Welcome to the wonderful world of mushroom growing! Growing mushrooms is a magical process in which mycelium converts woody material into food. How wild is that?! If you're just stepping into the cultivation world, things can be a little intimidating and you may be asking yourself not only what you can grow, but also how do you grow it? Well, we are here to help guide you through your options.
Broadly speaking, you can break growing mushrooms into two different realms- growing indoors and growing outdoors. Before we dive in, there are a few terms that will be helpful to familiarize yourself with for the journey ahead, so get out your notepad (or, you know, just bookmark this page) and buckle up for some definitions.
Mycology: The study of fungi. If you remember from biology, Fungi make up their own Kingdom, so there is plenty to study. While mushrooms grow like plants, they breathe in oxygen and release CO2 like animals, so mycologists involve themselves in the complexities of both.
Spore: Essentially a mushroom seed. Much like pollen, a spore is incomplete and needs its better half to reproduce. Once mated, it becomes spawn.
Spawn: The carrier of vigorous fungal roots (mycelium) that can digest various materials to produce mushrooms. Spawn can come in several different varieties including sawdust spawn, plug spawn, thimble spawn, and peg spawn. Read up more about each variety here.
Mycelium: Simply put, mushroom roots. Scientifically put, thread-like fungal cells responsible for catching and digesting material (this material is known as substrate) to convert into food for the fungus.
Substrate: The food source for the fungus. This can be wood chips, logs, straw, etc.
Spawn Run: How long it takes for the mycelium to make its way through a substrate, converting that material to edible goods. Once the mycelium has worked its way totally through the substrate, we refer to the substrate as being fully colonized. For example, a log-grown mushroom variety that has a spawn run time of 12-18 months means it will take that many months at an optimal temperature for the mycelium to fully colonize the log. Once the log is fully colonized it is ready to fruit!
Inoculation: The process of planting a log, a bed, a bag or container of straw, or any another suitable material with mushroom spawn.
Now that we have that out of the way, you're ready to move on and determine how and what you would like to grow. Kits in this beginner's section come with complete instructions, video references, and, as always, our customer support. If you need more help deciding what will work best for you, just give us a ring and we'll be happy to help!