As I am sure many of you have tried, I have tried growing cultivated mushrooms at home. It is not quite as easy as the instructions on the mushroom growing kits tell you - I have also tried seeding logs outside with spores to grow oyster mushrooms, again not that simple! So I thought I would do a run through of the ways to do it to try to get most success.
Once you get it right - the fresh taste of home grown cultivated mushrooms is superb! Not quite as good as wild mushrooms, (but I would say that) but excellent and a treat that you should have a go at.
Types of kits for growing cultivated mushrooms:
Mushroom Growing Box Kits
These are pretty good - there are several suppliers of these but they can be tempramental. They basically consist of a box with mushrooms spores and compost. If you do not get the moisture levels and the temperature just right then either nothing grows or they just go mouldy. I use a mist sprayer (like the bottle types below) as it means you can keep the compost at just the right dampness.
What you are looking for is lightly damp compost throughout - not puddles or damp in some parts and dry in others. You can try dripping water onto it but it is a bit hit and miss.
Also you need to keep the temperature at about 12 to 17 degrees - it does not need to be spot on and it can vary - a garage is teh perforct place as they tend to be cool. What you need to avoid is hot air of any type (too cold and they wont grow). Essentially - you are looking to replicate the woodland floor in Autumn and Fungi tends to grow after a spell or rain, in the early hours when it is cool and damp. They do not grow much in sun or dry conditions. Fungi need no light as they do not photosynthesize.
These kits are good as a gift or simply to grow your own, tasty homegrown mushrooms. Ideal for the gardener or mushroom lover. As said above, within most kits, there is a layer of compost enriched with mushroom mycelium, a sachet of covering soil and a propagation lid.
To grow your mushrooms;
Empty the contents on the sachet over the top of the compost.
Moisten with a fine mist spray or watering can with rose – be careful not to over water. The compost must not get too wet!
Cover over with the up-turned lid supplied and place in a room, of 20-25C, for a period of 5 – 8 days.
As soon as the first white flecks appear on the covering soil, the kit should be moved to a cooler place, or around 15-18C, again, keeping the compost moist but not too wet.
It will usually take 4-8 weeks for the mushrooms to be ready to crop.
When they are, do not pull them, instead, twist then out of the soil so as to leave the covering mould intact.
This should encourage further mushroom growth.
Keep the compost moist, but never wet, throughout the whole growing process.
Shiitake Mushroom Logs
This take a long time - The idea comes from Japan, where Shiitake cultivation has been practised for centuries. What happens is you impregnate freshly cut oak logs with Shiitake mycelia using sawdust plugs. The logs are then stored for a period of one to two years to allow the mycelia to grow throughout the length of the wood. When colonisation is complete they will throw up fruiting bodies. This fruiting process can be initiated by soaking the logs, and is also triggered by temperature changes in the spring and autumn.
Properties of Shii-take
Shii-take are relatively high in protein, averaging about 20% of their dried mass. Low in fat and high in fiber, the mushrooms also provide several groups of vitamins, particularly thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, and ascorbic acid. Research is confirming that shiitake also stimulates the human immune systems. The Japanese include Shii-take in their diet for its robust flavour and texture and health-giving properties.
Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit
These are quite easy and quick to grow . Most mushroom kits containing the same as other box kits (grow box, mushroom culture - pre sown with spawn) but obviously Oyster Spores instead of any other type..
They should keep producing oyster mushrooms for upto several months once they start. The good thing is that they can be grown at any time of year and they also make a fascinating gift.
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Darren Chandler on
I'm looking for some advice to purchasing a quantity of fungi spores to inocculate a wood pile on my allotment, but not sure which species.
I found this idea called hugelkulter, it's basically building a huge pile of logs, wood material including wood chips and placing soil back on top of the pile and growing veg on top. The idea is fungi mycelium forms and breaks down the pile releasing nutrients to feed the veg.
However, it seems to me a viable idea to inocculate the wood pile with an edible variety that will produce mycelium, break down the wood pile, feed my veg plants and give me an edible mushroom crop in the process.
So, you being the expert, I would be really grateful if you could suggest varieties that maybe what I'm looking for.
My wood pile is big, 20 feet X 6 feet, several tons of material and not sterile, with semi rotten material. I have access also to fresh wood chip.
Any thoughts would be gratefully accepted
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