Mushroom is a versatile food that combines well with different dishes. Many people like mushrooms as toppings on their pizza. Burgers and steaks taste excellent with fried mushrooms on top! In addition, a fresh salad could also have some chopped mushrooms in it.
So, the question arises “how do mushrooms grow?” Although mushrooms are not grown the same way as other vegetables are grown, it is considered to be a healthy vegetable.
In reality, they are a type of fungi and have completely different environmental requirements than plants. They also need different infrastructures and tools to expand commercially.
1. How Do Mushrooms Grow?
Mushrooms are enigmatic fungi that usually grow in the most awkward locations, like the center of the yard. Mycelium, the fungus that produces mushrooms, lives underground, inside trees, or in dead logs.
Because of this, we can hardly notice them until they bear fruit. So if you want to grow some mushrooms, the first thing you need to obtain is some mushroom spores and then begin cultivating them.
Despite their minuscule size, the spores represent the starting point for fresh mushroom growth. There are up to 16 billion spores in a matured mushroom.
1.1. Gathering Spores
For gathering your spores all you need is a mushroom, a few papers, and a glass, this makes the process rather simple.
- First, you have to trim the mushroom’s stem with caution, then remove any potential skirts that may be covering the pores in the mushroom’s cap.
- After that, obtain the mushroom’s top with the gills showing on the underside so that you can take out the spore print.
- Put a glass on top of the mushroom after placing it on the paper with the gills facing down.
- Give this 24 hours as this is part of the process of how mushrooms grow.
- Discard the glass, then carefully pull the mushroom. You might notice an imprint on the paper that resembles the mushroom’s gill pattern after the spores have descended from the cap.
- It is possible to produce your mushrooms with this spore print.
- Until you are ready to develop the spores, store the spore print in a ziplock container in a cold, dry, and dark location.
1.2. Developing Spores
By following the above methods, you have a spore print, you could utilize to nurture and develop your mushrooms.
This can be accomplished by making a spore syringe, that is utilized to protect the growing medium after the spores have been rehydrated with sterile water.
Work in a sterile atmosphere and use distilled water. Make sure the water has been boiled two or three times to verify that all bacteria have been removed. These are the requirements for making spore syringes.
Sterilize your needle by exposing your syringe needle to heat for a short period. Then fill the syringe body with some of the sterile, cooled water.
Spores from your spore print should be gently scraped into a sterile glass by using a syringe needle. Fill the glass half with the syringe. Return the spore water to the syringe.
The water should now be noticeably discolored, and you might be able to detect several floating spore clusters at this stage. You can then utilize this spore water to protect your growing medium.
1.3. Sprouting Spores
Since the spores lack chlorophyll, mushrooms obtain their nutrition from sources other than light. The other sources of nutrition range from grain and sawdust to straw as well as wooden plugs.
Since many species of mushrooms grow in a range of substrates, from straw to wood chips, the best substrate nutrition for mushrooms depends on the type of mushroom.
The spawn is created by mixing the spores with the nutrients that the suitable substance provides, this creates mycelium.
The fungus out of which mushrooms grow is called mycelium. When the spawn is combined with a substrate, more mushrooms start fruiting which becomes more frequently active as time passes, this answers your question on how mushrooms grow.
2. What is the Length of the Growth Cycle?
The growing season for mushrooms is six weeks long. The mycelium, which mimics the roots and serves as the fungus’ vegetative part, is grown during the first 3 weeks.
This is also known as the colonization of the enclosing layer. For this process, the mushrooms have already been collected and left to re-grow over the last three weeks.
The growth room’s temperature is decreased to under 20 degrees Celsius within the initial three weeks. So, the spawn produces a fruiting body and releases its spores from the cells under the mushroom cap in response to the temperature shift.
Simply directing the mushroom into generating fruit bodies enables it to create mushrooms all year long. This is also known as flushing or planned mushroom harvest. The initial flush must be harvested within four or five days. The mushrooms soon grow back after 3 days of rest.
The fruit will be harvested over just four days during the second flush, followed by another four-day pause. There is a brief growth spurt that follows the 3rd flush of mushroom harvesting.
Approximately 60% of the overall yield is accounted for by the first flush. About 30% of the overall yield comes from the second flush and 10% from the 3rd flush.
3. Mushroom Growing Kits
Mushroom growing kits would come in handy if you try to grow mushrooms at home as there are several levels to grow mushrooms, which might be challenging for a beginner.
The mushroom growing kits come with everything you need to effectively cultivate your mushrooms. They also come in different types depending on the species of mushrooms you want to produce.
A kit for all of these species contains a breathing bag of straw, and mushroom spawn, additionally a bag tie is present in the oyster mushroom’s kit as oyster mushrooms thrive on straw. If the substrate included in your kit is fermented manure, then it is for button mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms are given in a specifically designed growth block (or logs) that provides all the nutrients necessary for a fruitful shiitake harvest. Shiitake mushroom grows on wood. Generally, these kits come with complete instructions.
4. Harvesting Mushrooms
Mushrooms are manually gathered. The harvester will include a cart with a weigh scale and an integrated knife. By grasping the mushroom and then twisting upwards, the mushroom is plucked. With the help of a trolley’s knife, the stem is pruned, then placed in a container on a scale.
When five pounds are recorded on the scale, every container is full (2 kg). When the container is full, the harvester removes mushrooms from the container, then piles them behind them, and places a new container on the trolley to resume harvesting.
5. Types Of Mushrooms
More than 14,000 different varieties of mushrooms exist, both dangerous and delectable. By implementing a few straightforward guidelines, you may cultivate several varieties of mushrooms by yourself at home.
Oysters, Shiitake, as well as Lion’s Mane, are some of the more well-known species of mushrooms that love wood. The Portobello as well as Button varieties are compost devotees.
5.1. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are one of the most vibrant types of mushrooms and can be discovered in the wild assisting in the decay of dead trees.
If you buy a kit, it would come with a pierced bag of straw that has already been injected with growing oyster mushroom spawn. The straw bag will also contain some mycelium forming. Hence by buying a kit, you can easily cultivate oyster mushrooms at home.
The kit will typically bear fruit twice. The only requirements are to place it in a damp or humid climate. Any residual mycelium could be utilized to inoculate an extra growth medium after the subsequent harvest.
By using a hardwood log with dowel spawn, you can simulate the environment where oyster mushrooms love to grow—on logs or in dead trees. However, apple, sycamore, or ash woods are not advised.
Make sure that the log has been cut from a good tree and is not over six weeks. Additionally, if you have mushroom mycelium out of an oyster mushroom kit, you may gently insert the remaining mycelium by drilling 10 mm holes beside the log at periodic intervals.
Maintain moisture and control the temperature, by doing this the mycelium will establish itself over the log and also be prepared to bear fruit in 6–12 months.
If the mycelium has incorporated itself into the wood, this should continue to bear fruit until the log deterioration or until it has consumed all of its nutrients.
By combining the spawn with some sawdust, discarded coffee grounds, and straw, oyster mushrooms could be grown efficiently. Combine the ingredients in a plastic bag and keep it somewhere cool and dark. Fruiting bodies should take place, albeit it might take a few months.
5.2. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms can be grown in the same manner as oyster mushrooms, and as the portion of a kit, wooden dowels which have been infused with the Shiitake mycelium will be sent to you.
Then, 6-inch-diameter holes are drilled along the body of a hardwood log to condition it for receiving these wooden dowels. The dowel spawn is sealed with wax after the dowels have been inserted to prevent drying out.
Shiitake mushrooms can also be raised on sterile sawdust blocks. By employing this growing media instead of hardwood logs, fruiting bodies are most likely to occur quickly. However, the quality of the mushroom would be poor.
5.3. White Cap Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)
Button Mushrooms also known as Agaricus Bisporus are very easy to grow.
The kits for this type of mushroom come with a tray, a lid, as well as compost or pre-spawned substrate. If you decide against purchasing a kit, follow these steps to make your spore print as well as a spore syringe, with which you can fertilize the compost.
Compost should have a combination of moist straw and horse dung for optimal effects. Combine them and compact them tightly to raise the temperature of the manure.
For two or three weeks, stir this mixture every few days to let the manure break down, then isolate the nutrients needed for mushroom growth. A great compost is produced when the combination is dark brown as well as fragrant.
Sprinkle the spore syringe over the compost with enough compost to cover it to a depth of roughly 3 inches. Remix, then cover with wet newspaper.
The mycelium should begin to show symptoms of growth in two to three weeks. Once the tray is completely coated in the tiny white mycelium threads, moisten the casing layer and add two or three handfuls of lime before covering it.
The casing can be constructed of peat-free compost. Fruiting should start in three to four weeks if you maintain the casing’s moisture and a warm environment.
6. How to Store Mushrooms for Long-Term Freshness?
Mushrooms are transported to a spiral belt after being picked. The spiral belt uses cooling technologies to reduce the mushroom’s internal temperature, rather than just its surface, from 18°C to 1°C. It takes about 1 hour for the mushrooms to reach that temperature on the spiral belt.
After that, the mushrooms are kept in storage at 1°C all the time. The cold chain must be maintained by farmers. Warming anything that is cold causes moisture to condense. This results in oxidation (brown patches), which is the beginning of the disintegration process.
Mushrooms should be kept in a paper bag at 1°C after being bought at the grocery shop. If you have never had access to a place that is 1 degree, putting items in a refrigerator at four or five degrees is also ok.
Growing mushrooms in your garden is also simple and beneficial to the soil and neighboring plants. You can contaminate containers or bales, insert them into the soil in vegetable gardens or walkways, or even bury blocks with them.
Regardless of the method you use to cultivate, you need to keep the fungi moist and out of direct sunlight, particularly if there is a drought.
So try to grow mushrooms in your garden beds and let us know which method you found simplest to grow and what is your favorite mushroom.
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