Grow mushrooms the EZ way.

Growing Mushrooms From Mycelium- [6 Simple steps to learn the process]

So you’ve decided you want to move beyond the pre-produced grow kits and follow the process of growing gourmet mushrooms from start to finish?

GOOD, because mycology and growing mushrooms from mycelium is an addictive hobby. Collecting strains, expanding them into colonies and eventually fruiting them into mushrooms is a lot of fun, especially if you’re a fan of the natural world and biology.

Alongside this, there is something truly rewarding about seeing your food or supplemental grow from a tiny spec of tissue inside a syringe into a full fruit.

However, be warned it can be quite a challenge to find in-depth details and tutorials about growing gourmet mushrooms without exploring the sites linked to growing the non-gourmet variety.

In this article, I want to give you a basic introduction into growing mushrooms from mycelium, this won’t be an extensive or detailed post but several links within this post will branch off should you require any in-depth guidance.

The purpose here is to give an overview of the process.

The Steps to Growing Mushrooms from Mycelium

The Steps to Growing Mushrooms from Mycelium

  1. Obtain a Spore or Culture (mycelium) syringe
  2. Expand your Syringe to create unlimited supply (non-essential)
  3. Innoculate your sterilized spawn with liquid culture
  4. Spawn into a bulk substrate
  5. Wait
  6. Induce fruiting conditions

Step 1: Obtain a Spore or Culture (mycelium) syringe.

Try to find a local website (inside your country) which can provide a spore syringe or liquid culture. Reddit or eBay can also be a good source but make sure the seller has good reviews and you have exhausted other avenues first. Generally, you are more likely to find a liquid culture syringe if you are growing out gourmet mushrooms.

Step 2: Expand your Syringe to create unlimited supply (non-essential)

Something I do whenever I get a new strain in liquid culture for the first time is to expand the mycelium from one syringe into multiple jars of liquid culture. This means I never have to buy another syringe again unless my jar colony collapses somehow (Oh no!).

With this method creating an honey liquid culture is pretty simple if you are using the correct technique, but I won’t be going into detail about that in this post.

Step 3: Innoculate your sterilized spawn with liquid culture

Once you have sterilized you have surroundings it is time to inject the liquid culture into your chosen jar of sterilized spawn substrate. Common options for spawn are popcorn spawn, rye gain, wild bird seed, straw or brown rice flour.

If you are an absolute beginner I would advise starting with brown rice flour and following a method similar to one I posted on how to grow lions mane at home and grow straight out from the jar. Lion’s mane is a particularly hardy strain to grow and can fruit with non-ideal conditions.

Note: The method described above is perfect for beginners because it ensures you won't contaminate the substrate if you keep investigating the substrate for growth which is a common trait for noobs (I used to check my jars hourly at one time, a little obsessive :D).

Step 4: Spawn into a bulk substrate

Once you have sterilized you have surroundings it is time to inject the liquid culture into your chosen jar of sterilized spawn substrate. Common options for spawn are popcorn spawn, rye gain, wild bird seed, straw or brown rice flour.

Step 5: Wait

Wait until the bulk substrate is engulfed in the white Mycelium and your substrate is completely covered white. Normally the Mycelium will be so strong at this point it is more resistant to contamination.

Step 6: Induce fruiting conditions

By placing the mycelium into fruiting conditions (this often involves altering temperatures, humidity and increasing fresh air to the block, but is often strain dependant) you mushrooms will begin forming hyphal knots. From here if you continue to give the mycelium the stable fruiting condition they will develop into mushrooms so just be patient and prepare to be amazed!

How to Harvest Mushrooms?

Harvesting is as simple as removing the fruit from the medium you have decided to grow on. Some people recommend twisting and pulling the mushroom, however I usually just cut them near the base with a sterile knife, I have yet to see this cause issues.

For some species, I like to soak the substrate in water or give it a heavy misting to see if it fruits for a second time!

I’ve read in many places that certain species won’t fruit a second time however for me they have so its always worth trying if you don’t need the growing vessel immediately. Eventually, the mycelium will become exhausted and die off but this will become obvious as you watch the mycelium reduce in size and will probably contaminate.

What is the Best Mushroom Strains for Beginners?

In my opinion the best gourmet strains for beginners are:

  • Oyster (Blue, White, Pink)
  • Reishi
  • Lions Mane

This is because the strains are relatively aggressive when it comes to colonization (which reduces the chances of contamination) and these strain will fruit in non ideal conditions.

This is a reason these strains are often described as “forgiving”.

What is a good substrate for beginners?

The “PF Tek” is probably the best substrate for beginners, even when growing gourmet varieties. This is because there is a wealth of knowledge out there on how to produce mushrooms from it. However, the yields will definitely be lacking.

Hardwood sawdust could also be used by people who have mastered the “PF Tek”. I have had success injecting directly into sawdust although colonization is can be slower than grain inoculation. This could be an easy way to increase your yield without having to move over to grain spawn and bulk substrates.

How do I maximize mushroom yield?

This depends on several things such as the genetics of the strain your growing, the supplementation provided during growth and the environmental conditions you give the mushroom throughout the growing cycles.

A commonly discussed way to increase yield is to use a decent substrate such a master mix (Hardwood Sawdust + Soy Hulls + Water). This is created by adding mixing 50/50 HWSD + Soy Hulls then adding water to 60% hydration ratio. Because of the high nutritional value of this mix, there is a lot of risk of contamination so only proficient growers should use this. 

What is the mushroom yield per pound of substrate?

This is normally species dependant and normally depends on several factors such as growing environment, substrate nutrients and genetics.

However, I have done a little bit of research and created this table.

Species Yield/Substrate (supplemented sawdust)
Lions Mane 1Lb per 5lbs substrate block
Reishi 1lb per 5lbs substrate block
Shiitake 2lb per 5lbs substrate block
Yellow Oyster 3lb per 5lb substrate block
Pink Oyster 6 lbs per 5lb substrate block
King Oyster 3lbs per 5lbs substrate block