This is partially a follow up to my earlier question: Sustainably grown white button mushrooms at home; what sort of material to use?
It appears that manure might be the best medium for growing button mushrooms, so to make use of what I have available (no composted manure readily available) I'm considering trying to grow some shiitake mushrooms in some moist branches/logs instead.
There's lots of information out there on how to do it by drilling holes in the moist wood and inserting commercially produced dowels, but as soon as I added "without dowels" (quotes included) to the search I got nothing, except for one case where someone had tried it but failed to post their results.
What are my chances of success if I try to grow some shiitake mushrooms using spores from a store-bought pack? Is there any technique I can use that might increase my chances?
In the sole search result mentioned above, the person tried growing some spores on some agar produced from boiled sawdust. Is this a technique that is used commonly?