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If you grow mushrooms, you’re bound to come across a challenge: how to balance all the factors for the best growth. You’re responsible for many things when it comes to growing mushrooms, namely the environment, substrate, and the best grain for the mushroom spawn. Want to know more? Read on below.

Rye Grain

Rye grain has fantastic water retention capabilities. It holds more moisture than any other grain. This means the mushrooms will have a ton of water and protein to feed on in their mushroom fruiting bag. Mushrooms also love rye and seem to use it as a great nutritional food source. However, it’s not exactly easy to find. You likely won’t find it in the grocery store, making it a poor choice for mycology amateurs.

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are also a great choice. Their performance mirrors rye grain. Unfortunately, wheat berries retain less water, so they may break when you finally process them. That said, they’re far more common than rye grain, and you can buy them in bulk at any bulk food store. Wheat berries are one of the best grains for mushroom spawn on our list.

Popcorn Spawn

Popcorn spawn is expensive compared to other grains but is also the most common in grocery stores. It’s the most accessible of the grains on this list. That said, popcorn spawn is gigantic, so you won’t have as many points of entry for your syringe when you inoculate them. Mycelium often also takes a while to colonize the spawn since it takes larger gaps for the mycelium to get to.

Wild Bird Seed

Hobby growers often use wild bird seed (WBS), and you can get it for cheap at most hardware and garden centers. Commercial growers don’t usually grow birdseed, so you might want to look at our other options if you’re trying to start a business. Unfortunately, it doesn’t retain water very well or consistently. If you can’t get anything else, birdseed works, and it’s widely available.

Overall, while there are a ton of different mushroom essentials, the spawn is where you begin the process. This makes it incredibly important to choose the right one! If you use our list, you’ll be just fine.

Milo-Grain Sorghum

Milo, or grain sorghum, is a small round grain that comes in white or red varieties. It offers some of the benefits of millet but with higher nitrogen content. Larger than millet, milo offers many inoculation points and is a great choice for grain spawn. Because milo grain has the same uniformity as rye, wheat, and millet, the grain hydrates evenly. However, its lower endospore load means it’s less contamination-prone than rye or wheat.

The Power of Millet

Millet is a popular choice for beginners. It comes in red and white colors and is the smallest of the grains we recommend for spawning. Millet has a much lower endospore load than rye or wheat, which makes it less prone to contamination. The small size means your spawn will have many more inoculation points, which helps your mycelium spread. The drawback to using millet exclusively is that, with less nitrogen and fewer nutrients than rye or wheat, mushrooms will consume it quickly and give you a lower overall yield.

Working with Rye

Mushrooms also love rye and seem to use it as a great nutritional food source. It has the highest levels of nitrogen of any commercial grain. However, it’s not always on the shelves of your usual grocery store, which may make it a poor choice for mycology amateurs. It also has the highest endospore load, making it harder to fully sterilize. You may need to buy rye grain at a specialty store and take extra care to sterilize it.

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