Mushroom cultivation is a fun yet difficult process. You must learn how to pick the right mushroom for you, find the right substrate, and gather supplies. However, this is made easier with the advent of mushroom grow kits. We must ask ourselves, after the growing process begins and the mushroom substrate is safely in its jar, how do you properly store mushroom substrate jars so that your mushrooms can grow properly? Read on to find out more. But first, we must understand various terms we'll use throughout this guide.
Terms You Should Know
Here are a few terms you should know before we get started with mushroom substrate jars. Make sure you read carefully:
- Mushroom mycelium is the body of the mushroom that grows underground. The fruiting body of the mushroom grows above the ground. The latter is the familiar cap and stem that you see in the wild.
- A mushroom substrate is a material that mushroom mycelium grows in. It's similar to the soil that plants grow in. It can be made of multiple materials, and we'll go through them below.'
- Mushroom substrate jars are homes for your mushroom strain. It's what the mycelium and substrate will grow.
Now that we've gone over the primary terms you'll need to know, let's move forward with some general rules of thumb when storing your jars.
Rules of Thumb
There are several rules of thumb to keep in mind when you're storing your jars. First, your mushrooms can't grow in harsh sunlight. A little is okay, but you won't want the same amount as you would for a flower. You'll want to place them in a damp, dark place with LED or CFL lights that turn on and off on a schedule. You can put them in a few places, such as a cabinet, basement, or sink. A place with a closed door is likely ideal to keep contaminants out. Ensure that you watch the humidity. Use a humidifier to keep the jars at 80 to 90 percent humidity. You should also poke holes in the lid to create circulation. This is a key part of properly storing your mushroom substrate jars.
Because holes will expose the substrate, you want to place the jar in a pristine and sterilized place. If you're going to put it in a place that doesn't get that much traffic, like under the sink, it might be wise to go ahead and clean the area thoroughly, especially if you notice mold in the area. The spores from that fungus could contaminate yours and grow mold instead of whatever mushrooms you're trying to grow.
Different Kinds of Substrate
There are many different kinds of substrate for your mushrooms.
Coffee grounds are a popular choice for growth, and if you have a coffee shop in the area, you should be able to get some from there. They often save their spent coffee grounds and could give you some for free. Since the grounds are prepared for you, start growing immediately.
Straw is both cheap and efficient. You can purchase them at farming stores. If you want, you can use supplements that provide added nutrients. You have to prepare it ahead of time using calcium hydroxide or peroxide. To prepare it for use, cut your straw at 3-inch pieces. Put it in a laundry bag or another type of bag. Submerge it at 155 degrees Fahrenheit on a butane burner. Drain and squeeze. After this process, it should be ready to start the inoculation process.
Coco coir is made up of ground-up coconut shells. You can find it in most garden stores. Vermiculite is yellowish, and it's used to keep moisture contained inside. Mixing both coco coir and vermiculite is ideal for making substrate. You want to use each in one part. When making your substrate, you're looking at about half a measure of each.
Hardwood pellets are taken from maple, beech, and oak. They make a phenomenal substrate for various mushroom types. However, you shouldn't use softwood tree pellets or sawdust as your substrate. Most hardware stores carry them since many use them for pellet stoves and grills. You don't need the expensive kind. With a 10-pound block of a substrate, you'll need an equal amount of cups of hardwood pellets along with 3 liters of water. This won't require sterilization. That said, people often supplement it with bran. The wood alone won't have enough nutrients to grow some mushroom types. You'll only need to add 2 and a half cups of oat bran or wheat to get those extra nutrients.
Manure isn't the best medium because burning it can cause unpleasant smells, and handling it can be unsanitary. That said, some mushrooms require this. Most manure types are fine, whether cow, chicken, or horse. You'll need to supplement it with coco coir—at least one part and two parts manure—and then add water.
You can also use logs! Most hardwood varieties like birch, maple, and poplar work at a stellar pace. You'll need a log of anywhere from 4-6 inches.
Various Kinds of Storage
You can store your mushrooms in many places. You can grow them outside, but if this is a home cultivation project, you’ll likely want to do it inside. A place that’s dark and damp—as mentioned earlier—will do. This includes cabinets in the kitchen, places under the sink, and the basement.
Common Issues for Mushroom Growth
Mushroom cultivation is a delicate process that involves constant monitoring. Some issues associated with mushroom growth are contamination, too little light, too much light, and temperature concerns. When cultivating mushrooms, you want to sterilize all your tools and environment ahead of time to discourage contamination. It would also be wise to give it the proper lighting conditions. You need twelve hours of light exposure. This is where your automatic LED lights come in. Indirect sunlight also helps. Your temperature should be above 55 degrees and below 70 degrees, or they won't rise. You should be fine if you carefully monitor your mushrooms during the growth process.
In short, to ensure that your mushrooms grow properly, there's a lot of knowledge you need to accumulate. However, using this short guide should help you tremendously. Luckily for you, here at Midwest Organics LLC, we offer the best cultivation kits in the industry to help you on your way. Shop Midwest Organics today!