About Grow-it-Yourself Kits Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 September 2009 16:56

 

 

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About Traditional Kits

With traditional kits you get a professionally-cultivated bag of mushroom mycelium that is more or less ready to fruit. That means you only have to provide the proper conditions for the final phase of the process, which greatly increases your chances of success. Nothing wrong with that! It also reflects the dominant practices in the industry, which require pressure-cooking the substrate you use for your mushroom culture before inoculating it, an energy-intensive process that you just can't ask beginning cultivators to try to cope with. So the growers do it for you, and offer you the expensive, ready-to-fruit kit that they've produced for you. It's a great product, without question, but it's not the only way to go.

 

About Our Grow-it-Yourself Kits

We offer grow-it-yourself mushroom growing kits that, compared with most others on the market, require you to do a little more and wait a little longer, but teach you more about what it really takes to grow mushrooms - and save you money.

Our kits contain live mushroom spawn, supplemented sawdust pellets, and a custom growing bag. You supply coffee grounds (or an alternative nitrogen supplement) and water, and mix everything up according to our instructions. You will see growth within a day or two, and probably see the first pinhead formation in about a month.

By starting with grain spawn and raw ingredients, as most commercial growers do, you see exactly what goes into your mushroom culture and get to watch it grow. You can watch the entire process, which typically takes from two to four weeks before fruiting begins.

In his visionary book, "Mycelium Running", Paul Stamets documents a number of techniques for cultivating mushrooms in non-sterile environments, such as inoculating logs, wood chip beds, etc. For non-sterile container cultivation - indoor, quick-turnaround cultivation without the energy-intensive sterilization process - we look to pioneering experimenter Rush Wayne , whose insights into non-sterile mushroom cultivation make this kind mushroom growing accessible to novice cultivators at low cost.

Using Wayne's techniques, our kits let you take a step back in the process and prepare a mushroom substrate yourself, inoculate it with living mushroom mycelium, incubate it, and bring it to fruition.

 

Basic Directions

Substrate preparation: You prepare the mixture the mushroom will grow in, much as you might prepare a batch of dough for baking bread.

Inoculation: You mix the grain spawn into the substrate (to continue the baking analogy, this parallels adding yeast to the dough). Each grain of spawn has some mushroom mycelium growing on it. When mixed into the substrate, the mycelium starts to grow, reaching out into its new surroundings and digesting it.

Incubation: The mycelium grows through its substrate, consuming it and storing the energy it will use to fruit.

Primordium formation: When it has fully colonized the substrate and prepared itself, the mycelial mass prepares to produce mushrooms. The process often, but not always, follows a change in the environment, e.g., a drop in temperature or a rise in moisture level, increase in light level, or an influx of oxygen-rich air. The organism forms primordia or "pinheads", tiny, exquisitely cute mushrooms-to-be.

Fruiting:  the pinheads grow into full-fledged mushrooms, often in a matter of days.

 

These stages only cover the latter part of mushroom cultivation - they start with grain spawn, and of course that has to come from somewhere. But with this simple formulation you can experience a big part of the mushroom cultivation process with little effort or cost. It's a fun, educational way to grow a delicious natural food in your own home.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 March 2011 18:13