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.
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.
What is the difference between mushroom culture and mushroom spawn?
The image below is a mushroom culture. The top image is mushroom spawn (seed).
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 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.
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?
As much as possible and well compacted.
Where can I buy spawn (seed)?
Mushrush, see our wide variety of spawn.
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℃
How much mushroom spawn will I need?
This depends on the strain you choose but generally;
- Beginner: spawn to substrate ratio, 1:4
- Professional: spawn to substrate ratio, 1:10
Do mushrooms need to grow in the dark?
No, only the button mushrooms need a dark environment.
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 or outdoor trench, to a mini greenhouse.
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.
What can I grow my mushrooms in?
- A clear plastic bag, we have worked with bags from 30cmx12cm to 85cmx30cm. (needs to be strong enough so that the substrate does not pierce holes in it)
- Cardboard containers (shoe box, egg boxes)
- A washing basket
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.
Will poisonous mushrooms infect the mushrooms I am growing?
No, however if your substrate has too much water in it, Ink caps may start to grow in your mushroom 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.
Can I hang them, put them on shelves, put them under a tree, in a greenhouse or put them in trenches?
Yes, yes and yes. This is once again dependent on available facilities.
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.
Where can I sell my mushrooms?
Exotic, gourmet mushrooms have become very popular at restaurants, boutique hotels, culinary schools and catering companies.
Farmers markets and food festivals.
Commercially, your local spar.
Your closest local fresh produce market eg. Johannesburg fresh produce market.
How much can I sell the mushrooms 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.