SH-3.jpeg
Photo: SoraNews24

Shiitake growers can roughly predict when shiitake are going to start fruiting, and they’ve found that a simple and effective way to increase their yields is to spray the log with water about two weeks ahead of time, then grab a hammer and bang on the wood.

Strange as it may sound, the technique has been a bit of folk wisdom for some time, and the Oita Prefectural Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Research Guidance Center recently confirmed that hammer time really does help lead to mushroom time.

Last month, the organization conducted an experiment, comparing the effects of hitting a log with a hammer versus leaving it un-smacked, and found that the wood that had been hammered subsequently produced more than twice as much shiitake (by weight). The center recommends farmers strike the log five times on one side, and then five more on the opposite side, adding that the most effective striking spot is on the bark of the log, away from its flat-cut edges.

Researchers aren’t sure why violence is the answer, except that subjecting the wood to vibrations somehow enhances shiitake formation on the log, and that hammering applies the necessary reverberations. The center hopes that greater adoption of the technique will lead to greater productivity for existing shiitake farmers and encourage newcomers to the profession, though it may or may not provide a plausible alibi during traffic stops.

Source: The Japan Agricultural News via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Oh shiitake! How to grow your own with Japan’s super-easy mushroom cultivation kit【Photos】

-- Japan’s ‘agri-tech’ farming revolution

-- Mysterious bags of Japanese mushroom snacks are hard to get, create intrigue online

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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I saw this on TV about a week ago. It would be interesting to find the biological reason.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

From the Indigenous & First Peoples of the North American continent, to the Greeks, to the Celts, many cultures across the world have used knocking on wood to either evoke good fortune from the gods residing within or, the warn off as and expel those with evil intent.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's very interesting however its called a mallet not a hammer.

According to a documentary i watched the pounding contributes to the formation of new fruiting by simulating the falling of trees , a kind of harmonic resonance so to speak

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As far as the science of the practice @Paul 9:49am, suspect the hammer blows to both sides may be compressing & releasing trapped water in the tree’s cellulose fibers and thus, releasing any mycelium & spores trapped inside.

*- @Paul 9:49am: “I saw this on TV about a week ago. It would be interesting to find the biological reason.”*

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Actual ‘science’ yet still sounds quite “poetic@Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne 10:27am. - Well said, sir.

“…the falling of trees , a kind of harmonic resonance…”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@snowy

Likewise well said.

I wild harvest Japanese Reishi and turkey tail and black ear fungus and and make extract.

Eat store bought mushrooms almost everyday.

Japan has excellent quality mushrooms .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The center recommends farmers strike the log five times on one side, and then five more on the opposite side, adding that the most effective striking spot is on the bark of the log, away from its flat-cut edges

Maybe striking the bark causes it to break up more, giving more crevices for the mushrooms spoors to grow in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

♫If I had a hammer♫

♫I'd hammer the shitakes♫

♫I'd hammer the shimejis♫

♫All over this laaa-aaand♫

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That was headline to wait for.... beating the mushrooms into submission! Actually, the content of the article was interesting. Would be interesting to know why this works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very ‘progressive’ of you @garypen 3:45pm. Should pass on this cultivation technique to every Peter, Paul and Mary and people can start being more self-sufficient.

@garypen 3:45pm:

♫If I had a hammer♫

♫I'd hammer the shitakes♫

♫I'd hammer the shimejis♫

♫All over this laaa-aaand♫

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Two things are going on. The vibration can cause breakage at the hairy little ends of the hyphae... which is good. Like a pruning or a haircut it stimulates growth. Also, the striking of the tree tissue can fractures in desiccated cellulose in deadfall - fallen trees which opens pathways for more hyphae. Striking a living tree can stimulate phloem circulation. My favorite thing to do is sit next to and also hug trees. I'm gonna go do that right now

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The wood can be dangerous. Must be daylight where you are now @Yvonne 8:58pm. And, watch out for bares; Sapporo has had a problem with them lately.

Back on topic, “Thanks” for putting ‘scientific terms’ to the ‘general ideas of what & why’ expressed earlier.

@Yvonne 8:58pm: “My favorite thing to do is sit next to and also hug trees. I'm gonna go do that right now.” -

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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