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Milky Mushroom Cultivation

By Suzanne Richmond
White milky mushrooms are tall and have white gills.

Southern and tropical climates are well suited to growing the milky mushroom, Calocybe indica. Temperatures of 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 80 percent and higher favor its growth. Milky mushrooms are delicious and have a longer shelf life than the common button mushroom. They are quickly gaining popularity as a commercial strain. Milky mushrooms are easy to grow at home. Most supplies needed are available at garden stores and online.

Prepare Nutrients and Coco Peat

Blend 1 cup of mixed dried beans in a blender until powdered. Add 1 cup of wheat bran and blend once again until thoroughly mixed.

Break apart one coco peat cube, and place it inside an 18-gallon container. Add one cup of the wheat bran-bean mixture to the coco peat. Mix in one gallon of water to just moisten the coco peat mix.

Open a 13-by-14-inch clear plastic bag on a flat surface and place a 2-inch layer of the coco peat mixture in the bottom. Add half a handful of of milky mushroom spawn seeds inside the outer edge of the bag.

Add another 2-inch layer of the coco peat mixture and then a half handful of milky mushroom spawn seeds inside the outer edge of the plastic.

Add a third layer of the coco peat mixture and a handful of the milky mushroom spawn seeds. Close bag with twist tie.

Repeat steps 2 through 5 for the second plastic bag.

Care for Milky Mushrooms

Make six puncture holes on the bottom and around the sides of each bag. Because the soil is moist, none of it will spill out of the holes.

Place the prepared bags inside a 20-gallon aquarium. Place a sponge in a plastic dish and fill with water. Place this inside the aquarium to achieve high humidity in the aquarium. Cover the aquarium and wait 22 days.

On the 22nd day open the aquarium and clip off the top of each bag. Notice the white mycelium that has grown through the coco peat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the wheat bran-bean blend on top of the growing mycelium. Refill the sponge dish with water, replace the aquarium cover, and do not disturb for four days.

Mist the bags on day 27. When mushrooms have grown 6 or 8 inches tall they are ready to harvest.

Check mushroom bags daily and mist to keep the soil moist for the next three months. Harvest mushrooms every three to four days by twisting and pulling them from the bag. Refill the dish holding the sponge with water as needed. Keep aquarium covered to maintain humidity.

 

Things You Will Need

  • 1 cube coco peat
  • 1 18-gallon plastic container with lid
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 cup mixed dried beans
  • Blender
  • 1 pound milky mushroom spawn seeds
  • 2 clear plastic bags that measure 13 inches by 24 inches
  • 2 twist ties
  • 20-gallon aquarium with board to cover top
  • Plastic dish
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Spray bottle

Tips

  • Recycle spent mushroom compost in your compost pile or garden when mushrooms are finished sprouting
  • Coco peat is best just slightly moist. If it is dripping water it is too wet, and mushrooms will not grow.

Warning

  • If the mycelium is a color other than white, the batch has been colonized by undesirable fungi and must be discarded.

About the Author

 

Suzanne Richmond is an avid gardener and small farmer who resides in Melbourne, Fla. She is an avid Central Florida vegetable gardener and has developed a self-watering container called a Growbox. She writes gardening- and poultry-related articles for Examiner.com, GardenGuides and Answerbag.