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Growing mushrooms is a delicate and intricate process. It requires patience and nuance that most people don’t have. If you have it, you know how rewarding growing mushrooms can be. One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make in your journey to learn cultivation is which mushroom substrate you should use. Luckily for you, the answer should be clear. Did you know that rye makes an amazing mushroom substrate? It’s true. If you want a medium for colonizing your substrate, rye grain is the way. We’ll dive more into it below.

Why It’s a Great Substrate

Rye is incredibly nutritious. It holds high magnesium, copper, proteins, and B vitamins. It also holds a ton of water. You’ll be regularly misting your substrate, so it’s important to ensure you have a substrate that won’t become waterlogged halfway through the process. Luckily, rye grain can swell up to three times its size or even larger without bursting. It also has an incredibly large surface area, leaving room for your mushrooms to colonize. You can fit quite a few kernels in the sterilization chamber. These are just a few reasons why rye makes a great mushroom substrate.

What You Should Know About Rye

You should know a few things when working with rye grain. It will cost you more than other grain forms, but cheaper isn’t always better. Getting something for a “steal” might result in subpar products. Rye can also dry out relatively easily, so it’s important to keep it damp to prevent this from happening. Finally, it needs to be soaked overnight to germinate its endospores, and it needs to be washed to remove any debris lodged in the grain.

How To Make It

First, wash and rinse through the grain until the water you’re draining isn’t discolored. Then, soak your grains in water for 12–24 hours. After that, you should cook the grain for 30 minutes. Drain the water and grain in a colander and let the excess moisture evaporate. Finally, load the rye grain into mason jars and sterilize them at 15 psi for 90–120 minutes.

If you’re interested in learning how to cultivate your mushrooms, the first step is to get a mushroom substrate bag from our mushroom grow kits here at Midwest Organics. We have all the best products you need to start your mushroom cultivation journey, so take a look at what we offer!

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