How to Grow Fresh Mushrooms
Do you love eating mushrooms? Did you know that you can grow fresh mushrooms at home? It's true! In this blog post, we will teach you how to grow your own fresh mushrooms. We will discuss the different types of mushrooms that you can grow, as well as provide some tips on how to get started. What are you waiting for? Start growing your own fresh mushrooms today!
You can grow mushrooms indoors in a spare room or used basement, or even plant them alongside your vegetable garden outside. If growing mushrooms is something that you’ve always wanted to do, there’s no better time to start than right now. Even if you live in an apartment, you’ve got enough space to start growing your own delicious and nutritious mushrooms.
Unlike conventional crops, there isn’t even any messy soil to deal with making them perfect for growing indoors. When growing mushrooms, you are trying to mimic the same life cycle that mushrooms go through in the wild. Understandably we can't replicate everything nature does, but we can try our best to provide optimal nutrition and environmental conditions.
The easiest mushrooms to grow at home are Lion's Mane, Oyster and Button Mushrooms.
Common terms used in Mushroom Cultivation:
Fruiting body: The reproductive structure that produces spores.
Fungi: The plural way to say ‘Fungus’ but also the name of the Scientific Kingdom they are in.
Fungus: Any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes yeasts, molds, truffles, morels and the more familiar mushrooms.
Hyphae: In most fungi, hyphae are the main mode of vegetative growth scouring for water and nutrients.
Monotub: A modified container created for the purpose of growing mushrooms.
Mushroom Spores The reproductive structure of fungi, similar to seeds in the plant kingdom. Two spores need to germinate and connect to produce mycelium and later mushrooms.
Mushroom Liquid Culture: An actively growing mushroom culture suspended in a liquid substrate. Starting with a liquid culture syringe is preferred over spores since it is already germinated and growing.
Mushroom Spawn: Any substrate that has been inoculated with living mycelium.
Mushroom Grow Kit: A pre-colonized “fruiting block” which has not yet been put into conditions that make it want to fruit mushrooms. The mycelium covered block is typically contained in a mushroom grow bag, which can sit dormant for some time if it's kept cool in the fridge. The user buys the product and then makes a small incision on the bag and mists with water 2-3 times a day. This eventually promotes the fungus to start growing.
Mycelium: The result of interconnecting hyphae that have bonded together to form root-like structures.
Primordia: The simplest set of cells capable of triggering growth of the fruiting body and the initial foundation from which it is able to grow.
Spawn: The living fungal culture, called mycelium, grown onto a substrate. It provides the backbone to any mushroom growing operation. Think of it as the equivalent of seeds for a mushroom farm.
Substrate: A material that the mushroom mycelium can use for energy and nutrition. A good substrate is required in order for the mushroom to grow and to fruit.
You will need the following items to grow fresh mushrooms at home:
- Paper Towels
- Lighter or torch
- Spray bottle with Water
- Sterile Needle for Syringe
- Heat Sealer (2mm or bigger)
- Spray bottle with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Mushroom Spores, Liquid Culture or Spawn
- Hardwood or Manure Substrate (Option depends on what species you grow)
- Sterile Grain Bag with Injection Port (The quantity depends on how much you want to grow)
Acquire the mushroom supplies listed above.
If you are starting with spores or liquid culture, put on gloves and sterilize all items being used with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Carefully open the sterile needle packaging and secure the needle to the end of the syringe. Discard the cap that was on the syringe beforehand. Once the needle is secured to the syringe, remove the needle cover and flame sterilize with a lighter or torch. Flame sterilization occurs when the needle is put inside of the flame until its red hot. Once flame sterilization has occurred, quickly wipe the injection port of the grain bag with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol on a paper towel and then inject the entire contents of the syringe into the bag. Remove the syringe from the bag and place the needle cover back on. Shake the bag around to distribute the inoculant thoroughly. The injection port should re-seal as long as the needle wasn't too hot. You can tell if there is an issue by looking at the hole where the needle was inserted and seeing if it was compromised. Place the inoculated bag in a dark, cool place and wait for the mycelium to grow and cover the entire surface. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the species. *Be careful while heating the metal needle. If you heat the plastic, it will destroy the needle and release toxic fumes into the air. Dispose of the needle properly in accordance to your local laws.*
If you are starting with colonized spawn, skip to Step 4.
Once your grains have been completely colonized, prepare your hardwood or manure substrate for use. If you want to grow Lion's Mane or Oyster mushrooms, you will need to make hardwood substrate. If you want to grow button mushrooms, you will need manure substrate.
How to make hardwood substrate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoTDTKt_Ups
How to make manure substrate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ1hk37ITTs
If you are growing Button mushrooms, spray 70% Isopropyl Alcohol inside the monotub and wipe it away with a paper towel. Next, you will need to cut open the colonized grain bag and the pasteurized substrate before dumping them both into the clean monotub. Apply 70% Isopropyl Alcohol to your gloves before using your hands to mix the grains and substrate thoroughly. Once it has been mixed evenly, lightly tamp down the substrate. Sterilize the monotub lid with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and wipe it away with a paper towel before place it on the bin. Keep the monotub out of direct light and at room temperature. This colonization process can take a few weeks before it is ready to go to the next step.
If you are growing Lion's Mane or Oyster mushrooms, spray 70% Isopropyl Alcohol on the outside of the grain and substrate bags. Cut a small hole at the top of the grain and open your substrate bag. Pour your colonized grain inside of your substrate bag. Use the heat sealer to seal the bag and then shake it around to distribute grains evenly. Keep the re-sealed bag out of direct light and at room temperature. This colonization process can take a few weeks before it is ready to go to the next step.
If you are growing Button mushrooms, very small mushroom pins will begin to develop after a few weeks of colonizing. Once you see the pins, place the monotub somewhere with more light. Keep in mind that mushrooms do not use light for energy like plants, but they do use it for direction. The substrate and grains contain all the nutrients and water necessary for the organism to produce mushrooms. It is important to keep the monotub closed at all times to lower chances of contamination.
If you are growing Lion's Mane or Oyster mushrooms, the entire bag will be covered with mycelium after a few weeks. Once it is fully colonized, cut an 'x' into the sides. Use the spray bottle to mist water onto the same area. Mist the block 2-3 times everyday to provide the optimal humidity conditions for growing.
Wait for the mushrooms to fully develop before harvesting with scissors. If the process is done correctly, you can get multiple harvests from one monotub or bag.
After harvesting your Button mushrooms, we will add clean water to the monotub to encourage a second flush. Slowly fill the side of the monotub until the substrate is floating 3 inches above the bottom of the tub. Keep the monotub at room temperature as it re-hydrates the substrate. After 12 hours, remove the monotub lid and carefully pour the water out. Place the monotub out of direct sunlight and wait for it to start re-growing mushrooms. You can repeat this process multiple times if contamination doesn't occur. Once the substrate is completely depleted, you can add it to a compost pile or garden bed.
After harvesting your Lion's Mane or Oyster mushrooms, continue to mist the block 2-3 times everyday. This will encourage the mycelium to keep growing and produce more mushrooms. You can repeat this process multiple times if contamination doesn't occur. Once the substrate is completely depleted, recycle the plastic bag and add the substrate to a compost pile or garden bed.
Place your fresh mushrooms in the fridge or use a dehydrator to dry them for later use.
Enjoy the delicious mushrooms that you grew at home!
Thank you very much for reading our How To Grow Fresh Mushrooms guide. Please visit the education tab on our website if you want to learn more. If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact us at OklahomaFungi@gmail.com or 405-252-0305