COMMON QUESTIONS from a FIRST TIME MUSHROOM GROWER
What kind of mushroom is the easiest for a beginner to grow?
- Easy: Oyster mushroom
- Less easy: King oyster
- A little more technical: Shiitake, poplar & shimeji
- Technical: Maitake (hen of the woods), reishi & button mushrooms (agaricus)
- Advanced: Truffles
- Impossible: Khowe (Natal beef steak)
We recommend the oyster mushroom to all first time growers, they will give you mushrooms within two weeks. Oyster mushrooms are also very tasty.
Where can I buy spawn (seed)?
Mushrush, see our wide variety of spawn.
What is a mushroom ‘log’?
- A commercial word used to describe spawn & substrate mixed together and grown in a long, clear plastic bag.Shiitake can be grown on this type of ‘log’.Mushrooms grown on logs from a tree take a long time to grow.
What can I grow my mushrooms in?
- A clear plastic bag. We have worked with bags from 30cm x 12cm to 85cm x 30cm.
- The bag needs to to be strong enough so that the substrate does not pierce holes in the plastic.
- Cardboard containers (shoe box, egg boxes)
- A washing basket
How do I choose which mushroom to grow?
Match a mushroom strain to an appropriate substrate.
- For example: oyster mushrooms grow well on straw, meilie cobs, paper, cotton waste, coffee grinds or a combination of these.
- Shiitake grow well on sawdust (anything but pine and wattle) and bran.
What is a substrate?
The mushroom’s food.
- Uncomposted: straw, sawdust, meilie cobs, paper, cotton waste, coffee grinds or a combination of any of these.
- Composted: straw composted with chicken manure.
What kind of substrate should I use?
Preferably one that is free, cheap and easily available.
- Ask your local coffee shop for their used coffee grinds.
- If you have a neighbouring farm, ask for straw or maize cobs.
- Shred old newspapers and office paper.
- Garden centres and pet stores often stock straw, wood shavings, wood chips and coir.
How do I prepare the substrate?
Substrates can be:
- Pasteurized (lime soaked, ‘Omo’ washed boiled or steamed)
- Sterilized (pressure cooked over 100℃)
How much substrate should I put in the bag?
This depends on the size of bag.
As much as possible and compact it well.
Certain mushrooms, like oyster mushrooms, can be grown in buckets or other kinds of plastic containers.
How much mushroom spawn will I need?
This depends on the strain you choose but generally;
- Beginner: spawn to substrate ratio, 1:4 (eg. 2kg spawn mixed into 8kg of substrate
- Professional: spawn to substrate ratio, 1:10 (2kg spawn mixed into 20kg of substrate
What is colonising?
Colonising is when the spawn makes thin white threads in the substrate.
Where can I store my logs while they are colonising?
It is best to store them in the same place where you grow them
Where can I grow my mushrooms?
This depends on the strain and what facilities you have available.
- Oyster mushrooms, king oysters & shiitake: anywhere from a bathroom outdoor trench, under a tree or a mini greenhouse.
- They can be hung on racks, placed on shelves or buried in trenches.
What is fruit?
The fruit is the actual mushroom itself.
When will my mushrooms be ready to harvest?
Once again this is dependent on the strain you have chosen to grow.
Oyster mushrooms are the fastest, expect fruit within two to three weeks .
More technical mushrooms take six to eight weeks to harvest.
If I want to sell my mushrooms, how much can I sell them for?
This depends on the quality, quantity, no packaging/packaging (brown bags to ventilated plastic containers) and your customer.
Generally prices range from R65 to R150 per kg.
Will poisonous mushrooms infect the mushrooms I am growing?
What is an exotic mushroom?
Any edible mushroom other than a button mushroom (agaricus).
All the mushrooms on our spawn list are exotic, gourmet and edible mushrooms.
Do mushrooms have any nutritional benefits?
Yes! All the edible mushrooms on our site have anti-cancer health benefits and are high in proteins.
How should I transport my spawn?
How long can I keep my mushroom spawn before I use it?
Up to two weeks for best results. Old spawn affects the quality & quantity of your mushrooms.
Where can I store my spawn?
In a refrigerator at 3-5℃
Do mushrooms need to grow in the dark?
No, only the button mushrooms need a dark environment.
What equipment do I need?
Easier mushrooms such as oyster mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms need little equipment to set up.
Shiitake and the likes require more specialised equipment.