Mushroom totem

Mushroom totem

A mushroom totem is easy to make and looks nice in the garden!

A mushroom totem is a stack of large diameter logs that produces mushrooms for several years. Various mushrooms, such as oyster mushrooms, yellow oyster, lion’s mane, and king oyster mushrooms work well with this method.

After assembly, a mushroom totem doesn’t need any care if it’s placed in a shaded, wind-protected area where rain can naturally water the soil and the totem itself.

Between all the log pieces is a layer of mushroom mycelium, which will eventually colonize the entire totem. In our online store, you can find various totem spawn products and spent substrate for mushroom beds that are suitable for mushroom totems. You can also use the contents of your Growkit for the totem after harvesting.

How to assemble a mushroom totem


Spawn available in our webstore

A large diameter piece of hardwood

(Chain) saw


A big paper or plastic bag or (biodegradable) tape

Piece of brown cardboard


 Cut the log

into three parts

A suitable log should be at least 20 cm in diameter and 50-100 cm long. Check which way the log stands more stably. First, saw a 5-10 cm thick disc from the top of the log to use as the totem’s cap, then saw the remaining log into two or three equal parts of around 30 cm long. Much longer pieces are not recommended but may still work.  

Water all the log pieces before assembling the mushroom totem.

The mushrooms in our selection grow best on hardwood.


Choose the place

Assemble the base of the totem

The best place for a mushroom totem is a moist and shady spot where it can stay for several years. Depending on the mushroom species, the totem may start producing mushrooms in the first year, but the first harvest might come only the second year.

Place a piece of cardboard or newspaper on a flat spot where you will assemble the mushroom totem. The piece should be larger than the diameter of the totem.

Moisten the cardboard and crumble a layer of mushroom mycelium about 1-2 cm thick on top of it.


If you’re growing mushroom totems on a balcony or under a roof, it’s advisable to place them in a container or box filled with sand and water them at least when it rains outside.


Assemble the totem

Fill the Gaps with Mushroom Spawn

Place the bottom piece of the log upright on top of the cardboard covered with spawn. Moisten the sawed surface of the log and crumble another layer of mushroom spawn, 1-2 centimeters thick, on top of it.

Press the next piece of the log onto the previous one, moisten it, and add mushroom spawn on top as before. Finally, press the thinnest disc on top of it to serve as the cap of the totem. Water the entire totem thoroughly.

Use only one species of mushroom for each totem!


Cover the totem

to keep the mycelium protected and prevent it from drying out

Place a garbage bag or a large paper bag upside down over the entire mushroom totem and leave it until the mycelium has colonized the wood. Covering the totem protects the mycelium and creates a good, moist growing environment for it.

Remove the bag after 1-2 months.

If you prefer not to use a bag, you can tape the gaps between the logs filled with mycelium, for example, with biodegradable grafting tape. You can use any other tape, but remember to remove the tape after a few months to prevent it from becoming litter in nature.


Harvest the mushrooms

as they mature

For example oyster mushrooms should be harvested within a week of the tiny mushroom cluster appearing. The mushroom totem will continue to produce mushrooms for several years as long as the conditions are favorable.

The mushroom totem may not need to be watered if it receives enough moisture from rain and the ground. If you choose to water the totems, once a month is usually sufficient in Finland.