How To Grow Mushrooms At Home

Growing edible mushrooms at home is not rocket science. In fact, you can start growing mushrooms within the next few weeks if you start preparing the substrate and cultures today. Unlike more traditional agricultural practices that involve herbs, fruit trees, vegetables, etc., mushroom farming is anything but difficult.

The reason for this is quite simple: unlike plants, fungi is extremely resilient and it can literally take care of itself if ideal conditions are attained. A single batch of inoculated wood chips can yield mushrooms for years at a time.

And the best thing about this is you can easily increase the total mushroom yield by producing/purchasing viable spawn. If you are like most mushroom enthusiasts, you are probably drawn to the idea of producing your own pure mushroom culture. This is done by adding mycelium to a sterile base that has been supplemented with the necessary nutrients.

The culturing process is actually the time-consuming part of the whole process. You need to check the agar media for contaminations and you would also have to cross-check the appearance of the mycelium growing on your petri dishes to ensure that you are not growing the mycelium of some wild fungi.

Why is culturing performed? Culturing is performed to produce viable mycelium that would then colonize the sterilized material that would later become the spawn or "seeds" that would then be used to inoculate the substrate. Culturing might be hard work but it really does pay off because once you have healthy batches of pure culture you can just store the cultures in a freezer for later use.

Let's talk about the substrate that you will be using to grow your mushrooms. In most cases, you would probably need some form of loose substrate like straw or husks. Some edible mushrooms like the shiitake mushroom) would only grow on organic or synthetic logs.

These edible can only be grown properly if sawdust or plug spawn are used. There are several ways that you can incorporate sawdust spawn or plug spawn into an organic or synthetic log. The most common method is drilling large holes into the wood.

A hand injector is then used to directly apply the sawdust spawn into the wood. If the mushroom farmer has opted for plug spawn, the wooden plugs are simply hammered into the holes and then sealed with a special wax. Some mushroom farmers saw out small wedges from shorter cuts of wood.

The resulting space is then filled with sawdust spawn and then sealed once again with the wedge of wood. Of course, you can drill holes in smaller logs and use plug spawn instead of sawdust spawn. Sawdust spawn requires extra care so if you are pressed for time, use plug spawn instead.

Mushroom varieties like the oyster mushroom do well if they are grown in bottle or plastic bags. The plastic bags are filled to the brim with inoculated substrate and then left in a temperature-controlled growing area. The humidity of the growing area should be controlled through misting or by installed a centralized humidifying system.

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