Hey Manitoba! Eager to get growing your very own gourmet mushrooms in the city of Winnipeg and beyond? Look no further. I will now be taking orders of freshly made mushroom spawn – the ‘seeds’ that you can use to start growing beautiful and delicious mushrooms in your own backyard – for the 2018 season.
If you are interested in purchasing mushroom spawn, please contact me and let me know which species you are interested in and the quantity. More information on what exactly mushroom spawn is, how to take care of it and how to use it can be found in the paragraphs below. Thanks you much for your support and don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions. I’m here to help you every step of the way!
Fresh Mushroom Spawn
Not sure exactly what mushroom spawn is or how to use it? Check out these basic introductions below before you continue..
Spawn is available in quart sized glass mason jars that are fitted with specialized filtered lids to maintain a sterile environment within. Each jar contains roughly 15 ounces of either soaked wheat grains or hydrated hardwood sawdust that has been sterilized and then inoculated with the desired species or variety of your choice.
Each jar and all species or varieties cost $10 with a $2 refund available for those willing to return both the jar and lid in good condition after use. Jars require 3 days minimum to produce by the time of ordering and require 3-4 weeks for the mycelium to colonize within before they can be mixed with more substrate to grow mushrooms.
If you are keen to order some mushroom spawn, please inquire using the form on the contact page. Be sure to include your name, a contact phone number and the species, variety and quantity of jars that you would like. I appreciate your support and interest in growing your own fresh, gourmet mushrooms!
Available Species & Varieties:
Common Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) varieties: “winter” and “industry”
Blue Oyster (Pleurotus columbinus)
Phoenix Oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius)
Wine Cap (Stropharia rugosoannulata)
For those of you with a more thorough understanding of mushroom cultivation, I also have the following species available in either grain or sawdust based spawn: Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Chestnut Mushroom (Pholiota adiposa), and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) variety: “3782”
What is Mushroom Spawn?
Mushroom spawn is the mycelium of a fungus that has been inoculated onto either grain or sawdust under a sterile environment. Mycelium is the body of a fungus and is comprised of a vast, interconnected network of filaments (known individually as hyphae) that make up the structure of the fungal organism.
Mycelium can be easily recognized as a fine, usually white, thread-like material growing throughout decomposing logs, branches, among rotting leaves or within the soil or in many other moist and sheltered environments in nature. It is this mycelium that produces mushrooms, which are the spore bearing reproductive structures of many fungi.
This material that the mycelium of a fungus lives within is known as substrate. Substrates are organic materials which the fungus releases enzyme into in order to digest and derives nutrients from to produce energy as it grows. Substrate materials can vary greatly depending on the individual requirements of the species of fungus being cultivated.
This mushroom spawn, when mixed with additional substrate material, colonizes it’s new environment and when certain environmental conditions are present (usually elevated oxygen levels, high humidity and a change in temperature) stimulates the mycelium to produce mushrooms which can then be harvested or preserved and enjoyed.
Mushroom spawn can be simply understood to be the ‘seeds’ which are ‘planted’ in substrate that then grows mushrooms. Of course fungi are fundamentally different on an evolutionary and anatomical level from both plants and animals, but this is a way in which to make this concept more approachable if you are unfamiliar with fungi.
* Disclaimer *
A thorough understanding of the environmental requirements necessary for mushroom development (such as light, fresh air and moisture levels) as well as how to formulate and prepare substrates under the proper conditions and handle mushroom mycelium is necessary in order to successfully grow mushrooms using spawn.
Please be sure that you have done your homework before you choose to work with mushroom spawn. I can’t be held responsible for failure if the mushroom spawn was not stored properly, handled incorrectly or grown under detrimental conditions. Just like vegetable gardening, mushrooms require certain environments if they are to do well are reward you with a harvest.
That being said, there our countless books and websites online (head on over to the resources page for some of my personal recommendations or to the programs & workshops page to attend a class or workshop) with detailed articles and videos which effectively demonstrate all of the necessary techniques and illustrate countless methods for growing mushrooms simply and successfully.
How do I store my Mushroom Spawn?
* Do not open the jar until you are ready to use it! *
The species and varieties of mushroom spawn that I have available are generally quite adaptable and will grow strongly and remain healthy at a wide range of temperatures, although room temperature is best. Under most circumstances, if you are comfortable then the mycelium will be comfortable too.
Temperatures below 10 can cause the mycelium to grow slowly and refrigerated temperatures often cause the mycelium to enter a state similar to hibernation, hardly growing if at all. Freezing temperatures are lethal to most species, so avoid placing them in the freezer or in parts of your fridge that have a tendency to freeze.
Temperatures in excess of 25-30 can also be harmful, as can direct sunlight. Indirect light however is beneficial to the growing mycelium and so avoid storing them away in dark cupboards or pantries which also do not have good ventilation or fresh air. Places where the ambient temperature fluctuates throughout the day should also be avoided in order to produce consistent, even growth.
On top of the fridge, on a shelf, on the counter in a kitchen or on a bedside table or desk are all good places to store your mushroom spawn, as long as direct light is avoided but indirect light is available and the room has good ventilation. Also avoid storing your spawn near sources of possible mold or yeast contamination such as compost pails, trash cans, in washrooms, or on the floor.
Under ideal conditions, mycelium should be visible growing within the spawn at around 1-2 weeks after the inoculation date found on the jar label. Once the grain or sawdust inside is around 20-30% covered by mycelium, giving the jar a vigorous shake for around 20 seconds or so helps to break up the growing mycelium and redistribute hyphal fragments, helping the remaining substrate to colonize faster.
The mycelium should be completely colonized around 3-4 weeks after the inoculation date and at this point is ready to use. If you are not yet ready to use your mature spawn, simply place the spawn in your fridge or in a cold cellar until you are ready to incorporate it into a prepared substrate mixture of your choice.
If the mushroom spawn is fully colonized and allowed to continue growing, the mycelium may enter a state of senescence which results in a noticeable loss of vigour once mixed with more substrate material. Storing the recently colonized spawn under cooler temperatures prevents it from become over-mature and therefore preserves it’s vigor.
How Do I Use My Spawn?
Mushroom spawn can be added to your prepared, hydrated substrate mixture of choice at a ratio of 1 part spawn to 3 or 4 parts substrate. This will result in the spawn making up 25-33% of the total volume. A 1:3 or 1:4 ratio is recommended for beginning mushroom cultivators since this will allow for faster colonization and also discourage contaminates from proliferating.
Commercial mushroom growers, working under mostly if not entirely sterile conditions, often inoculate at ratios of 1:5, 1:8 or even as low as 1:10 or even 1:20. When you are just starting out, especially if you are not pasteurizing or sterilizing your substrate (with the exception of wine cap mushrooms, Stropharia rugosoannulata), working with higher amounts of spawn to substrate encourages success.
As you continue to work with mushrooms, diversify the species and varieties that you work with and refine your techniques, you can begin to work with smaller ratios of spawn to substrate and still experience adequate colonization and yields. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.), the choice of many beginner mushroom growers, are particularly adaptable and aggressive enough to handle less than ideal conditions and still perform well.
After you have mixed together your spawn and hydrated substrate mixture, you may then place your brand new mushroom ‘kit’ in a suitable place for the mycelium from the spawn to begin colonizing the new, nutritious substrate material and working hard to produce beautiful and delicious mushrooms for you! For more information on what these sorts of suitable places might be, pleased consult the resource page for further reading or attending a course, a full list of which can be found on the programs & workshops page. Thanks again for reading and happy growing!