If you are completely new to growing mushrooms this beginners how-to page is a great place to start in your navigation of our website. Even if you have been growing for awhile, explore all of the information below - perhaps you will learn something new!
STEP 1: Choose Your Resource or Growing Substrate
When starting out it’s easiest to find the mushroom that will grow on the resource that’s available. Growing mushrooms requires planning and knowledge of the resources at hand. Identify the substrate you’ll be using. Perhaps you are managing a timber stand improvement cut on your woodlot or you’d like to utilize the wood from a tree in your yard that must be removed. If so, view our tree species chart to see which tree species are suitable to use. Perhaps you have easy access to wood chips, straw or compost. Any of these will work as a substrate on which to grow your mushrooms. To read more on the resources that can be used with our spawn visit the substrates page. You can also check out our blog post on when to cut your logs here.
STEP 2: Choose Your Species and Then Strain
After sizing up your substrate, check the list of suitable species that are proven producers on your substrate type (this was located on the substrates page). Make sure that the species you choose is seasonally appropriate, and read more on specific cultivation methods on our Seasonal Planting Chart page. Now you’re ready to go to the Strain Library featuring the specific species (such as Shiitake, Oyster, Wine Cap, etc.) to learn more details. Some species, such as Shiitake and Oyster, have several strains to choose from!
STEP 3: Choose Your Type of Spawn
Once you’ve completed Steps 1 and 2, you’re ready to choose a spawn type. Spawn is the carrier on which the mushroom species grow; it can be sawdust, grain, solid wood plugs or pegs. Some species grow only on certain carriers. Some grow on all carriers but have different applications. Visit our Spawn Comparison Chart to determine which will work best for you.
STEP 4: Choose Your Tools
If you plan on growing mushrooms on wood logs, especially Shiitake, you will discover that good tools are essential to building up a productive mushroom log population. Having the right tools on hand allows you to complete the job in a timely manner and eliminates wasted resources.
There are several other things to consider when growing mushrooms including:
Click here for "Financial Analysis of Shiitake Mushroom Production"
Read "Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern United States"
Click here for "Determining Log Moisture Content (LMC) and Establishing Check Logs"