Hello! My name is Graham and I’m in 8th grade. I’m betting that a lot of you are new to mycology and fungi in general. So today, we’ll be going over how mushrooms are grown, why they’re important, and why you should care. And now, I present to you a thorough introduction to mushrooms. Let’s get started!
How Are Mushrooms Grown?
Before I start, I want to mention a quick disclaimer. There are so many ways of growing mushrooms. If I were to list and explain them all, I’d be writing a book. Even then, the possibilities are endless. So I will be covering how we grow our mushrooms here at SweetGrounds.
To kick off the growth process of the mushroom, we travel to our kitchen on a Tuesday evening. As of right now, we buy our grain spawn from a company called North Spore. Grain Spawn is rye grain with mycelium growing on it. In case you didn’t already know what mycelium is, think of the mycelium as being the tree and the mushrooms as being the apples. To put it simply, the mushroom is the fruiting body of the organism, which is the mycelium. Anyways, we have the grain spawn, so then we get the substrate(the coffee grounds). Then in a big bowl, we combine it together. Then we scoop it into bags and then ship it off to Incubation.
We then make the trip down to the basement to deliver the inoculated bags. We put them in what we call “the incubation tent.” Don’t be fooled by its name though, as it is no tent. It is a metal shelving that we outfitted with black plastic sheets to keep it nice and dark in the middle. Incubation is the process of the mycelium growing through the substrate (the coffee grounds). The growing needs of the mushroom depend on the type but generally, it’s cool and dark. For more specifications or if you are interested in growing your own mushrooms, check out one of our other articles here. Back on the subject of how they’re grown, the process of incubation takes about 3-4 weeks.
Once the mycelium has colonized the “block” as we call it, we move it into the “grow tent.” Like the Incubation tent, it isn’t a tent. The difference with the growing tent though, is that the plastic is clear. Oyster mushrooms(the ones we grow) need a little bit of light to grow. In fact, most gourmet mushrooms need light when fruiting. Some other mushrooms feast on radiation. Back to the subject of them growing, we keep it nice and humid in there because the mushrooms need it to be very humid to grow. In about a week to a week and a half, the first flush of the mushrooms will be finished growing. The bag will produce about 3-4 flushes before it stops producing. To harvest them, you just twist the mushroom off the block and it’s ready for the pan.
Why Should I Care and Why is it Important?
When you think of mushrooms, you probably think of portobello mushrooms, smushed into a carton, covered in shrink wrap. That’s certainly what I thought of mushrooms two years ago. It all changed when my dad showed me a podcast with Paul Stamets, my Idol. I now believe that mushrooms can save the world. I know it sounds like a cult, but seriously, mushrooms are amazing. We actually wrote an article on one called Lion’s Mane. It has been proven to keep the symptoms of dementia at bay, and even reverse the effects! There are also many others that can greatly boost your immune system. Some of those are Reishi, and Turkey Tail. There are just so many other mushrooms and so many other medicinal properties that if I were to tell you guys all of them, I’d be writing a book. Not to mention all the undiscovered benefits. And medicinal properties are only about a quarter of it.
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