Mushroom growing supplies for cultivating gourmet mushrooms includes spawn, filter patch bags, substrate, steamer, and a flow hood. Learn about each now.
1) Spawn. One of the most important mushroom growing supplies for growing high-quality, high-yielding mushrooms is spawn. Spawn should be sourced from a commercial operation and be contaminant free. If there are any forms of contamination in the spawn they will be expanded when a new substrate is inoculated. Even a small amount of contamination in the spawn source can result in all the inoculated bags becoming contaminated. There are commonly two different spawn types used: sawdust and grain. Grain has several benefits including its typically higher nutrient content than sawdust and lower generation. Sawdust has smaller inoculated points so it can be more evenly distributed in the inoculated medium. If inoculating more sawdust the mycelium is already creating the necessary enzymes to digest the sawdust which will lead to faster colonization.
2) Filter patch bags. One of the important mushroom growing supplies is filter patch bags. These ensure contaminants are kept out of the sterilized substrate. Without filter patch bags it is difficult to use high-nutrient medium and to get high yields from exotic mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, and lion’s mane. Filter patch bags can withstand autoclaving and atmospheric steaming to ensure the highest level of sterility.
3) Substrate. Substrate is the material that the mushrooms are grown on. Substrate provides a critical role in determining what nutrients the mycelium has access to. Having a proven substrate formula with the correct nutrients and water content is vital to growing gourmet mushrooms. The three critical mushroom growing supplies pertaining to substrate are sawdust, soybean hulls, and wheat bran. Sawdust can be in the form of raw dust from sawmills or hot water fuel pellets commonly referred to as HWFP. A mixture of 50/50 sawdust and soybean hulls is a great formula for most exotic mushrooms including oyster, lion’s mane, pioppino, and chestnut. Sawdust, wheat bran and gypsum used at a ratio of 79,20,1% is a great formula for shiitake. These mushroom growing supplies can commonly be sourced from local feed or farmer supply stores.
4) Steamer. Proper sterilization is one of the most important aspects of mushroom cultivation. Although a steamer may fall more into the equipment section rather than growing supplies category, it is vital for any mushroom farm. The cheapest, most-accessible method of steaming is atmospheric steam. Using 3-9 KW steam generators, substrate can be heated up to about 210 degrees and maintained for 16 hours. This effectively sterilizes the substrate, preparing it for the desired mushroom mycelium.
5) Flow hood. A high-quality working laminar flow hood is vital to make high-yielding mushroom blocks. A flow hood is simply a fan with a filter on it. It cleans the air from any unwanted bacteria, fungi, or viruses that may want to grow on the substrate. It is important to inoculate treated substrate in this clean air flow. This ensures the substrate only has the desired mushroom growing in it. The growing supplies needed to create a flow hood will be discussed in a future blog post.
Additional resources associated with mushroom growing supplies
There may be additional supplies you’ll need for growing gourmet mushrooms, depending on how you plan on doing it. For instance, if you’ve determined that there is a great local market hungry for gourmet mushrooms that you plan to grow, but you do not have the time, space, or staff to create all of the spawn and substrate bags yourself, then having ready-to-fruit blocks or bags is the perfect way to start.
If you are a mushroom farmer that falls into this category, then you can order ready-to-fruit blocks directly from us. This way you can focus on producing and selling the mushrooms and not add creating the blocks as part of your task.
The mushroom blocks we sell are roughly 5.5 lb blocks of supplemented sawdust measuring about 12″x6″x8″. We offer blue, pink, and yellow oyster, shiitake, lion’s mane and other species for custom orders.
Each block costs $5 and the minimum order is 50, which can be a mix and match. They are ready to fruit when you receive them so you can initiate fruiting as soon as you receive them. If you plan on storing them, keep in mind that they can last for about 3-4 weeks in a cooler before they start fruiting in the bag and yield is decreased.
These blocks fruit in flushes. The first flush is usually 10 days to harvest and yields an average of 1 lb. You then wait for about two weeks and the blocks will fruit again about 1/2 lb. It is possible to get a third flush on them as well which is around 1/2-1/4 lb. Shiitake blocks need to be soaked for about 5 hours to initiate 2nd and 3rd flushes, Many farmers do this in low tunnels or other outdoor structures during the warmer months.