Hello All! I have really been enjoying my experience growing oyster mushrooms (those pinks!) outdoors and in a tent in the summer here in Michigan (and will likely expand next year). My husband and I are looking at our first winter here, and are concerned about our income dropping, so we are contemplating keeping mushrooms going indoors. Thing is, we are totally off-grid right now. We have some money to invest, but are having a difficult time finding resources to guide us.
We are thinking about a reefer container divided into 1/3 spawning/prep room and 2/3 fruiting chamber (there is a 50 ft. one near us for $3K), a DC Snap Fan, a Propane Heater (we have a canopy brooder heater that seems like it would work well), a bunch of marine batteries charged by solar when it is sunny out and by a strong generator/battery charger when it is not, and using cold weather varieties.
What I cannot figure out is how to keep the humidity up without a plug-in fogger, and how to make an off-grid fogger big enough to mist the fruiting chamber (34x8x8 is 2176 ft3?). We could make the fruiting chamber smaller (25x8x8 at 1600ft3), but still need an off-grid solution...
Any ideas? Advice? Feedback?
I really appreciate it- I reallllly don't want to have to work in a factory over the winter
Blessings, Hara in NW Lower MI
For a commercial set up those numbers should work well. The coolest set up I've seen they use hooks and hang their fruiting bags from the roof, going vertical allows them (in an 8 foot height) to have five bags roof to floor per line and they used a 2' walk space between rows, the lines were spaced 2 feet apart in each row.
For off grid you might need to think multiple misters or set up a low pressure rig (similar to a drip irrigation rig but with mister heads instead of drippers) something like that would only need one pump to move the water at around 40 psi to get good misting through out the fruiting chamber.
Use a timer for high humidity in your growroom. I think you would need some ultrasonic disc humidifiers they come up in a group of 12/unit they will give you plenty of humidity but they don't last long [1-2 years]. Mushroom growing is a process you may split that into stages, for now best would be to grow higly tolerant strains that are also productive. A friend of mine wants to sell her growroom equipment -let me know if you would like to see some details.
Check out Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation by Tradd Cotter. He has a whole chapter devoted to off-grid mushrooming and another about spacial and hygeine considerations with a section that talks about reefer/container growing. You are kind of in the middle, so worth considering both issues. I note that specifically you have not included lighting, which is essential and forgotten by many!
The book is about $30 from Mushroom Mountain, and I think it will save you some serious aggravation and spoilage. You can get it from Chelsea Green too. I think I got mine from Mushroom Mountain directly, they have combo deals sometimes with spawn.
Standing on the shoulders of giants. Giants with dirt under their nails
Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook