If you are looking to grow mushrooms at home, then you probably know about mushroom spawn. However, you may not be aware of all the ins and outs of getting the perfect type of spawn.
What is mushroom spawn?
Mushroom spawn is essentially any material that is inoculated with the mycelium, or the vegetative growth that a fungus gives. This mycelium is essential for a mushroom to be able to grow properly.
Spawn is used in moving the mycelium to a substrate, or the material in which mushrooms grow. Many things can be substrates, including logs, wood chips, and more.
Here are the 4 types of mushroom spawn to know about
Type #1: Sawdust spawn is made out of some type of hardwood
Sawdust spawn is sterilized sawdust that is inoculated with mycelium, usually by grain spawn. This type of spawn can be used to inoculate logs, outdoor mushroom beds, pasteurized straw, cardboard, and other substrates.
Some people prefer sawdust spawn because of the small size of the particles. Since they are so small and there are so many, there are various inoculation points at which the mycelium grows into the substrate. When mycelium colonization can occur more quickly, there is also less contamination risk.
Others stay away from sawdust spawn because it is not as nutritious for the mushroom to grow in. In some cases, the number of mushrooms that grow from sawdust spawn can be disappointing. Some growing mushroom kits come with sawdust that may be enriched to produce a higher yield.
Try this blue oyster mushroom sawdust spawn to grow your mushrooms at home.
Type #2: Grain spawn is good for many things
Grain spawn is a sterilized grain that is inoculated with spores or culture of mycelium. Common grains used for this spawn include rye and millet, but corn, wheat, and other cereals can be used.
You can use this type of spawn to create sawdust spawn, inoculate substrates that are pasteurized, or create more of the same spawn. Grains are more nutritious, so they are ideal in creating new spawns or inoculating indoor substrates.
Some people dislike grain spawn because it may not be effective when inoculating outdoor substrates, especially since it can attract animals, especially birds.
Try this rye sterilized grain spawn for your indoor mushroom growing needs.
Type #3: Plug or dowel spawn is an easy-to-handle choice
Plug spawn refers to many small wooden pins or blocks of wood that are inoculated with mycelium. Sometimes, this is done with sawdust spawn or by tapping holes into a log.
Some prefer plug spawn because it can be very effective at inoculating substrates that come from wood or other types of fibers. It can also colonize cardboard, wood chips, logs, paper pieces, or stumps. Another great advantage is that it tends to take up less space at home, or wherever you decide to place it.
If you choose this spawn, keep in mind that it may not be the best option to use with grain substrates.
Try this shiitake plug spawn and grow your shiitake mushrooms right at home!
Type #4: Straw spawn comes pasteurized before use
Straw spawn comes pasteurized and inoculated with mycelium, but it must be fresh and used quickly. For this option to work, you should also keep it dry, clean, and avoid moisture, as mold and other fungi can invade quickly.
While straw may not seem very appetizing, it is perfect for fungi, which helps provide enough nutrition for your colonies.
Try this pasteurized straw mushroom spawn that comes in a 5-lb grow bag.
How do I pick the best mushroom spawn?
The best way to pick your mushroom spawn is to try and match the spawn to the substrate. If you want to use a log to grow your mushroom, you should probably go with plug or woodchip spawn. Since the mycelium is familiar with the material, it may be able to colonize faster.
You may also find that some mushrooms grow better on specific substrates. Before you go out and buy spawn, be sure to research what substrate to use. As mentioned above, common substrates for spawn include sawdust, grain, plug, and straw.
Before you get started, learn all you can about the mushrooms you want to grow, and then identify the correct spawn and manufacturer. You can try online communities and blogs to hear a bit about what others are doing, as it can be very confusing and overwhelming to start growing mushrooms for the first time.
Finally, be sure to check the inoculation date on your mushroom spawn, because this date will tell you when the spawn will begin to degrade and be susceptible to bacteria, mold, and other invaders. As a rule, you should use your mushroom spawn immediately, and you should not keep it for more than two months.
If you are not ready to use your mushroom spawn, keep it refrigerated to prolong its lifespan.