What Are Some Tips for Properly Growing Mushrooms?


Quick Answer

Most mushrooms require relatively cool, dark and moist conditions to form the largest number of fruiting bodies. Research the right material to grow the mushrooms on, as different species require different substrates. While growing mushrooms directly from spores is possible, consider purchasing and using mushroom spawn, as growing from spawn is easier, less prone to mold contamination and more likely to produce better mushrooms.

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Full Answer

Mushroom substrate is the type of material on which mushrooms grow. Some mushrooms, like champignon and portobello varieties, grow best on vermiculite or coco coir enriched with animal dung. Other species, including shiitake and enoki mushrooms, require wood substrates, such as full logs or wood chips. Oyster mushrooms and a few other species can grow on a variety of substrates, including animal dung and grain. Many mushrooms, such as morels, blushers and porcinis, require a complicated mix of environmental factors and are difficult or impossible to cultivate regardless of substrate.

One of the most important steps in growing mushrooms is ensuring that all substrates and growing containers are completely clean before inoculating them with mushroom spawn. Absolute cleanliness is necessary because many undesirable organisms like mold and bacteria grow on the same substrates as mushrooms. Mushrooms are most vulnerable to other microorganisms at the earliest stages of development. Once the mushroom mycelium, the network of white, threadlike fibers from which the mushrooms grow, becomes established, the fungus can fight off most microbial competitors.

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