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When you shop for mushroom growing supplies, the word “substrate” might cause some confusion. It’s often sold in jars, but some growers opt to make their own. What are mushroom substrates, and why are they important? Learn more about substrate and how to use it here.

What Is Substrate?

Substrate is a nutrient-rich organic material that allows mycelium to feed and flourish. If you think about other plants, substrate is sort of analogous to soil. But remember, mushrooms can’t photosynthesize their own food the way plants do. Many growers do use potting soil as a base for their substrate, but they must add extra nutrients to it.

How Do Mushrooms Use It?

As we mentioned, fungi use their growing material differently. The mycelium spreads across the surface of the substrate like a tangled net. Introducing mycelium to substrate entwines them; the two substances become one. This process is called inoculation, and it’s irreversible.

Mushroom fruiting bodies are comprised of up to 90 percent water, which they suck up from the substrate. Properly hydrated substrate is the key to fruitful harvests.

What Is Substrate Made Of?

Substrate can be made from a wide variety of organic materials, from animal manure to sawdust. The ideal substrate is a mixture of several different ingredients; think of it as a multivitamin for your mushrooms.

If you’re not into mixing, hydrating, and pasteurizing your own substrate, consider picking up a few jars from Midwest Grow Kits. Our premier mushroom growing substrate includes ingredients such as organic brown rice flour, bee pollen, and even liquid worm castings. These substrate jars provide all the nutrients your growing mushrooms need.

When you’re setting up the perfect grow station for your mushrooms, don’t forget the substrate. You’ve got to give that mycelium nutritious food because it can’t make its own. So what are mushroom substrates, and why are they important? Simple: your mushrooms need to eat in order to fruit properly. Boost that growth with a high-quality substrate.

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