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Beginner's Guide to Growing Mushrooms

Welcome to this simple guide for beginner myconauts outlining the steps to get into and grow your own mushrooms at home. With this, I hope you develop a deeper understanding and love for mushrooms, have a clear first step into where to begin, and the knowledge needed to be successful. Because nothing is quite as satisfying as growing your own high-quality, nutritious food and deepening your knowledge of the important part mycelium has in our world.


"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and mushroom mycelium." - A whimsical twist on a famous Nikola Tesla quote


Glossary:

  • Mycelium: The vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments (hyphae).

  • Flush: A wave or crop of mushrooms that grow and can be harvested at the same time.

  • Indirect Light: Light that is not directly shining on the mushrooms.

  • Humidity Dome: A cover used to maintain high humidity levels around mushroom cultures.

  • Fruiting Body: The reproductive structure of a fungus, which produces spores.

Demystifying Mycology

Mycology, the study of fungi, reveals a world far more complex and fascinating than most realize. Mushrooms and their mycelium are the unsung heroes of our planet, performing essential functions that support life as we know it. They are nature's recyclers, breaking down dead organic matter to return valuable nutrients to the soil, enriching the earth, and helping regulate the carbon cycle.

Beyond their environmental impact, mushrooms offer incredible benefits to humans, from nutritious food sources to medicinal properties that can boost our immune system and potentially fight off diseases.


Where to Begin: Basic Strains

The best mushrooms to start with are definitely oyster mushrooms, lion's mane mushrooms, and wine cap mushrooms. They love high humidity but can grow in varying environments, making them ideal for beginners.


  • Oyster Mushrooms: Known for their resilience and fast growth, oyster mushroom kits are perfect for beginners. They require minimal setup and can thrive in a variety of temperatures, making them a versatile choice. When comparing kits, look for one that fits your available space since oyster mushrooms can grow in large clusters.

  • Lion's Mane Mushrooms: These are slightly more exotic and can be a bit more challenging than oyster mushrooms. Lion's mane kits might need a bit more attention to detail in terms of humidity and temperature control. Choose a kit based on the detailed instructions provided and support available from the supplier.

Both oyster and lion's mane mushrooms thrive in high humidity environments, ideally between 60% to 95%. Temperature requirements differ slightly; oyster mushrooms prefer a range of 55-75°F, while lion's mane mushrooms do well in 60-75°F. Use a humidity tent or mist the mushrooms to maintain humidity, and monitor the temperature closely. 

Lighting: Both types need indirect sunlight or artificial lighting to grow properly. Avoid direct sunlight, which can dry out the substrate. A simple full spectrum Light can provide enough light if natural light isn't sufficient.


Indoor or Outdoor Cultivation

Whether you choose to grow your mushrooms indoors or outdoors depends on your space and preference. Outdoor gardening depends on the season, while indoor cultivation with grow kits offers a more controlled environment.


Outdoor Options: (Let nature work its magic!)


Wine Cap & Oyster Mushrooms


Indoor Option: (Best for small indoor spaces)


Oyster & Lions Mane Mushrooms


  • Grow Kits: Ideal for apartment dwellers or those with limited space. Follow your local farms growing instructions.

Common Mistakes

Watch out for low humidity, insufficient fresh air, not enough light, or incorrect temperatures. These can hinder growth and lead to common issues like mold or poor yields. 


Not Enough Oxygen(Fresh air): Oysters will develop long stems like they are reaching for air while lion's mane will look like coral reaching in all directions and not forming dense round caps.


Not enough Humidity: You’ll notice that they will dry out, they will grow only a few mushrooms, not at all. 


Extreme Temperatures: They most likely won't grow at all in these conditions, but mushrooms are resilient so if they do, they take a long time to start forming and can be small or few survive.


Over-misting: Too much water can lead to mold growth. Mist enough to keep the humidity high without soaking the substrate.


How & When to Harvest

Harvesting at the right time is crucial. Be careful to grab at the base and twist gently. For oyster mushrooms, wait until the edges of the caps start to flatten out or turn upwards. Lion's mane should be harvested when it's fully formed and the spines are still soft. Remember, you can get multiple flushes from one grow kit, so don't throw it away after the first harvest! Tape up the hole and make a new one on the other side or just leave it and continue to spray for another 10 days to get a second flush. 


Conclusion & Community

After your first harvest, I hope you're as hooked as I am on the potential of growing your own mushrooms. If you want to learn more, we are continually creating and sharing guides to our community so sign up and join our growing global community of myconauts as we expand our knowledge of mushrooms and live a more self sustaining lifestyle. 



Happy Farming!




Fun Fact About the Largest Mycelium in the World


Did you know that the largest living organism on Earth is not an animal, plant, or even a giant sequoia tree, but a mushroom? Or, more accurately, its mycelium? Located in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, this Armillaria ostoyae, commonly known as the honey fungus, spans an astonishing 2,385 acres, making it the world's largest known organism by area. This mycelium has been growing for over 2,400 years, showcasing the incredible ability of fungi to sustain, adapt, and thrive over millennia.

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