In order to grow mushrooms, you will need to know the basic process, conditions for growing, environmental conditions and several other factors. The general process of growing mushrooms is as follows:
The first thing to do is to procure spores or spawns of the mushroom you want to grow. spores or spawns are also known as agar cultures or test tube cultures. You can either make it yourself or purchase it from a supplier.
Step two… Prepare some sawdust or sterilized grain and inject the spores into the sterilized grain so that mushroom spawns can form. Spawns can also be purchased from suppliers.
Step Three… Depending on what type of mushrooms you are wanting to grow will most likely determine what materials you will need. Various strains of mushrooms grow better in soil while others prefer woody materials like straw, wood chips and even tree stumps and logs.
Step Four… use the spawns to activate the growth of mycelium, the fibrous network of mushrooms. For mushrooms that grow in soil, it is best to use compost to feed the mushrooms because they need to gather nutrients from a source because they can’t make their own food since they have no chlorophyll.
Step Five… you will need to layer the compost with material that does not have a lot of nutrients, like peat moss. The purpose of this is to encourage the growth of the mushrooms or fruiting bodies. The top layer will retain moisture while preventing the growth of other bacteria and/or unwanted microorganisms, therefore the reason why you want to use something that has little to no nutrients to avoid the growth of other organisms.
Finally, all you do is wait until the first flush appears then you can harvest and enjoy your edible mushrooms. Usually that happens within a few weeks and every additional flush occurs within 10 or so days. In the meantime you should be aware of keeping the compost bed moist and within the optimal growing temperature. You can get about 3-5 flushes before you will need to buy a new kit. This applies mainly to soil based mushrooms. A mushroom log can last much longer.
The strain of mushrooms you choose to grow will most likely determine which steps you must go through and which you can skip. For beginners and novices it would be best to experiment with a mushroom grow kit to avoid some of the earlier steps which require more work and attention.
You now have a basic knowledge of the process of how to grow mushrooms. It can be a rewarding experience if you take the time to learn how to grow your own mushrooms. Here’s to a successful first harvest!