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How to Grow Mushroom Spores

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mushrooms have been grown for centuries for medicinal and culinary purposes. If you use them often, consider growing your own, called mushroom cultivation or mycology. This can be an interesting and rewarding process. Use mushrooms for cooking or medicine, and for enriching the landscape and compost. There are some key things to keep in mind when growing mushroom spores.

Sterilize the canning jars in the pressure cooker. Let the jars cool for eight to 10 hours after sterilization.

Put the substrate into the jars carefully, filling them about halfway full. Good substrates include materials such as wild bird seed or rice flour. Poke about three to four holes, 1/4 inch in diameter, into the top of the canning jars. Stuff polyfill into the holes so contaminants can't get in. Polyfill is polyester fibers, usually used as pillow stuffing. This can be found at craft stores.

Place the canning jars in a cool, dry room out of sunlight. Using a lighter, heat the syringe needle's tip for about 10 seconds. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and swab the needle to disinfect it.

Insert the needle into each of the canning jar's holes through the polyfill, and inject 100 ccs of the spore liquid into the substrate. In between each hole injection, swab the needle with the rubbing alcohol.

Keep the canning jars out of sunlight, in a space that is around 85-89 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep an eye on the jars for white cobwebby material, called mycelium, to grow. Throw out any jars where the substrate turns black, dark gray or green.

Continue to watch the mushroom spores. After the mycelium develops, it will create a patty-shape, like a hamburger. This means the fruiting of the mushroom spawn has begun.

Layer 1 inch of perlite on the bottom of a separate plastic container. Place the patty of mushroom spores into the container, on top of the perlite, once the mycelium has completely covered the patty shape. Four to five times a day, open the container and fan it with the lid for air circulation. Within a week or so, you should notice sprouting mushroom pinheads. Pick them when they reach maturity.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Spore syringe
  • Canning jars
  • Substrate
  • Pressure cooker
  • Polyfill
  • Lighter or matches
  • Cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Plastic container
  • Perlite

Tip

  • Use a heating pad to heat the jars to 85 to 89 degrees, if necessary.

Warning

  • Don't bring anything into your work area until it is sterilized.