Jack O'Lantern mushrooms (scientific name Omphalotus olearius) are toxic gilled fungi that are commonly mistaken for…
There are many reasons you might wish to grow your own mushrooms; you might not want to forage for them or perhaps you’re dubious about the origin of ones sold in stores.
Cultivating your own mushrooms allows you to control what conditions your mushrooms grow in and also select what species you want, not just what’s available at a market or store. You can decide to grow highly medicinal mushrooms or ones with the best taste, it’s your choice and you can be sure of what you’re getting. One option is to use a mushroom grow kit which provides everything you need or you can obtain each item individually as outlined in this article.
Below are the steps required to grow your own mushrooms:-
- Choose a species
- Get the spawn for cultivation
- Select your substrate
- Plant your spawn
- Harvest your mushrooms
Choose A Species
Choosing a species is partly determined by what type of mushroom you like to eat – some of the most commonly-grown mushrooms are listed here:-
Oyster mushrooms are rated amongst the best species to start with since they grow quite quickly and are tolerant of most conditions.
Get The Spawn For Cultivation
After selecting what species you want to cultivate, the next step is getting its spawn (for example Shiitake spawn). There are a few ways you could get access to mushroom spawn, the easiest is purchasing it. You can order your mushroom spawn from an online marketer or you could get some in stores that have them available. This method is easy and advisable for a beginner.
Someone with more experience in the field could cultivate spawn themselves from a spore from an existing mushroom. This process is quite difficult and time-consuming, but low-priced.
Select Your Substrate
Now that you have the spawn, the next question is “what do I grow it in?”. The answer is to cultivate mushrooms on a substrate – typically pasteurized straw, or hardwood sawdust, or coffee grounds, or manure.
For Oyster mushrooms the substrate can be a wide range of materials such as cardboard, corn cobs, wood shavings, wood pellets, and paper bags. There are substrates which can be purchased specifically for Oyster mushrooms.
Treat the substrate before use. There are different treatments such as lime baths, cold fermentation, and stovetop pasteurization.
Plant Your Spawn
Start to grow the mushrooms by inoculating the spawn. Inoculation is the word used for sowing mushroom spawn – the process involves using a warmed-up syringe to inject the spawn into the substrate and can be complicated.
For Oyster mushrooms, the process of inoculation is a lot easier – mix your spawn with the moistened substrate, measure the mix out into cultivation bags and spread the bags out on a growing surface. Then incubate the substrate mix bags until the mixture turns all white.
Bore a hole in each bag for oxygen and a little bit of light to flow in for the mixture. Oyster mushrooms can grow in temperatures ranging from 50-80 Fahrenheit (10-27 Celsius).
Harvest Your Own Mushrooms
Your mushrooms should fruit in about a week. You’ll know when the mushrooms are ready to be harvested when they stop growing any bigger. In the case of oysters, when its cap starts flattening it can then be harvested. Collect and enjoy!
The growing process might be a little tedious, but taking it step by step makes it a whole lot easier. After a while, you can even decide to challenge yourself with some of the more difficult to grow species. For more information on the growing process see this guide to cultivating mushrooms.
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