I ordered a button mushroom kit online, and then also some grain spores of oyster and larger button-type mushrooms.
The button kit did ok for a bit (we harvested 3-4 mushrooms), and then kinda died.
I set the other 2 up in really nice compost, and they grew great for about a month or so (no fruiting) and then they died as well.
Temperatures didn't change much, but I am not convinced I had the humidity perfect.
What was weird is that they failed at different times, but at all once. The buttons went first, then about 4 weeks later, the oysters, and lastly the buttons from grain spawn. It was really weird, and the whole time I was trying to keep them moist and the temperature was a steady 68 degrees.
Any thoughts? No sign of infection that I can see, just basically mushroom collapse!
I want to try again, but I need to kinda figure out where I went wrong.
Exactly which species of mushrooms did you try to grow? Different species have different requirements.
Where are you located? What sort of climate is it? Do wild mushrooms grow nearby?
Are you absolutely sure that they are dead? Not just resting?
I am assuming that you mean "grain spawn" rather than "grain spores". The terminology used in growing mushrooms is a bit different than what people are used to in growing plants. Spores are actually rarely used. (It's almost better to think of spores as being somewhat equivalent to pollen, rather than seeds.)
Most mushroom cultivation is actually cloning - like taking a leaf cutting and growing an entire plant from it. Or like making bread leavening, where a small bit of starter is put into a fresh bit of water and flour to multiply.
Was your spawn grain spawn or sawdust spawn? It is better to use sawdust spawn in non-sterile outdoor applications. (Bugs and other creatures like to eat the grains.)
Without actually being able to see what happened firsthand, all I can do is speculate.
Do you have access to logs or stumps? You might wish to try cultivating on wood, using dowel spawn. Wood will be a bit more forgiving. (A problem with compost is that there are a lot of other competitors already living there.)
I am not sure of the scientific name of the mushrooms in the white button kit, but they are those kits you see everywhere.
The other two were almond agaricus and king oyster.
I am pretty sure they are dead, as the mycilieum has turned from a beautiful fluffy white to a withered grey. I have been keeping them moist, still, so maybe they will perk up...?
I am located in Northern Mexico. Our climate is dry during the winter, wet during the summer. I guess we could be considered semi-arid, though we are a wet semi arid, with 30-40 inches of rain a year. My property is at 6200 ft elevation in oak and juniper forests.
Wild mushrooms do grow everywhere here, especially during the summer wet season. I don't know what kind they are, but there are lots of different types. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head....
Sorry, yes grain spawn. It was late at night when I typed the original message!
All of my spawn was grain spawn from Field and Forest Products - fieldforset.com
Everything was grown inside, in a controlled environment, similar to a root cellar. The room is dark, buried underground (as is most of my house), and stays 65-75 year round.
I do have access to logs, oaks, juniper, cottonwood, willow.
I did sterilize the compost before using it, and with the oysters, they were grown on sterilized straw.
The thing is, for quite a while, they were growing really well, taking over the substrate, and looking really good, and then all of a sudden, they crashed.
I think, for most of the year, it would be too dry to grow them on wood outside. I would only have a 3 month window where it would be wet enough to grow outside (judging from the wild versions)
I do really want to get them going, cause my family loves mushrooms.
Button mushrooms are typically Agaricus bisporus, so they are closely related to the Almond Agaricus and will have similar needs. Agaricus mushrooms are unique in that they do not need light to fruit.
King Oysters require light in order to fruit. Typically 12 hours of "daylight" quality of light (fluorescent) is used.
The gray color may actually be a mold parasitizing your mycelium. I run an oscillating fan on a timer to promote air exchange. Molds and mildews dislike moving air.
I grow most of my mushrooms on sterilized sawdust substrate. This is a much more involved and energy-intensive process, but also much more fool-proof than straw or compost. (Agaricus need compost, however.)
My experiments with straw have had a MUCH higher failure rate. Straw is supposed to be pasteurized, not sterilized, which means that you are trying to kill some, but not all of the micro-organisms living in it. Also, the definition and composition of straw varies quite widely, some of it being more contaminated with mold spores than others. I have found getting the water content correct with straw to be difficult as well. My King Oyster experiments on straw have had a 50 percent failure rate so far, but below you can see a picture of some that were successful.
Trying to figure out what went wrong can be very difficult, especially when you are first starting out! On the plus side, I have learned a lot more from my failures than from my successes. Failure has caused me to pay more attention, whereas when the growing is easy I just took it for granted.
Another thought occurred to me: a lot of home growers of mushrooms have noted that when they put contaminated or poorly performing mushroom cultures outside, they often recover and spring back to life. Some have theorized that it's the fresh air, others say that maybe there are symbiotic organisms present in nature that are missing in our sterile cultures.
I know that your weather might not be currently ideal for this, but burying these failed experiments outdoors in a shallow layer of compost or woody mulch might produce something when the rainy season arrives.
well, I brought out the boxes, mixed them up, added a bit more compost, and now they are growing like crazy once again. I think my moisture levels might be off, cause the top of the substrate was dry, the bottom was very wet, and living mycilium was in a band in the middle. So, obviously, something wasn't working right.
I might not be using the right material for my boxes, they are in plastic, but there is no drainage through the plastic.
I feel like oysters are pretty hard to kill in general, though I dont have experience with King Oysters.
I have some Liquid Culture in the fridge right now that I am about to inoculate some rye berries with tomorrow. It is Blue Oyster from Sporeworks if you need some culture to start out with. I sectored the culture once on agar plates and the resulting genetics are crazy fast!
I feel bad for people that buy those kits and dont get anything from them. Lots of money to spend on supplies that would get you much much much further doing it yourself.
I agree I mean you can take some tissue from one of those kits or the fruits from one but I'd much rather start off With a LC or MS syringe and go from there that way if I fuck something up I know its my fault lol
Totally Mycofreak! I can say that you would surely be better off investing in a case of wide mouth Pint or Quart Mason Jars, Rye Grain, a Pressure Cooker, and a Bale of Straw.
Get yourself a 55 gallon drum used for some kind of food product and pasteurize your straw in bulk amounts in there or use a bunch of compost you make yourself. You will not be disappointed when you've got mushies comin out of your ears and dancing in your dreams at night
yeah, I have some King Oyster growing on cardboard right now, getting ready to move to straw.
One problem with LC is that you really need a pressure cooker and decent sterile conditions. Same with grain to grain. I, unfortunately do not have this, and for hobby growing, it is too much of an investment for agar, petris, flow hood, pressure cooker, etc.
I have been playing with cardboard cloning and spawning, and it is going really well. I prefer the non-sterile route.
My issue with my kings were very little air exchange and substrate was too wet. I started that one with grain spawn, and it worked fine for a while, but without the air exchange and substrate being so wet, the mycelium finally just died.
The issue with my buttons was air exchange, and that has been fixed.
I am really looking forward to getting my kings on some straw, probably in a laundry basket.
You actually dont need all that fancy stuff to do some basic aseptic inoculation techniques.
I have never used a flow hood though it would be sweet to have one. I simply use a clear rubbermaid tub with two holes in the lid to fit your arms through. the tub is laid on its side so that one can see what they are doing inside.
Other than that, you dont need a PC either. One can simply use Brown Rice Flour w/vermiculite to make PF tek cakes and use steam sterilization which uses just a regular pot with a lid.
I do see what you mean with non-sterile conditions though. It is really nice to not have to worry about all that.
The only two things that I consider absolutely necessary for cultivating mushrooms are a pressure cooker and agar. I purchased a cheap 23 qt. Presto pressure-canner a few years back on amazon.com and it has served me well, though I have had to replace the rubber sealing gasket about once a year. (One day I hope to buy a fancier American-made gasket-free model.)
I purchase my agar in bulk via amazon.com as well, and mix in my own nutrients - malt extract, yeast supplement, and corn sugar. But you can just as easily use potato broth or even dog food as a nutrient supplement for the agar.
Disposable plastic petri dishes are easy to use but are wasteful, small polypropylene containers or jelly jars can work in their place and are cheaper than borosilicate glass dishes.
I would love to have a flow hood, but I have managed for years without one. A small, clean room with still air can work as a laboratory. I load a spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol and mist the air and tabletop regularly as I work.
you can get away with doing PF cakes and LCs with just steaming but a pressure cooker makes things a lot cleaner and can up your game significantly and is usful for a lot besides cooking mushroom spawn you can can your excess vegetable harvest so you can enjoy it in your off season or "slow cook" a roast in 15-20min there by saving fuel and time you only really need agar if your playing with new wild strains you need to clean up from a dirty print or if you need to sector it but if your getting good genetics to start with than you can pretty much skip that step and go straight to grains cakes or a lil honey water I use a plastic tote for a still air glovebox I wish I could afford a flowhood (we'll see how far my tax return stretches this year after I get my bike running again) but a flowhood is not needed don't get me wrong the unsterilized teks are pretty cool but I can expand the myc much faster inside
Yeah, a PC is probably something I need to get. Some of my neighbors have them, so I might borrow one for now, just to learn.
I've had tons of success with cloning on cardboard, especially with oyster species. Since they are so aggressive to grow, it does make it easier, just pasteurize and go. BUT, without sterile conditions, doing grains, agar, etc are limited. Without sterility, I am limited somewhat to certain species (which is fine, really).
A glove box is a great idea, I'll get that going. I don't know about doing G2G in that, but at least some LC to Grain would be ok.
G2G's are possible with a glovebox. I usually wipe down the inside well with either bleach or alcohol and leave a paper towel doused with alcohol in the tub while I work. The only danger there is if you flame sterilize needles or inoculation loops you could have an explosion on your hands.
With G2G's, I make sure to Lysol the room around me and take extra care to make sure the environment and myself is clean. I bust up the spawn in the jars and work very quickly when transferring.