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growing mushrooms on hay from my yard  RSS feed

 
Denise Lehtinen
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Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
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I often hear of people using straw to grow mushrooms on, but I have yet to hear of hay being used. Is there a reason that it is not an acceptable growth media?

Now that I cut my grass with my scythe, all I need to do to get hay from my yard is to put it some where to dry out. So, it is readily available.

Thanks from Tampa, Florida.
 
John Elliott
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Short answer: hay contains protein and straw doesn't. Hay is cut while the plant is in an active growth phase, i.e., producing a lot of protein, and this is maintained by drying it. Straw is what is left over after the plant goes to seed and shuts itself down at the end of its life cycle. By this time, all the protein and fat has been put into the seed and there is very little nutrition in the stalks and leaves and stems that are left.

How this relates to growing mushrooms is that fungi don't require a whole lot of nitrogen in their substrate. Give them 1% protein in their media (or nitrogen of any kind, like urea) and they are happy. Plants cut at the right time and dried into hay can contain upwards of 10% protein. It would be a waste of protein to just use it as mushroom growth media when you could be feeding it to livestock first and then using the livestock manure as mushroom media.
 
dan long
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John Elliott wrote:Short answer: hay contains protein and straw doesn't. Hay is cut while the plant is in an active growth phase, i.e., producing a lot of protein, and this is maintained by drying it. Straw is what is left over after the plant goes to seed and shuts itself down at the end of its life cycle. By this time, all the protein and fat has been put into the seed and there is very little nutrition in the stalks and leaves and stems that are left.

How this relates to growing mushrooms is that fungi don't require a whole lot of nitrogen in their substrate. Give them 1% protein in their media (or nitrogen of any kind, like urea) and they are happy. Plants cut at the right time and dried into hay can contain upwards of 10% protein. It would be a waste of protein to just use it as mushroom growth media when you could be feeding it to livestock first and then using the livestock manure as mushroom media.


Correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't the nutrient contents in hay also make it more susceptible to bacterial and mold contamination? I thought that one of the "selective substrate" (Stamets) properties of straw was that the cellulose is usable by saprophytes but not by bacteria or mold. I read on shroomery.org that coffee grounds are less forgiving than sawdust in sterile culture for this reason.

Aside from that, hay is usually more expensive than straw.
 
John Elliott
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dan long wrote:
Correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't the nutrient contents in hay also make it more susceptible to bacterial and mold contamination? I thought that one of the "selective substrate" (Stamets) properties of straw was that the cellulose is usable by saprophytes but not by bacteria or mold. I read on shroomery.org that coffee grounds are less forgiving than sawdust in sterile culture for this reason.

Aside from that, hay is usually more expensive than straw.


If you get hay wet, then yes, there is lots of nutrition there to support bacteria and mold. That's why you have to be careful to get the hay all the way dry and keep it that way to be able to feed it to animals.

Straw is almost as devoid of nutrients as a roll of paper towels, and yet it is possible to get a roll of paper towel to give a flush of oyster mushrooms.
 
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