Mushrooms are the best addition to a garden; they allow you to enjoy a supply of homegrown mushrooms all year round. And who doesn’t love them? They taste delightful on their own and add the perfect kick to any dish they are added to. In a household full of mushroom fanatics like ours, I finally made the brilliant decision to start growing my mushrooms.
Many gardeners are often slightly apprehensive of growing edible mushrooms on their own, citing the process to be intimidating and complicated. However, I don’t understand why that is so. Growing these fungi is so straightforward and much like that of growing any other fruits or vegetables. In fact, you probably have a few of them growing in your garden already!
That is why I have decided to pass down my knowledge, hoping to enlighten and encourage other lovers of mushrooms to create a supply of their own in their gardens or indoors. If anything, the excellent health benefits of fungi should compel you enough to plant and grow these bad boys so you and your family can have a constant supply of them.
Keep reading this guide to find out what these benefits are, how mushroom is grown, and what types you can grow. Moreover, if you have been wondering whether dried mushrooms grow more of these fungi, I will answer that question in this blog.
The Life Cycle of Mushrooms
Before we begin to discuss how mushrooms grow, it is first essential to understand their growth timeline because it will help you when you begin cultivating these fungi. Additionally, if you want to know more, you can take a look at this informative video that highlights what these white fleshy vegetables go through from birth to date (video).
Stage 1: Mushroom Spawn
These fungi grow from what is known as spores. They are a lot like seeds that mix with substances like wood chips, sawdust, and soil to begin mycelium’s growth. This is the mushroom tissue, which can be one organism or a group of organisms that helps speed up the mushroom growing process. It is also the organism from which mushrooms grow out from. A blend of all of these substances is known as spawn.
To use spawn, you will need to create a mushroom substrate, which is basically anything that helps foster the growth of the fungi. They can be grains, wood chips, straws, etc. Depending on the type of mushroom, you can use different substrates.
Stage 2: Inoculation
This is when you mix the spawn with the substrate and leave it out in the sun to germinate. If you are growing your own fungi, then it is recommended that you employ a spore syringe to properly cultivate the mushroom.
Stage 3: Incubation
At this stage, the nutrients are absorbed by the mushroom tissue, and it begins to expand at an exponential rate.
Stage 4: Mushroom Fruiting
If the environmental conditions allow it, the mycelium begins to grow into tiny pinheads or primordia on the substrate. Over the course of a few months, these will turn into full-sized mushrooms.
Benefits of Fungi
Fungi impact your life in ways you barely even notice. The most prominent way that you consume fungi is through these white umbrella-shaped edibles. Here are some of the benefits of consuming them:
- Helps fight cancer
According to a study (source), consuming edible fungi can help fight breast cancer and reduce the risk of the production of breast cancer cells.
- Boost immunity
Research (source) shows that fungi contain high amounts of vitamin D, which can help improve immunity and fight off diseases.
- Lowers blood pressure
Mushroom contains high amounts of potassium, according to studies (source). This nutrient is known for easing tension in blood vessels and ultimately lowering blood pressure levels.
- Aids in weight loss
When in combination with exercise and diet, these fungi can help you lose weight much quicker and keep it off for long.
- Boost memory
One interesting study shows that these fleshy fungi can help improve memory and recall (source).
- Protect your brain
It is also suggested that consuming fungi can help reduce the risk of brain aging badly. By consuming fungi, it is believed that getting diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are drastically reduced.
- Keep you looking young
Since they contain many oxidants, it is also believed that these vegetables make your skin glowing and looking youthful even as you age.
Species of Fungi You Can Plant At Home
There are over 14,000 different types and varieties of fungi you can find. All of them are grown in the wild, but there are some which you can plant and nurture on your own. These include:
This is a popular type of fungi that people like to plant, mainly because the fungi growing kits are available, which already contain oyster spawns. These prefer to be grown in dead trees. This environment can be emulated using hardwood and dowel spawn if you do not want to invest in a growing kit.
Again, just as is the case with oyster fungi, you can grow these delicious edible fungi by using a growing kit that has a dowel spawn and a pre-existing shiitake mycelium. Otherwise, you can grow them in sterilized sawdust.
- Lion’s Mane
The procedure to grow a lion’s mane is the same as that with the other species of fungi. You will have to create the culture in agar and then let the spawn grow and nurture the production of the vegetable. Since the mycelium of lion’s mane can last for a long time, you can grow them whenever you want to acquire a constant supply of them.
These are the most straightforward type of edible fungi you can plant and look after. To do so, you will need a tray and lid with pre-spawned substrate or compost. You can even use your spawn by mixing horse manure with wet straw.
These are also relatively straightforward to look after and nurture and also can be grown in a lid and tray. They are easy, and anyone can grow them regardless of the climate and environment.
Can Dried Mushrooms Be Used for Growing Other Mushrooms?
Yes, dried mushrooms can be used to grow other mushrooms. As I mentioned earlier, these vegetables require spore, which can be acquired from dried mushrooms. However, such is not the case every time. If the fungi have been dried for too long, or at high temperatures like that of 160 degrees Fahrenheit then the spores have died and can no longer harbor the growth of a mushroom.
Therefore, to grow the fungi this way, you must use spores from a mushroom that has not been dried for too long or at high temperatures. Only those who have been dried a specific way can create the spores needed to grow the mushroom vegetable.
Which Type of Mushroom Can be Grown From Dried Ones?
The most common type of mushroom grown from dried mushroom caps are psilocybe cubensis, or more commonly known as ‘shrooms’ or ‘magic mushrooms.’ These psychedelic mushrooms are very easy to grow if you have a mushroom growing kit or a spore syringe. However, if you have dried mushrooms, you can still grow psilocybe cubensis through a careful procedure.
Mushrooms: How to Grow Them After They Have Dried
If you have dried mushrooms, you can use them for breeding and growing new ones. Even if you don’t have dried ones, this process involves initial steps to dehydrate them. Keep reading this guide to find out more.
Step 1: Drying the Fungi
From a fresh mushroom, cut off the stems and lay them on a stock paper. Then, cover the stems by placing plastic cups on top of each one. After this, turn on a dehumidifier near the mushroom stems. The heat from the dehumidifier will dry them up. Leave it on overnight.
Step 2: Collect the Spores
After the fungi have dried overnight, you can use them for eating or cooking. A thin film of tiny specs on the paper are thousands of spores that have dropped from the mushroom.
Step 3: Alternate Method to Creating and Collecting Mushroom Spores
For a newbie gardener or someone growing fungi for the first time, drying them manually might kill the spores. That is why it is recommended to clone the mushroom first and then collect the spores through mushroom cultures using agar plates and a sterile glove box. Here is a detailed video that shows how you can prepare the agar plates (video).
Step 4: Prepare the Straw
Cut up a straw into 2 to 6 inches long pieces and sterilize it by pouring boiling water on top of it and killing all the bacteria. Then place the straws in a plastic container while they cool down.
Step 5: Mix in the Spores
While the straw is cooling down, mix the spores into the straw with damp grains. This will create the mushroom spawn. At this stage, you can also add hydrogen peroxide to encourage the growth of mushroom tissue. Though this step is unnecessary, it will help kill contaminants and prevent contamination within the mushroom cultures.
Step 6: Monitor the Growth
Now you must monitor the growth of the mycelium over the course of the next days or weeks. The mycelium will appear as thin, long, and white-colored filaments.
Step 6: Harvest the Mushroom
In the next few days, these fungi will start growing. Once they are fully grown, you can harvest and pick them out by cutting them from the stem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get Spores from dried mushrooms?
A. Yes, you can get spores from a dried mushroom. However, doing so is nearly impossible unless you have manually dried them through a simple procedure. This is because drying them kills all spores, especially if they have been under those conditions for too long or at high temperatures. You can use the spores from dried fungi by adding them to agar plates and cloning a mushroom tissue piece. All in all, it is recommended to rather use spores from inside the fresh fungi instead.
Can you spawn mushrooms from dried mushrooms?
A. Unfortunately, Even in mushroom spawn, you cannot use it if it has been acquired through dried fungi. Only when you have dehydrated them yourself can you use the spawn, but in most cases, it is nearly impossible. Only some spores that are dried can be used to make spawn. However, the process is quite complicated, which is why only professionals typically do it.
How long do dried mushroom spores last?
A. They can last you for years depending on how you have stored them. The best way to keep them is by sealing in the moisture by covering them and storing them in a refrigerator. By protecting these spores from extremely high or low temperatures, they can last for a long time. Typically, these spores last for a year, but you can keep them fresh for up to five years under these right conditions.
Final Thoughts on Growing Mushrooms from Dried Mushroom
Growing these fungi is an excellent hobby that anyone can employ because of how easy it is. Not only that, but they also don’t usually require special conditions of growing and planting, which is often not the case with other vegetables or fruits.
However, I must let you know that while growing mushrooms is straightforward, the process of acquiring spores from the dehydrated fungi and then growing them is not. It can be arduous, and you have to be extremely careful not to kill the spores. If you require more information and extra help, you can look at this detailed video that guides you to grow different species of these delectable vegetables (video).
But by following these steps, you might just find yourself in luck and grow these beautiful babies the way I have been for several months now. Remember to:
- Leave the fungi to dehydrate for not more than twelve hours
- Keep the plastic cups on the fungi
- Sterilize the straws
- Use hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate plastic containers
Did you like this guide and find it useful? Remember to leave down a comment below and let me know what you think. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write them in the comment section, and I will do my best to answer them all. Lastly, check out our blog section for more tips on gardening and growing your favorite vegetables and fruits!