Social Distancing Series-Building a Mushroom Grow Kit

grow mushrooms at home

In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Myco Supply wanted to encourage a new generation of potential mushroom growers to become a bit more self-reliant during social distancing by mastering the basics of home mushroom growing. In this first post we are going to review what the average home grower would need to build their own mushroom grow kit.

Let’s take a look at what you will need in your mushroom grow kit:

Spawn containers

We may be jumping ahead, but that’s okay. If we didn’t, you wouldn’t have anywhere for your mushrooms to grow. The first thing we recommend is choosing a spawn container. Depending on the type of mushrooms you decide to grow, different containers will be more appropriate than others. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Substrate trays are a good choice for white button mushrooms, creminis, and portobellos
  • Spawn bags remain a favorite for all strains of oyster mushrooms and shiitake
  • Ball Mason jars are a nice, economical choice for enoki, King oysters, and Miatakes.
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Enokis in jars

Spores

This brings us to the most important decision you will need to make (even more so than the container.) What are you going grow? If this is your first time growing we recommend these species for the first time grower:

  • White Button Mushrooms-these are the most commonly consumed mushrooms in America. They are great for a beginner, fairly easy to grow, and produce a sizable harvest.
  • Oyster Mushrooms-another easy to grow variety, they come in an array of beautiful strains and are fun to watch as they flower from their container.
  • Shiitake-these wood-loving mushrooms are sure to please for both their growing novelty and their taste. A great meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans, shiitakes are essential for Asian cuisine and lend a delightful umami to any dish.

Myco Supply recommends Everything Mushrooms for spores. They have a consistently reliable product line and have been our number one choice for spores for years.

Substrates

As with your growing container, your choice of substrate(s) will greatly depend on the species of mushroom you decide to grow. Let’s take a look at some of the more common beginner species and what substrates they require:

  • White Button Mushrooms-common ingredients in a white button mushroom substrate blend are cow manure, horse manure, and peat moss. For more information on growing White Button Mushrooms check out this post from Penn State University.
  • Oyster mushrooms-these little beauties love straw.
  • Shiitake-these wood loving fungi grow best on logs that have had holes drilled in them. You then insert wooden dowel plugs in the holes which can be inoculated with your shiitake spore solution.
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Shiitake on a log

Sterilization

This is where things tend to get expensive. For many folks, however, an inexpensive solution is usually the best, especially when just starting out.

  • Canning Pot-For small scale farming and newbie growers, boiling can do the trick, when it comes to sterilization. It takes a bit longer and isn’t quite as intense a sterilization as a pressure cooker or autoclave, but it is a low cost solution and a versatile investment.
  • Pressure Cooker-The next step up in serious sterilization, pressure cookers create a controlled, high pressure environment for sterilization purposes.
  • Autoclave-The most advanced and professional method of sterilization , we recommend autoclaves for bigger operations and experienced growers.

Beyond the Basics

Depending on the species of mushroom you choose there are plenty of additives and amendments you can use to strengthen your crop. Products like peat moss, vermiculite, coco coir, and brown rice flour can all be mixed into or used as substrates depending on the method and your strain. Myco Supply recommends doing some research and finding a method for the type of mushrooms you want to grow. Once you have a method to follow you can start experimenting with additives, amendments and all of the other products the wonderful world of Mycology has to offer.

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Home growers

For more information on some of our favorite mushrooms and methods please check out these other posts on the Myco Supply blog while you are social distancing at home:

Think you are ready to get growing? Hop on over to our shop to get started building your own mushroom grow kit.

Still have questions? Contact one of our knowledgeable representatives now. You may be practicing social distancing, but we are still here to answer your calls.

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