Growing mushroom spawn

This album on growing mushroom spawn is based on the wonderful workshops of Guerilla House where we learned to grow mushrooms on straw, and wooden logs, and make spawn for seeding the straw and logs, at very low cost. To grow spawn you need spores or mushroom parts, preferably the 'stem'. Placed on a growing medium they soon begin to sprout mycelium.

cover the mushroom with glass when making a printcover the mushroom with glass when making a spore print

Making spore mass slurry in molasses

mixing spore food... mycelium loves sugarmixing spore food... mycelium loves sugar
letting it workfloat a mushroom gills down in the bottle
and the tiny spawn will feed on the molassesand the tiny spores will feed on the molasses

Growing spawn
on a burlap sack

take an itty bitty bit of mushroomtake a mushroom
wrap it and roll itwrap it and roll it
a damp pasteurized sacka damp pasteurized sack
cover in newsprintcover in newsprint
place shroom on sackplace shroom on sack
in a cardboard boxin a cardboard box

Sprinkle the box regularly, keeping it damp, cool and in a shady place. 

Growing mushroom spawn
on cardboard

You can pasteurize the cardboard with boiling water in a closed icebox. Pasteurized growing media are important while the mushroom is spreading through the spawn material because with all the food available at this stage, other competing organisms, ubiquitously present all around us, in our food, on our hands and in the air, can take root and outcompete our food mushroom. Once the material is mostly colonized its safer to expose the spawn to the next stage of growing medium.

pasteurize cardboardpasteurize
wrap itwrap it
when its coolwhen its cool
andand
add fungusadd fungus
box itbox it
a week later, mycelial threads expand across the cardboarda week later, mycelial threads expand across the cardboard

Wood chip spawn used for inoculating the straw

the sweet smellthe sweet smell
and crumbly feeland crumbly feel

Dowel spawn used for
inoculating the logs

see dowels impregnated with spawn in bag on leftsee dowels impregnated with spawn in bag on left

Once you have cultured some spawn you can use it to seed the growing medium on which you wish to grow mushrooms and see them fruit. A favorable growing medium for the mycelium provides the greatest yield and success rate with shop bought spawn. The medium can be treated by sterilizing it or pasteurizing it depending on the degree of removal of other organisms you are aiming for. The Guerilla House 'Low Tech Shrooms' workshop takes one through all the moves to be able to practice this exciting form of agriculture with minimal setup costs. You can move on to the other photo albums of the workshop, on growing mushrooms on straw and in the garden, and on growing oyster mushrooms on wooden logs. In both cases versatile Oyster mushrooms were used. 

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