Growing Mushrooms

29/03/2023

I love mushrooms and whilst the conditions are important, once you have the right environment they don't require as much care as a lot of other vegetables.

Before we get into how to grow mushrooms I should say that you must know what you are growing, whilst it is possible to collect spores from mushrooms in the field (see below) Many mushrooms are poisoness, for instance you certainly wouldn't want to be eating anything that looked like my blog picture.

Growing mushrooms requires a dark humid environment and not many places will be suitable year round without some modification. Insulated roof spaces or under house crawl spaces are options that can be made suitable.

Growing mushrooms requires a specific set of conditions such as temperature, humidity, and medium. The ideal temperature for most mushrooms is between 13-27°C (55-80°F) while the ideal humidity is around 85%. A good medium for growing mushrooms typically contains a mixture of materials such as straw, sawdust, or compost, depending on the type of mushroom. A bad medium can contain mold or bacteria which can negatively impact the growth of the mushrooms.

Humidity does impact growing rates as mushrooms require high humidity to fruit. However, higher humidity also increases the risk of disease, so proper ventilation and sanitation are important.

Mushrooms can be grown in a variety of locations around a typical home such as a basement, garage, or even a closet with the proper conditions. Spores can be harvested by carefully removing the mushroom cap and collecting the spores that fall on a piece of paper or glass slide.

The basic steps to grow mushrooms are the same for most types of mushrooms:

  • Purchase spawn (mushroom spores) from a reputable supplier
  • Sterilize a growing medium, such as straw or compost
  • Mix the spawn with the growing medium
  • Place the mixture in a tray or container
  • Harvest the mushrooms once they reach maturity
  • Keep humidity around 85

Tempreature in particular can vary e.g. 

  • Button mushrooms: keep the mixture at a temperature of 13-15°C (55-60°F)
  • Oyster mushrooms: Keep the mixture at a temperature of 15-21°C (60-70°F) 
  • Shataki mushrooms: Keep the mixture at a temperature of 21-27°C (70-80°F)

Please note that these are general instructions and you may want to look for more specific instructions for the type of mushroom you are growing.

Collecting mushroom spores

Collecting spores from a mushroom is a simple process that can be done at home. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose a mature mushroom: Look for a mature mushroom with a cap that has opened up and is shedding spores.
  2. Place the mushroom: Place the mushroom on a piece of paper or glass surface with the cap facing down. A glass surface is preferred as it will allow you to see the spores more clearly.
  3. Cover the mushroom: Cover the mushroom with a glass or bowl to create a small, enclosed space. This will help prevent airflow from disturbing the spores.
  4. Wait: Leave the mushroom undisturbed for several hours or overnight. During this time, the mushroom will release its spores onto the paper or glass surface.
  5. Collect the spores: After waiting, carefully remove the glass or bowl from the mushroom. You should see a fine layer of spores on the paper or glass surface. Use a clean, dry paintbrush or cotton swab to gently collect the spores.
  6. Store the spores: Transfer the spores to a clean, dry container for storage. A small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid works well for this purpose.

Remember that collecting spores from mushrooms can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it is important to exercise caution when handling mushrooms. Some mushrooms can be toxic, so be sure to identify your mushroom before collecting spores.


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