How to Grow Mushrooms - 5 Steps to Success - Hydroponic Container Farms and Mushroom Farms - Farmbox Foods (2024)

Have you been considering growing your own gourmet mushrooms, but just don’t know where to start? Well, it’s time to ditch your mushroom grow kit, and let us show you how you can grow gourmet mushrooms on your own. But first, let’s cover a few basics.

Why should I grow mushrooms?

Even though mushrooms are on the Clean 15 list, that doesn’t mean that they are actually pesticide free! Astudydone by the FDA shows that 26% of imported mushrooms had more than the allowable amount of pesticides, even thiabendazole, a carcinogen, and a developmental and reproductive toxin.

Pesticides are not our only concern with commercial mushrooms. Gourmet mushrooms are expensive and can be hard to find at your local store, but don’t let that stop you from capitalizing on the many benefits mushrooms provide!

Is it difficult to grow mushrooms?

Although it may seem tricky at first, once you understand the basics of growing mushrooms, the process is pretty simple! Take care to prevent contamination, monitor temperature and humidity, and you will be enjoying fresh, homegrown, gourmet mushrooms before you know it!

Is it dangerous to grow mushrooms?

Nope! Follow our guidelines below and wear a respirator when you are exposed to mushrooms that are in the fruiting phase – this is when they release spores. If you are going to be using a pressure cooker or autoclave, be sure to adhere to all of the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 1: Prepare your substrate

When it comes to choosing a substrate, you have quite a few options. We have seen the best results using sawdust, soybean hulls, wheat bran, rice bran, peanut hulls, sugarcane bagasse, or straw. Although this is far from a comprehensive list, the options above are tried and tested and should provide you with great results!

  • Depending on the substrate, it may be beneficial to chop up your substrate before beginning the hydrating process — this will cut down on the time needed to hydrate and thoroughly mix your substrate.
  • The next part is to hydrate the substrate. The water to dry mix ratio will be specific to your chosen substrate, so be sure to add the correct volume of water.
  • After you have finished prepping your substrate, divide it evenly into mushroom bags. Fold the opening of the bag over to seal the substrate so it is ready for the next step.

Step 2: Sterilization

Sterilization is a very important part of the process. If not done correctly, your substrate can become contaminated and the contamination will compete with your mushrooms for nutrients.

There are two main ways to sterilize substrate:

  • Atmospheric steam sterilization: This process involves keeping the bag of substrate immersed in steam for several hours until sterilization is reached. This method takes longer but is the safer option and the one we prefer.
  • Autoclave or pressure cooker: Using this method is faster, but it is essential to take proper precautions whenever using an autoclave or pressure cooker.

Don’t forget to let your sterilized substrate cool completely before inoculating! You can even let your substrate cool overnight, although we don’t recommend letting it sit for longer than 24 hours.

Step 3: Inoculate the substrate

Be careful not to contaminate your grain spawn or substrate bags during this step. Pay close attention to your work during this process, since it is easy to introduce contaminants during inoculation. Contamination can easily go unnoticed, leading to problems later in the cultivation process.

How to Grow Mushrooms - 5 Steps to Success - Hydroponic Container Farms and Mushroom Farms - Farmbox Foods (1)

  • After cooling the substrate, it’s time to inoculate. We recommend inoculating in a cleanroom or under a HEPA flow cabinet. This ensures that no mold spores, yeast, or bacteria will enter the bag and contaminate it. If you don’t have access to a HEPA flow cabinet, consider building or buying a still air box.
  • Add the grain spawn to the substrate bag using a sterilized spoon or another sterilized tool. Try to put the same amount of grain spawn into each bag.
  • Seal the bag closed using an impulse sealer. Don’t force any air out of the bag before sealing — this not only allows for air exchange but also makes mixing much easier.
  • Thoroughly mix the substrate and grain spawn until you have a uniform mixture.

Step 4: Incubation

During incubation, the mycelium moves from the grains throughout the substrate colonizing it completely. Incubation time will vary depending on the species of mushrooms you are growing.

  • Place the inoculated substrate bag in a room with the temperature set to the mid to low 70’s (Fahrenheit).
  • Incubation usually takes between 2 and 3 weeks depending on species.

How to Grow Mushrooms - 5 Steps to Success - Hydroponic Container Farms and Mushroom Farms - Farmbox Foods (2)

Step 5: Fruiting

After the substrate bags are completely colonized, the fruiting process can begin.

  • Take the colonized substrate bags to a room with high humidity with the temperature set to the low to mid 60’s.
  • Cut the bag open, exposing the mycelium to oxygen. At this point, the temperature drop and high humidity will act as biological triggers telling the mycelium to begin forming mushrooms.
  • After about 2 weeks (just keep an eye on them), you will have mature mushrooms that are ready to be picked! Depending on the species, several harvests can be picked from each bag. After a bag has produced its mushrooms, the substrate can be composted or added to soil where it will continue to produce small quantities of mushrooms.

How to Grow Mushrooms - 5 Steps to Success - Hydroponic Container Farms and Mushroom Farms - Farmbox Foods (3)

Not that hard, right? The ability to control temperature, humidity, and fresh air exchange is key to successfully growing mushrooms, and proper infrastructure is required to meet the varying needs of different mushroom species.

When you’re ready to take things to the next level, give us a call! Our Gourmet Mushroom Farms are equipped with everything you need to grow mushrooms on a large scale, and our amazing team is here to help you every step of the way.

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How to Grow Mushrooms - 5 Steps to Success - Hydroponic Container Farms and Mushroom Farms - Farmbox Foods (2024)


How to Grow Mushrooms - 5 Steps to Success - Hydroponic Container Farms and Mushroom Farms - Farmbox Foods? ›

The six steps are Phase I composting, Phase II composting, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping. These steps are described in their naturally occurring sequence, emphasizing the salient features within each step. Compost provides nutrients needed for mushrooms to grow.

What are the 5 steps to growing mushrooms? ›

The six steps are Phase I composting, Phase II composting, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping. These steps are described in their naturally occurring sequence, emphasizing the salient features within each step. Compost provides nutrients needed for mushrooms to grow.

What is the easiest way to grow mushrooms for beginners? ›

Spray-and-grow kits, a block of colonized substrate inside a small box, make for the easiest way for beginners to get started. “They're inexpensive. You get a lot of mushrooms out of them. And they're super easy,” says Lynch.

What is the most profitable mushroom to farm? ›

If you're looking for the most profitable mushroom to farm, you're likely considering Shiitake mushrooms. These sell at around $12 per pound, making them the most profitable type of mushroom to farm, especially when considering the demand. However, you might also consider growing gourmet Oyster mushrooms.

What are the 5 stages of mushroom growth? ›

What are the 5 stages of mushroom growth?
  • Stage 1: Germination Process for Spores. Spores play an integral part in mushroom reproduction and it is important for their lifecycle and origins to understand them. ...
  • Stage 2: Mycelial Growth. ...
  • Stage 3: Primordia Formation. ...
  • Stage 4: Mushroom Development. ...
  • Stage 5: Sporulation.
Feb 8, 2024

Can you grow mushrooms on coffee grounds? ›

It just makes sense to grow mushrooms in coffee grounds. You make wonderful nutritious oyster mushrooms out of a bountiful waste resource that is still rich with nutrients. You can return the now composted grounds to enrich your soil at the end of the growth cycle to complete its life cycle too.

What makes mushrooms grow the best? ›

Most mushrooms grow best near a neutral pH range; the optimum pH for mushroom cultivation and mycelial colonization is between 6.0 and 7.0 (Oyster Mushrooms: 6.5-7.0, Shiitake Mushrooms: 5.0-5.5). The pH of the substrate affects the growth and yield of mushrooms.

What helps mushrooms grow faster? ›

Mushrooms need a humid environment when they're fruiting. After all, they're made of more than 90% water. Increasing humidity can help your mushrooms grow faster and of a better quality. Although it's a balancing act, as too much humidity increases risk of bacterial infection and mold as well.

How do straw mushrooms grow? ›

The process involves inoculating pasteurized straw with mushroom grain spawn, allow the mushrooms to colonize the straw and placing your mushroom log in the right environmental conditions for fruiting.

How do farmers grow mushrooms? ›

Inside the mushroom house

In the growing house, the pasteurized substrate is placed in stacked, wooden trays or beds, and the spawn is mixed in and a top layer (usually of peat moss) is applied. From this point, it takes about three weeks to produce the first mushrooms for harvest.

What are the best mushrooms for hydroponics? ›

Some of the mushrooms suitable for growing in a hydroponic system are button, cinnamon cap, oyster, shiitake, nameko and enoki. A mixture of unbleached flour along with perlite and vermiculite is best nutrient for mushrooms grown in hydroponic system. The ratio of vermiculite to perlite in mixture is roughly 1:1.

Is mushroom farming difficult? ›

It can be overwhelming at first, but starting a mushroom farm is fairly simple. There are two options for starting your mushroom farm: indoor or outdoor. Indoor mushroom farming is the best option for serious year-round production.

How much money can a small mushroom farm make? ›

You could make over $60,000 a year growing gourmet mushrooms for profit. If you have a few hours a week to spare and a growing area where you can control the temperature, humidity, and light, then you can be a successful grower.

What is the sequence of growing mushrooms? ›

A germinating spore must mate with a compatible spore type to advance to the next stage of growth. The second is the mycelial stage. Mycelium must survive and thrive in very competitive environments. The final stage is the fruit body that produces and releases the spore for the next generation of mushrooms.

How do mushrooms reproduce step by step? ›

Some mushrooms also reproduce asexually through budding, where a small outgrowth from the parent fungus grows into a new individual mushroom, i.e fruiting body. Sexual reproduction in mushrooms involves the formation of “seeds” known as spores, which are produced in structures called fruiting bodies.

What are the requirements for mushroom to grow? ›

The ideal growing conditions for mushrooms are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and greater than 90% humidity. Natural logs work well and oaks and maples serve as the best hosts. For natural logs, it is best if the log is newly cut so that it hasn't dried out.

What is the process of growing mushrooms called? ›

Fungiculture is the cultivation of fungi such as mushrooms. Cultivating fungi can yield foods (which include mostly mushrooms), medicine, construction materials and other products.

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