Best Mushroom Growing Steps
If you have some spare area in an outhouse or even in your cellar or garage, you can utilize it for mushroom growing, which are tasty, nutritious and a great source of organic protein. Remember that food that you grow yourself will always be guaranteed to be free of harmful fertilizers and pesticides, as well as of all the subtle array of bio-chemicals that commercial food providing companies today use to maximize yields. If you're at all conscious of the food you eat, and if you want it to be healthful, then you could do worse than growing your own food.
Growing your own food ensures that not only will the food be healthful, but also that you can maximize yields by providing the best possible growth environment for the food you're growing. This is especially true with mushrooms. If you go in for mushroom growing and get the growth environment right, you can have enormous yields. Of course you can go in for commercial growth medium, but these things are best created yourself. And it's not difficult. So if you want to get started growing mushrooms, what would you need?
Well, first of all, to best use the space you have available, I would suggest that you get yourself some shelving. This can also be made oneself. Then you need a large number of flat trays in which you will actually plant the mushrooms. Of course the length and breadth of these trays will be based upon the space you have available, and the size of tray that will best make use of that space, but as a general rule, don't purchase any tray that might potentially be too hard to lift. The trays should also as a general rule not be any deeper than four inches. See if you can get a good deal on a larger number of trays at your usual gardening store - trays like these are often used for seedlings.
Once you have your trays, fill them with growth mixture and add in mushroom spore or spawn flakes, which are easily available in gardening stores, or on the internet. Water the mixture carefully, and the mushrooms will start putting out their mycelia, which is a sort of fungal root. Once this happens, keep watering at least twice a day, preferably with a mist-spray, until the young mushrooms start to appear.
Once you reach this point, you need to stop watering while the mushrooms mature. Once they reach the size that you need, you can harvest them. This is all you need to know to go in for mushroom growing.
Mushroom growing is very easy when you know exactly what you're doing, and it's not difficult to learn the various steps involved in the process. Now, the basics of preparing growth medium and containers has been covered below, but the actual basics of how to plant and care for mushrooms will be covered in detail in the course of this series, stay tuned, and if you haven’t joined my newsletter, please do, as you will get early access and an inside look at all my current grows.
You will most likely buy mushroom spores or spawn when you first learn to grow mushrooms, and before you learn to harvest the spores from mushroom caps for yourself. Now, there are two types of this spawn available. It is available in flakes, but it is also available in bricks as well. How you plant the spores or spawn depends on what sort that you buy. I would suggest, if you're thinking of planting mushrooms regularly, that you buy and plant both types, and see what works better for you.
If you buy and plant both types, there are very different methods of planting them. The bricks need to be broken into chunks, each about one inch in diameter. These chunks are put into the growing medium, spaced about half a food from each other. You need to make holes about an inch or two deep before you put these chunks in. Flakes are mixed right into the growth medium. Take about a quart of these flakes and spread them over fifteen square feet, and continue until you have the growth medium evenly covered. You need to mix these into the growth medium while doing this.
Make sure that the flakes are not visible on the surface of the growth medium. Whether you use chunks or flakes, the next steps to mushroom growing are the same. You spray a mist of water on to the mixture regularly, and keep it in the dark. Soon the mushroom spawn will begin to put out mycelia, which are the fungal version of roots. Once these are out, the mushrooms will really start to grow. As a matter of fact, in time you will see an intricate web of these pale white mycelia form.
Slightly increasing the temperature to about sixty five degrees Fahrenheit in this time will encourage growth. Remember to water daily. In a few weeks you should be able to see the mushrooms. You should not water in the period between when the mushrooms appear and the harvest. You can harvest mushrooms when they are either very small, or when they mature. Just use a sharp knife to harvest each mature mushroom, and there'll soon be another mushroom growing in its place.
We've gone over a lot of great information at this point. Using the previous blog posts I can guarantee your mushrooms will grow successfully. This is the simplest route to grow, I assure you.
After collecting all required materials ( that I've conveniently listed for you in the resources section) you'll adhere to good sanitation efforts. At the time of this writing COVID-19 is in full tilt so adherence to sanitary methods is an absolute must.
You'll mix Vermiculite and brown rice flower at a 2 cup:1 cup ratio and add 1 cup of water for every cup of brown rice flower. Your mixture will be placed in your mason jars to create BRF cakes.
These sealed jars will be placed in your pressure cooker for further sterilization.
Allow jars to cool and innoculate.
Typically there's a 3 week wait until colonization
Remove the cakes from the jars
Place in Fruiting chamber.
Now, I have gone over a well detailed process for growing your mushrooms, but there's so much more to learn.
How about additional methods?
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Ladies and Gentlemen, for the moment you've all been waiting for. After about a week you'll be ready for harvest (it depends on the mushrooms you're growing, see directions specific to your spores). The process is simple, grab the mushroom by the base, slightly twist and pull. You now have mushrooms. Although totally optional, I recommend using a food scale to measure how much you've harvested, if you're looking to do this consistently it'll be good to track how much you're able to harvest off of each cake. I've listed our household food scale in the resources section.
Now again, depending on the mushrooms you're growing, harvest times vary. Also, some mushrooms are best eaten dehydrated, all depends.
Your cakes are not yet spent, you have the option to re-soak your cakes and redo the fruiting process off of your cakes. When your mushrooms grow shriveled and small or signs of contamination are present, then, your cakes are no longer usable. I've gotten 3 full harvests off of one cake, so once you've reached this point you'll be good for a while. Congratulations!
Very soon you will have harvested your very first mushrooms. To recap, you have now completed your 12 hour soak, and your cakes are ready to begin growing. Get your sanitizer out (Isopropyl alcohol). For this step you will need 3 things, a humidifier, a storage container, and a small light you can place inside (and of course your isopropyl alcohol to sterilize but that should be a given at this point). First, sterilize your humidifier and storage container, all areas, give it a good wipe down. Second, place your humidifier in your container, this will provide the moisture content needed for fruiting. Lastly, place your cakes in your fruiting chamber. The humidifier will provide plenty of moisture but it may be beneficial to open up the fruiting chamber and spray the cakes down with your pure water as well. Additionally, as a personal measure, I also take the time to wipe down any standing water building up within the chamber. This is just asking for mold which can potentially contaminate your grow. This process typically takes a week
You can find the humidifier I use in the resources section.
You're almost there. The three week colonization period is now over, you have substrate completely covering the inside of the jars, from here on, your vermiculite/brown rice mixture covered in substrate shall be called "cakes". You are ready for soaking. What is soaking? You will first need to first remove your "cakes"from the jar, substrate and all.*REMINDER* SANITIZE YOUR HANDS AND PUT ON GLOVES. Remove the lid, flip the jar upside down, and beat the bottom of the jars like those glass ketchup bottles growing up. It's not uncommon for this to be a stubborn task, so don't be afraid use a STERILIZED knife or something similar to break the cake free.
You've got all your cakes free, great work! So what now? Now take your high quality water (any high ph water will do) and fill a container (such as a pot) high enough that you can fully submerge your cakes. Please note that they will want to float, so you'll likely need to use something, such as a plate, to place on top of them and keep them submerged. Again, as with anything coming in contact with your growing process, sterilize the plate and pot with isopropyl alcohol(found in the resources tab or any local store ever). Once your cakes are fully submerged, leave them there for 12 hours.
Resources for this step:
(Found in resources section)
-High Ph water
(Normal Household Items)
-Plate (or anything to weigh down the cakes
-Experiences with glass ketchup bottles
At this point (if you're following along) you should have a sterilized jar of vermiculite & brown rice flower mixture that has small holes punched into the top for air exchange as well as injection of the spores (injecting the spores is referred to as inoculation). Now it's time to incubate your spores and allow for colonization. Don't worry, the hardest part is behind you. All you need to do for this, is take your jars (REMEMBER TO STERILIZE YOUR HANDS) and place them into a storage bin/area (what's important here is you're able to control the environment. For the incubation and subsequent colonization the goal is to keep the jars in a dark place and the temperature below 70 degrees. This process takes around 3 weeks, After 3 weeks, you'll see a sort of white film has formed all along the wall of the jars (pictured below) this is referred to as the substrate. Any bin will do to accomplish this step, but you can find the one I use in the resources section of this page.
Snow we're getting down to the nitty gritty. If you're following along, you should have already mixed your vermiculite, brown rice and water, as well have sterilized your containers. Allow your jars to cool for 12-24 hows prior to inoculation, otherwise you can compromise the grow. With a tac or something similar, poke 5 holes in the lid, this will serve as both your injection port and air exchange to allow colonization. REMINDER, STERILIZE YOUR HANDS AND TOOLS. I'll remind you throughout the process. Now that your holes are punched, time to inject, typically I inject 5ml per 8oz jar. Now, you're probably wondering, "wait, where do I get my spores?" Good question, the answer is, I get mine from mushrooms.com. This website is all inclusive. Every spore print. Every mushroom you could ever want, as well as meal guides and ideas ( which I've made great use of).
Get your spores => HERE
This is arguably the most critical phase of your grow. If you contaminate the batch, there's simply no coming back. Let's get started.
Although not required, highly recommended. Handling surfaces with gloves provides an added layer of protection and sanitation when growing your mushrooms. Any non powdered latex gloves will do. I get mine right off amazon. (See Below)
Even with gloves on and a seemingly clean working area, it's important to take steps to make sure all surfaces are disinfected. For this, I use 70% isopropyl alcohol. You are going to want to wipe down ALL working surfaces with this, a good way I think about it is imagining all the surfaces have poop, so give it a good wipe down. I get mine from any local store ( and it's a common household item I recommend keeping on hand anyway).
Container for inoculation
For this method of growing, the best container to use is a mason jar, once mixed, you'll pack your vermiculite/brown rice mixture into the mason jar, and then sterilize your newly formed base PRIOR TO INOCULATION (we will cover this more in depth later). Any size will do. I recently got these mason jars from amazon and so far they've worked out very well.
Mixing bowl and Aluminum foil
I'm not going to go into depth on these two, especially since the mixing bowl should be fairly self-evident. The aluminum foil is going to add an additional layer of protection to the mason jar's integrity as we move into sterilization.
Although throughout the process you will be maintaining a sterile workplace, you'll still need to take this one, final step to bring it all together. Once the mason jars are filled and covered with aluminum foil, you'll be placing them into a pressure cooker to sterilize the mixture (remember, we sanitized the surfaces, not the mixture). I, personally, did not own a pressure cooker with I came around to my first grow, So I went out and bought the cheapest one I can find. Grab yours below.
When colonizing and subsequently growing mushrooms, probably one of the most important steps to take is having the right food sources. Just like there are countless spores and mushrooms to choose from, obviously there's also a wide array of food sources best suited for each mushroom. For my grows, I like to use organic brown rice flower as a food source. In my experience this is the best food source for most mushrooms. When used in conjunction with organic vermiculite, the brown rice flower with provide a stable food source, a stable growing surface and an all together smooth grow. I've seen various combinations of vermiculite to brown rice flower ratio, But a 2:1 ratio, vermiculite to brown rice has worked best for me, once obtained, mix the two together and combine 1 cup of water for every cup of brown rice flower. Below is my favorite brown rice flour, pick yours up at Amazon today.
Hey how're you? Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. My name is Emmanuel. I hail from State College, PA. I grew up always enjoying the outdoors, it's so peaceful isn't it? Even though I wasn't good at growing at first, I stuck with it, I honestly just wanted the satisfaction of creating something. In 2012 I joined the NAVY, and for years I got away from my passion, and really didn't like my job anyway. So, after a while I decided to jump back into it, and thus was born, "Growers Unite". In here I'll cover all the fundamentals, tips, tricks and my own trials and tribulations, lets get started.