Do you love mushrooms but can’t afford the prices from the grocery stores? Are you one of those who find foraging for mushrooms frustrating? Well, that leaves the third option for you, growing your mushroom. Need a guide? Read this made-easy mushroom growing guide for beginners.
Mushroom Growing Guide: The Spawn and The Substrate
What Mushroom Type Should You Grow?
The first question you need to ask yourself is what would you grow. It’s good if you already have a favorite mushroom. But preference is not the only factor here. You need to realize whether you have the capacity and resources to grow that mushroom.
A mushroom’s growth differs depending on the species. There are around 50,000 fungi species out there. Experts categorized these species into 4 Mushroom Categories. The categories depend on how mushrooms get nutrients. Knowing that would help you know if you can grow that mushroom.
For beginners, the recommendation is to begin with Oyster Mushrooms. They are the easiest to grow and a good learning step if you have little to none knowledge of growing mushrooms. Once you get this done, the more challenging species will be a lot easier to grow.
How Can You Obtain the Spawn?
The “spawn” is a growing medium of the mushroom. The cultivation of mushrooms or Fungiculture had been around for years. This resulted in having different methods developed. This makes obtaining mushroom spawn super easy. You can now buy this in stores near you. Buying them online is also an excellent option.
Since you’re a beginner, growing your spawn can be a bit too advanced for you. This will require you to take some difficult steps. One of these steps is getting a spore imprint from a mushroom. But since you’re new to this, getting a pre-inoculated spawn is your best bet.
Which Substrate Should You Use?
The “substrate” is the material you use to grow your mushrooms. After obtaining the mushroom spawn, finding the right substrate is your next step. The substrate will depend on the type of mushroom you are going to grow. If a mushroom growing guide is not included when you bought your spawn, you should do your research.
If by chance you decide to grow Oyster mushrooms indoors, then you have a lot of substrate options. Oyster mushrooms can grow on almost anything. You can grow them on cardboards, paper bags, corn cobs, wood shavings, wood pallets, and many more. Just pick what is most convenient for you.
If you picked a different type, find a mushroom growing guide for that specific mushroom. But take note that whatever substrate you use, you must know that there is a treating process before you can use it. Stove-top pasteurization, lime baths, and cold fermentation are only some of the substrate treating methods.
Mushroom Growing Guide: Planting Your Mushroom
How to Plant And Condition Your Spawn?
As mentioned earlier, spawns are already pre-inoculated. It means your spawn is ready to be planted in your substrate. Inoculation is introducing your spawn to the substrate. If the spawn adapted well to the substrate, the spores will begin to germinate. The mycelium will begin to grow.
Inoculation methods differ depending on the fungi species. Some fungi will need careful inoculation like using a heated syringe to plant the spawn. Others will only need for you to mix the spawn and substrate like the Oyster mushroom.
How to Inoculate Oyster Mushrooms
Mix the substrate and spawn. The substrate should only be moist and not dripping wet.
Scoop the mixture into bags
Spread them out on your growing surface
Incubate the substrate mix until the bag’s contents have turned white.
A tip for inoculation is to do this in a sterile environment. This will prevent molds and other fungi from growing along with your mushrooms.
Incubation is also another important step in planting your mushroom. This is done by putting your substrate in a warm place away from sunlight. This may take weeks or months depending on the fungus.
It is through the incubation phase the mycelium can grow. The mycelium is the bacterium that acts as the plant that bears the fruit which is the mushroom. It looks like a white solid mat. Once the mycelium has covered your substrate, the incubation process ends.
Mushroom Growing Guide: Fruiting and Harvesting The Mushrooms
How Do You Fruit the Mushrooms?
Now, we have reached the easiest stage in growing your mushrooms. This is fruiting your mushroom. Again fruiting procedures depend on what mushrooms you are growing. But if you are growing Oyster Mushrooms, you only need to do two simple steps: Just cut a small slit in the bag for airflow. Then, put the bag in a place where it can get indirect sunlight.
Afterward, you just need to wait. You may want to sprinkle some water every day. But aside from that, you just have to let nature take its course.
When and How To Harvest the Mushrooms?
Mushrooms grow at different rates. Some will grow fully matured in a week. Others will even take months. But this will depend on what mushroom it is and how you cared for it.
As for Oyster mushrooms, it will only take a week for them to begin fruiting. Once the baby mushrooms appear, they will begin doubling in size. When it stops doubling in size, take careful observation of the mushroom caps. If it starts to flatten out, then you can now harvest them.
As you can see, growing your mushrooms is not something instant. Like any other plant, you need to equip yourself with knowledge. Starting easy and small is always the key when you’re just a beginner. Then once you get a hang of it, you can do much more challenging ones.
Another popular way of growing mushrooms is using a mushroom growing kit. You can also buy them in stores or online. They usually include a mushroom growing guide to help you how to grow that specific mushroom.