A basic guide on growing shiitake & oyster mushrooms with a spawn kit produced by Zoom Out Mycology.
Step 1: Buy a culture. This could come in many forms. If you're an advanced mushroom grower you might start with a spore print, spore syringe or an agar plate. If you're more of a beginner than a spawn bag can be the perfect place to start! Our spawn bags range between 3-5 lbs. Spawn is mycelium growing on a substrate, which is the food source and growth medium for the mycelium and then mushrooms.
What we sell: mushroom spawn bags for either fruiting or expanding into logs.
For the next step you’ve got options.
Step 2a: Fruit directly from the spawn bag
With your spawn bag you could fruit mushrooms directly growing roughly 1-2 lbs per bag. To do this, find a clean knife and a large plastic bag. Using your clean knife, cut a roughly 4 inch tall "X" on the face of the spawn bag. After cutting the X in the bag spray/mist the "X" with water. After misting cover with your large (preferably clear or translucent) plastic bag to hold in humidity. Do not seal up the spawn bag. Mushrooms need oxygen to breathe and fruit properly. They also release carbon dioxide (CO2) in their respiration process. Ultimately they can suffocate in a sealed environment.
Step 2b: Expand your spawn into a larger (bulk) substrate
First source a freshly cut or fallen(but healthy) log. Then, using a special drill bit (buy one here) made for mushroom projects, drill a 5/16th deep hole. Carefully open your spawn bag incase you don't use it all that day. Clean scissors work great. Then take your inoculation tool (buy one here) puncture the block with your inoculation tool forcing spawn up into the chamber. Then using your thumb or other palm press the button down over a hole drilled on your mushroom log.
Frequently asked questions:
What is inoculation?
How do you care for a mushroom log?
How much and how long do mushroom logs produce? Spawn bags?
How do you store logs while they’re growing? // Is there a specific way to place them?
Any special conditions needed for growth and or fruiting?
Do you have to water your spawn bag or mushroom logs?
You want to order a spawn kit but it may take you a few weeks to get my materials or get started. "How do I store my spawn bag?"
My name is Bashira Muhammad, i’m a 24 year old mycologist and founder at Zoom Out Mycology (ZOM). I started ZOM in January of 2017 in my home state of New Jersey with the intention of creating an organization that would initiate sustainable change on different regional scales. My uncle told me a quote when I was growing up around accomplishing challenging tasks. It was that you should “start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.” This principle inspires me as the organization manager and has helped me throughout many decision making processes.
The resources I decided to use were the Sustainable Development Goals and information from the book Drawdown. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent worldwide objectives of a sustainable society and Project Drawdown directly relates to the carbon footprint of activities one could implement to create a more sustainable way. Here’s where ZOM comes in, we apply the science of mycology towards a sustainable future based on goals and targets backed by the scientific community.
by Neil Stalter | Zoom Out Mycology
It can be a little weird to look at a plant, insect, or animal and think “I wonder where that came from?” but that can actually be one of the most important questions to ask for environmentalists! Whether a certain species is native to your area or “invasive” meaning that it came from somewhere else, can be fundamentally important to how ecosystems change and evolve over time.
Before we get into that though, it’s important to understand exactly what an “invasive species” is, and why we should care. There are four types of species that are not native to the area in which they live: Introduced, Exotic, Alien, and Invasive species. “Invasive” species are those that are both non-native while also having a negative effect on the ecosystem or economy that they have invaded. Potatoes, for example, are an introduced species that started in South America, and eventually spread to Europe and North America (1), but don’t have a negative effect (can you imagine a world with no French fries?). This means that potatoes are non-native and introduced, but not invasive because they don’t have a negative effect, and instead provide an economic benefit to the places they were introduced. On the other hand, there are a lot of weeds that are invasive species that can prevent us from effectively growing our crops! Species like Giant Hogweed have invaded and can cause major damage for our farmers and gardeners.
What negative effects an Invasive species can have depends a lot on the species in question. Often times, these species that are introduced to a new area, whether by boat, farming, gardening, or by accident, lack any predators in the new areas they find themselves in. Ecosystems need time to evolve to keep all of the species that live in them in check. Wolves have had a lot of time to evolve and hunt deer and buffalo, but they would struggle to hunt as effectively if all of a sudden, elephants took the place of those buffalo they were used to hunting. This is a dramatic example that probably would never happen, but it’s a useful way to describe how these ecosystem dynamics can change when a new species arrives. These invasive species can then take over entire ecosystems unchecked, causing immense damage. In fact, it is estimated that the spread of invasive species has contributed to the decline of 42% of the listed threatened and endangered species, and the damage done by them has cost the US an estimated $120 billion (2). Much of this cost is due to damage to agriculture, but these invasive species can have profound negative effects on ecosystems where the cost is harder to calculate, like lakes. To best describe invasive species and the damage they can do, I’ll tell you about three invasive species that each are very different from each other, but each pose a very significant threat to ecosystems in the US and around the world: Zebra Mussels, Varroa Mites, and the Emerald Ash Borer. Stay tuned until the end of the article for some suggestions about what you can do to help combat this problem and stay educated!
Our Environmental Science blog strives to explain and expose environmental topics and concerns to a wide audience. We hope that this knowledge will help all of our readers embrace a healthy and sustainable lifestyle!