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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    19
    Hi Barry,
    There are many varieties of edible mushrooms, all have slightly different requirements. Just like plants, there is no set of rules for all of them.

    Yes, the easiest way is to buy grain spawn. I have taken the next step, and start my own cultures. It's not much harder than home brewing, but it does require patience and some knowledge. The only reason I taught myself how to make spawn, was because I couldn't buy any gourmet mushroom spawn in Australia. Now I can explore plant tissue culture!

    Mushrooms do continue to grow from the substrate after the initial harvest.

    I have kept paper spawn (Pleurotus eryngii) in a cupboard, unopened, for over a year, and as soon as I spawned it to new substrate, it started growing.

    At $45/kg for gourmet mushrooms in the markets, that's not exactly futile. If you're talking about Field mushrooms (Agaricus), they're generally mass produced, and fairly cheap. The substrate for them is also a bit tricky to make on a small scale.

    Sterillization is very important when cloning or starting cultures (just like plant tissue culture). For me this involves cleaning a small glove box, and Pressure Cooking a jar of agar and some jars/bags of grain. I don't wear any suits, just some gloves (sometimes). The total amount of work time is not that much, waiting for the PC to cook, then cool, takes a while.

    If you start with colonized grain spawn, then you don't need to sterillize anything, although it can help sometimes. Most home growers use hot water, 60-70 degrees C for 1-2hours, to pasteurize wheat straw. This kills most competitors, but leaves some heat loving organisms like actinomyces alive, and they not only provide nutrition for your mycelium, they also prevent lipstick molds and other nasties from taking over.

    I bury my spent blocks in the garden, and they continue to produce mushrooms subject to weather, i.e. after good rain.

    Commercial growers know exactly the day their mushrooms will be ready, they control everything, and they have multi-million dollar setups. Home growers have been successfully growing mushrooms for thousands of years, with no sterillization or fancy climate control.
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #22
    Barrymore
    Guest
    Thanks Worowa for that interesting and helpful info.
    I will be attempting to grow the Oyster mushroom which I believe is the easiest to grow here in South Africa.
    I suppose any doubts and confusion I have will be answered once I have tried growing them for myself. Currently I don't even know what the spawn looks like, or what the liquid is that
    some people inject into the substrate, or how many pots of boiling water will be needed to sterilise 100kg {220lb} straw if the full spawn pack is used as recommended by the supplier.
    I have started constructing my thatched enclosure, so there is no turning back now.
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    409
    It is a bit tricky - but as worowa has said, definitely not out of scope for home growers. I went through a phase of interest in mushroom growing, but never managed to get the cultures for the types of mushrooms I wanted which would be most suited to my climate. The supplier for some reason didn't reply to my requests :? - so if/when I decide to give it a go I'll find a different supplier (though they are few and far between).

    Anyway, back to the topic of demonstrating that it is certainly in scope, I was able to get clean cultures growing on agar by using tissue from store bought oyster mushrooms. I was also able to then get a grain spawn growing from this culture, but failed to succesfully innoculate (amybe the wrong term) bags of paper substrate with this spawn. My interest had moved onto some other things at that point and I lost a bit of interest.

    I'll definitely do it again some time though - when there is a gap in my hobby schedule :lol:.
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #24
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    katherine NT, Australia
    Posts
    1,590
    I have only ever grown mushrooms out of those commercial boxes once or twice about 30 years ago when they first seemed to hit the market. So basically I have not 'grown' them per se.

    The point I wish to make here from reading Worowa's excellent writing is that practise makes perfect.

    I would be embarrassed to show you my first 5 dozen loaves of bread but these days because I understand the process and the ingredients I can make a wide range of breads in a multiplicity of ways. Like anything practise makes perfect. I underwent the same process making soap, same again for ginger beer. You really do learn by your mistakes and many times when you finally think you have made the 'perfect' product and you smile and pat yourself on the back only to find a couple of months later you are doing even better.

    Yes, the easiest way is to buy grain spawn. I have taken the next step, and start my own cultures. It's not much harder than home brewing,
    Dont be deterred by failures and even when you think you have got it right you will improve. Growing mushrooms is using a live culture same as with bread and ginger beer, the minutest changes of humidity, moisture, ingredients and method all affect the end result and that is all part of the fun.

    Good luck and good thread.

    ho-hum
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #25
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    19
    Hi Barry,

    Yes, Oysters are the easiest, and King Oysters are the best of that bunch, in my opinion.

    Spawn can be grains, sawdust, newspaper....with white (most species) mycelium. The liquid spawn some people use is simply mycelium in a liquid. I make Liquid Cultures for some species, because it can speed up colonization. LCs are essentialy 3D versions of nutrified agar plates, minus the agar. Instead of a petri dish, I use jam jars.

    You should learn to make spawn-very easy. Then you only need to buy it when starting a new species.
    Use about 500gms of your spawn to make another batch of about 3kg.
    I would then use the remaining spawn you purchased, 3.5kgs, to innoculate 40kgs or less of your pasteurised straw. That could be 4 x 10kg bags, or 2 x 20kg bags. The more spawn you use, the faster the colonization, and the better the results.

    And after your initial harvests, the remaining spent substrate can be used again as spawn, with a good deal of success.

    There used to be a great Korean-based mushroom information centre, "Mushworld", that would send mushroom growing books and DVDs for FREE to "developing countries"-not Australia, but most of Africa. I can't find where their website is anymore, it moved, but the site had lots of low tech solutions, and had members from around the world, sharing knowledge and information.

    Anyhow, good luck.
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Melbourne-ish
    Posts
    114
    just read about a chinese method to teach the vilage poor and a lot of other countries to grow mushrooms.
    Has anyone have first hand experience with this system?
    http://nigeria2.mofcom.gov.cn/aarticle/ ... 26713.html
    http://www.pngbd.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10214
    http://home.iprimus.com.au/reville1/Met ... review.htm
    Prof.Lin Zhanxi invented the Juncao system
    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=08r ... h+Institut
    Regards, foggy
     
     

  7. Collapse Details
    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #27
    Barrymore
    Guest
    Thanks Worowa. I have been trying unsuccessfully to locate a supplier of maize or wheat straw.
    I have built my thatch enclosure but have not yet ordered the spawn as I am still unsure about a number of things.
    I have plenty of newspapers at my disposal, so this would be a ready supply of substrate, if suitable for oyster mushrooms.
    I believe cardboard is also suitable and have no problems in acquiring this.
    Would I need to cut one of these items into small pieces and boil for a few hours before mixing in the spawn?
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #28
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    19
    No worries Barrymore.

    Check with your newspaper publishers to make sure they only use soy based inks.
    My local newspaper, the Canberra Times, is safe to use. Glossy advertising inserts are not safe to use.
    No need to boil for hours-just pour boiling water over the papers and allow to soak for a few hours. Drain off water, and squeeze out excess. Pleurotus oysters will fruit from paper alone, but some will perform better with a Nitrogen supplement.

    Mushworld has vanished, but copies of their books can be viewed here http://forums.mycotopia.net/faq-freq...world-com.html, and http://forums.mycotopia.net/faq-freq...world-com.html

    Hopefully you can use those links. You might have to register, but it's free.

    There are also some grow logs-like growing oyster mushrooms on newspaper.
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #29
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    16
    Excellent stuff Worowa, thanks for the good links. After this I'll be joining up on that site.

    I'm looking to convert a long unused car service pit in my shed near Adelaide to home mushroom production.

    I've looked up the Stamets book which is only available on order from America for about $85. Do you think its ok for my inexperienced beginner domestic use? I'm worried that it might be expert-level or scientific and not "basic-practical", which is what I need.
     
     

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    Re: growing mushrooms 
    #30
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    19
    Thanks mowman.

    I got started with "The Mushroom Cultivator" and "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms" by Stamets. Try Amazon, I've seen them for $20. I've seen them in a few bookshops in Oz-mine where $40 a few years ago. They are a bit info heavy, and the growth parameters are too narrow, but still great books-almost essential if you want a solid grounding in mycology. "Mycelium Running" is inspiring, and less technical...good combined with GGMM.

    My "mistakes", experiments etc., have proven to me that mushrooms can be grown in many ways, so don't feel like you have to copy Stamets high tech approach. Low tech is often more appropriate, and fun.

    "The Shroomery" is another site worth joining-they have a Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom forum. There you can see all the low budget ways to grow mushrooms. It's a bit like a newspaper-mainly rubbish, but some good information. There are whole sections devoted to tutorials for newbies.

    There are also some good videos on you tube..."Lets grow Mushrooms" and "Mushroom Growing made easy".
     
     

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