For people who love all things mushrooms, nothing beats a fresh batch of homegrown products delivered directly to our dinner table. The idea of putting on some relaxing music, unwinding at the end of a day, and throwing in a fresh batch of mushrooms into a meal makes our hearts fill with joy. However, when we head to our local supermarket or big-box store to pick up our favorite species, something odd happens: the price causes our eyes to jump out of our heads. Don’t fret — here are eight tips to help you grow your first batch of mushrooms directly from home.
Before we can harvest a respectable batch of mushrooms, we must first focus on sterilizing our tools. When you purchase an inoculation bag from a reputable dealer, you’ll notice that each container has a small black piece of material outside its cover. While this material has many names, let’s keep it simple and call it the ‘injection port.’
The injection port is the area you’ll use to inject your inoculation bag with high-quality spores. While small and unassuming, the injection port is vital for your first batch of mushrooms, and if your port becomes dirty or contaminated, your efforts will produce lackluster results. As a rule of thumb, always keep the injection port, along with your spore needles and syringes, sanitized with alcohol swabs before every use.
2- Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Secondly, you need to place your inoculation bag in a dark place, free from outside contaminants or harmful materials. While we all went through “that phase” in high school, where our wardrobe consisted of black clothing with band names written on the front, mushrooms thrive in dark, undisturbed conditions.
Moreover, ensure the growing area for your mushrooms is free from excess water or moisture from outside. While mushrooms love a damp environment to spread their delicious goodness, too much hydration will result in unsavory issues.
3- Use High-Quality Spores
Although this next tip is a no-brainer, you can’t cut corners with spore quality. Put bluntly, many organizations are out to make a quick buck, and the thought of sourcing high-quality products for customers to purchase gets placed on the backburner in exchange for profits and revenue streams.
For this reason, we advise you to find reputable online dealers who live and breathe delicious mushroom spores. These individuals know the subtle ins and outs of growing a tasty batch of mushrooms, and they’re more inclined to answer your questions if you run into issues while growing at home. We can’t stress this enough: don’t skimp when choosing spores.
4- You Don’t Need a Fancy Setup
When growing mushrooms for the first time, you’ll hit a blockade in the road regarding your budget. After you buy high-end inoculation bags, syringes, needles, spores, and sanitation material, the bill becomes staggering. While we advise growers to never settle for second-rate spores, the inoculation material and cultivation tools do not have to break the bank.
5- Short Life
Unlike other foods that we grow in the garden, mushrooms’ lifespans are short. After cultivating your crop of mushrooms from your homemade setup, ensure you eat them right away. Leaving your mushrooms in the fridge or in the pantry for more than a few days will turn a tasty batch into something vile.
6- Keep It Cool
Unlike homegrown vegetables and fruits that thrive in warm temperatures, mushrooms love when it’s cool. In fact, mushrooms that we use in the kitchen grow optimally between the temperature range of 55 and 60-degrees Farrenheit. For stable temperatures, sheath mycelium growth in a thick layer of soil material, locking in the cool temperature while blocking the heat.
7- Set Personal Goals
Ask any mushroom grower what their biggest tip is, and they’ll all say that setting growth goals is the best way to improve your outcomes. In short, growers who go about their process without focusing on the ‘big picture’ yield dull mushrooms. Instead, we suggest setting small, realistic goals when growing your first batch of delicious mushrooms. This way, you can achieve small milestones, improve the quality of your results and enjoy a fresh harvest with every meal.
8- Get Started; Don’t Fear Failure
Lastly, we suggest getting started rather than pondering the ‘what if’ scenarios. Like so many growers before us, humans love to procrastinate over their hobbies and ambitions, regretting that they never started growing mushrooms sooner. Rather than playing “yeah, but…” scenarios in your head, get out there and start your first batch of mushrooms, and don’t fear the inevitable pitfalls along the way. Happy growing!