Good yield of food crops is indispensable. The case is not very different with mushrooms. Luckily, growing mushrooms is not a tough job. All you need is a few basic supplies and equipment to get a bountiful harvest of your favorite mushrooms.
In this article I will share with you a list of a few essential supplies and equipment that you need to get started with your mushroom cultivation journey.
List of mushroom growing supplies
Here are the basic supplies that you need to grow any type of mushroom.
- Grow bags or buckets
- A thermometer
- A spray bottle or humidifier
- Autoclave/Large drum
- Air exchange fan
- Temperature control
- LED lighting
Remember, if you plan to buy a mushroom growing kit it already contains all the supplies including spawn, substrate, and grow bags that are essential for growing mushrooms.
Let’s dig into the details how these supplies work for growing mushrooms.
Spawn is the primary need for growing all types of mushrooms. Just like a seed is used for growing food crops, the spawn is used for growing mushrooms. Spawn must be fresh and contamination free. The whole success of mushroom growing business depends upon the type of spawn you are using.
Make sure you buy the spawn from a trustworthy and reliable dealer, and it should be of a known variant of mushroom. If you can’t buy spawn from the local market, then you can also purchase spawn from the online stores. Locate the reliable online dealers and order the spawn for your desired mushroom. You can also make spawn yourself.
A substrate is a basic medium which is used to grow mushrooms. A good substrate should be enriched with nutrition to promote lush growth of mushrooms. Mostly the substrates are waste products which otherwise will go into waste. Luckily, the agricultural or industrial waste is cheaply available and can be utilized to grow mushrooms. In this way you will turn the waste into a valuable product. The substrate should be sterilized or pasteurized to kill microbes.
Each mushroom species has its own substrate requirement and gives different yield on different substrates. However, some substrates are highly recommended like straw, sawdust, and cotton waste. These substrates are easily available and can be purchased from any local vendor.
Grow bags/buckets are used for filling the sterilized substrate. Grow bags should be transparent and clean. Mushrooms can be grown in any type of polyethylene bags available at your home. Make sure the bags are clean. For beginners, special mushroom growing bags are recommended in order to avoid contamination. These special bags are called unicorn bags and they can be purchased from any local or online store. Once the bags are filled with substrate make a few small holes in the bags to allow for air exchange.
Mushrooms require a specific temperature for their growth. The temperature needs vary with the type of mushroom you desire to grow. For instance, blue oyster mushrooms prefer to grow at cooler temperatures of 12-18 degrees Celsius (45-65 ℉) while Pink oyster mushroom prefer to grow at a warmer temperatures of 18-30 degrees Celsius (64-86 ℉). If the temperature is not in an optimum range the mushroom might fail to grow.
To make sure the temperature of the grow room is in the desired range a thermometer can be used for checking the temperature. If the temperature is above or below the required temperature range you will have to make provisions for maintaining the temperature.
A Spray Bottle/Humidifier
Mushrooms require high humidity for the development of fruiting bodies. The moisture in the grow room can be maintained by spraying clean water with a spray bottle. Regular spraying the grow room and mushroom bags is necessary to maintain the desired level of humidity. Spray the grow bags at pinning stage twice a day.
A humidifier can be used as an alternate to spray bottles. However, this is optional you don’t need to buy a humidifier specifically for this purpose. If the humidifier is not available the spray bottles will work fine. The advantage of humidifier is that it will maintain the humidity at a specific level and will save you the effort of spraying twice a day. If you want to install a humidifier you can buy it from Amazon or any local store. The best one is a controlled humidifier it works same as a thermostat for temperature.
When you are planning to grow mushrooms in a bulk amount then you can use mixers for mixing the spawn and substrate. Usually, a compost mixer is used for mixing the spawn and substrate. It can be done with the help of compost tumbler and cement mixer.
Autoclave or Large Drum
The substrate is full of contaminants which must be killed before filling the substrate in bags. To sterilize the substrate large drums fitted on a burner or autoclaves are used. If you don’t have autoclave, then you need to buy a new autoclave as it can be quite expensive.
Mushroom growing is a relatively inexpensive process that gives you yield with minimum investment. I would recommend using large drums that can be used for sterilizing a bulk amount of substrate and they are inexpensive. Place the drum on a burner and fill it with water. You can place a few bricks on the bottom of the container to avoid the direct contact of substrate bags with the heat. Place the bags on the bricks and turn the burner on. It will heat up the water and the grow bags will be sterilized in hot water.
Mushroom grow bags can be placed in an incubation room/chamber. Any clean room at your home can be maintained as a grow room. The temperature and humidity of grow room can be maintained by using humidifier, air conditioners and exhaust fans.
Temperature control is used to maintain the temperature of mushroom grow room. The temperature control functions as a heater when temperature is low and it acts as a cooler when temperature is high.
Mushrooms need light during the fruit formation stage. You can install LED lights in the incubation room that will provide the necessary light for growing mushrooms. Different LED lights are available in the market. For instance, LED lights in the 6500 – 9000K range will work well. Make sure they are waterproof.
Air Exchange Fan
An air exchange fan should be installed in the incubation chamber to maintain air circulation. Carbon dioxide level is maintained with the help of air exchange fan. RVK fan or a squirrel cage fans can be used to allow for air exchange.
Other Lab supplies
There are some other lab supplies that are used to prepare spawn and to grow mushrooms. Spawn preparation in laboratory is a perfect way to obtain fresh and reliable spawn. If you prepare spawn on your own, it will increase your chances of success.
Here are a few lab supplies that you will need to prepare spawn on your own.
- Laminar flow hood with HEPA filter (To inoculate grain with mushroom mycelial culture for spawn preparation)
- Petri dishes (To grow and maintain mushroom culture)
- Agar solution (To grow mushroom culture)
- Glass bottles for grain spawn
- Magnetic plate stirrer (if doing liquid cultures)
- Surgical mask (To prevent contamination)
- Surgical gloves (To prevent contamination)
- Isopropanol alcohol (To wipe out the working bench)
All the above-mentioned supplies and their proper utilization is necessary to make the mushroom cultivation process a sure success!
Make sure you have all the basic supplies and instructions about how to use these supplies. Get started with your mushroom cultivation journey. Good Luck!