I can buy mushroom plugs for about $60 here in Australia. Or I can buy a bag of mushroom compost for about $10 and grow mushrooms from it to collect spawn. Or I could buy mushrooms from the supermarket and try collect spawn from it.
I'm willing to pay $60 if it's a lot easier and more reliable. I have a perfect spot in my yard where wild mushrooms cover an old tree stump every year as it gets no sunshine, has lots of plants/weeds, and rains all winter.
Strangely, it's very hard to find information on how to collect mushroom spawn from a mushroom, and some of it is downright wrong (just watched a youtube demo and the guy concludes "I don't know if this'll work" without any follow up).
For outside grows, plant whatever you can get, and if conditions are right, mushrooms will grow: spores, whole mushrooms, moldy mushrooms, whatever. If they get into favorable conditions they will grow.
Plugs are intended for inoculating logs. I suppose that mushroom compost would be better for inoculating compost.
I'd say it depends on the mushroom types you want to grow.
Shiitake I would buy plugs because they are, in my opinion, a more finicky eater so therefore harder for me to propagate at home.
Garden Giant/Wine Cap, since you can't find them in the grocery store here, I started with a kit, got familiar with the smell, look, and taste before setting it free. That was a safety measure for me and worked out great.
Oysters I can find in the local grocery store at a reasonable price and have had excellent luck propagating them on boiled cardboard and then adding boiled wood chips. So, I wouldn't buy a kit for that, just some mushrooms that look fresh and save the stems.
I'm considering inoculating my "woods" with morels. Because they are so expensive in the grocery store here and I'm not sure the variety or ease of propagation from mushroom, I will probably just buy spores, or whatever is recommended, online once I'm sure there's nothing already growing there I can confused them with. They are difficult to confuse though compared to some other types.
I will never grow white button types. They look way too much like poisonous varieties and there's a saying: there two types of mushroom hunters careful ones and dead ones.
I would say that it depends on your knowledge about mushrooms.
If you can consistently properly identify wild mushrooms that are edible, and you can find all the species you want to grow, then that would be the best method.
If on the other hand, you aren't sure of what is edible and what isn't then purchasing is obviously a more viable methods.
Plugs are meant to go into holes drilled in fresh logs and you will need to wax them to prevent contamination, mushroom compost is for growing spawn and thus mushrooms once the spawn has filled the growing medium.
spawn inoculated compost can be used to inoculate more compost or it can be packed into holes drilled in logs which are then sealed with wax to keep any other spores from contaminating your log(s).
As kola Lofthouse says, mushrooms will grow.
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posted 1 year ago
I don't mind what variety of mushroom it is, just something cheap and easy to start off with. I'm researching how to grow oyster mushrooms on a cardboard box now...
Hey Tim, some mushrooms are so easy to grow you really just need to sit down with a beer and watch it ... But that doesn't mean they are edible or yummy, as I found out this Fall :0( So, if you want to enjoy eating your shrooms, you must be a little bit discerning. Last year, I bought $20 worth of the easiest to grow wine cap mycelium -- it was about this time of the year, sort of late, so just in case, I split the mycelium in half and buried half of it outside in the wood chips and half of it in the bucket filled with fine wood chips to spend the winter in the basement. Everything just took off crazy, the basement bucket was rocking with Stropharia rugosa-annulata spawn and I planted it all outside in the garden -- both fall and spring plantings did great. Well, come the end of September until practically now, I had bumper crops of stropharia. However, it is completely unappealing to eat -- no matter which way you cook it it tastes like a shoe sole -- tasteless, without the mushroom kick. Well, degustibus non disputandum est! But they are doing the job they were meant to do: they are eating the truck load worth of wood chips. $20 investment
We are first time mushroom growers. What we did: bought shiitake dowels from forest fungi and inoculated logs, but saved a bit. Went to home hardware and bought some more dowels and inocculated them, went easy, ijust boiled the dowels a bit down cleaned a jar filled it with boiling water before I put the dowels in. But these dowels are expensive! So when the jar was inocculated I found some old unhulled barley which I boiled and inocculated the barley with the spawn, but this took off much slower and I actually don't know weather will work or not.
Prices have dropped to $50 including wax and shipping so I'm now searching for a log to inoculate. I'll buy either shiitake or oyster. I prefer shiitake but as oyster can grow in the ground I can potentially harvest oyster, blend it up and spread it over my garden to hopefully grow on woodchip mulch.
You may use anything that is colonized with mycelium as inoculum for your logs, just make sure that is your choice mushroom and not something else. When you purchase plugs and trust the source then you'll get the mushrooms you expect, but if you play around without knowing exactly what's colonizing that piece of wood or cardboard then you might get somethin else.