How we do it.
Mushroom growing can be confusing for a lot of people. We would like to share how we cultivate our fungi!
Terms to know:
Mushroom mycelium- a network of hyphae (thread) that eventually produce mushrooms
Inoculate- Introduce spores or mycelium to a medium for growth
Culture - live mushroom mycelium in a nutrient solution
Autoclave- a piece of equipment used for sterilization
Laminar flow hood - Enclosed hood pushing out HEPA filtrated air to create a sterile work space.
Substrate- the nutritious medium on which colonized mycelium grow and fruit from
Pinning - when tiny mushrooms begin to form that will eventually create the fruiting body
Fruiting body- the mushroom!
1. Mushroom Culture
In mushroom cultivation, you always begin with a culture (live mycelium) after you decide what you want to grow. We start with our liquid culture or culture we grow on agar plates. Liquid culture contains sterilized water, a nutrient solution (sugar), and live mushroom mycelium. Agar plates contain the sterilized solution in solid form and live mushroom mycelium. Once we have our culture and make sure there is no contamination, we can move onto the next step.
2. Grain innoculation
Once we have our culture (either agar or liquid) we inoculate our rye berry grain. This is what the mushroom mycelium spreads on before it is transferred to larger grain bags or the growing substrate.
Before we do anything we soak our grain and cook it to add moisture back to the berry. Once it's cooked we transfer it to jars and into the autoclave where it will pressure sterilize at 20psi for 1.5 hours. After the grain cools, they are moved to our laminar flow hood where we inoculate the grain with liquid or agar culture. The grain will then sit to colonize anywhere between 20-40 days, where it will be transferred to a bigger bag of grain or directly to a mushroom substrate.
3. Transferring grain to substrate
Once the grain is fully colonized with mycelium, it is ready to transfer into the growing substrate bags, which are a mix 50% oak and 50% soy pellets. Just like the grain, the substrate must be sterilized using the same method.
Once sterilized, the substrate moves into the laminar flow hood where we introduce some of the grain spawn to the bag. Once the grain spawn is in, the bag is sealed and put aside.
4. Colonization of mycelium on substrate
Before anything happens, the mycelium must engulf the entire bag. This process can take anywhere between 12-20 days. If you receive one of our grow kits, this is the stage that you pick it up at (all the hard work is done!)
5. Inducing pinning
At this point our bags are fully colonized with mushroom mycelium and we are ready to induce pinning. To do this, we change the environment to shock the mycelium to begin producing pins. This involves changing temperature and humidity.
6. Fruiting and harvesting
Once the pins form and the environment conditions are correct, the pins will begin to form into fruiting bodies. This happens quick (2-4 days depending on the mushroom.) Each type of mushroom has it signs for when they are ready. Once ready, it's time to harvest, prepare, or package.