Cultivation Startup | Resources and Links.
So you are interested in learning how to cultivate mushrooms?
I’ve been cultivating mushrooms for over 3 years commercially and studying them in general for 6 years. I’m not big scale at all and if you’re wanting to go big that’s great but its all about starting small first. Even as a small grower I made some big mistakes along the way – I hope this is insightful and helpful on your journey to learning more about fungi.
If I had to choose 1 to start with – Cultivating Mushrooms was an excellent choice in beginning area with great photos and well easy terms. Cotter would be next as it is a very updated text, photos, and his knowledge base is amazing. Stamets work is great but requires a little bit of pre-existing knowledge.
Is this all? Of course not – there are other wonderful books for specialty grows and or more updated text.
Watching & Listening
There are a ton of channels out there for mushroom growing – so how to narrow it down?
TR Davis has an amazing youtube channel of which has loads of material and he breaks it down for you well.
Eric Myers of Myers Mushrooms has a great channel and is very innovative in the fungi equipment design.
Mushroom Hour Podcast is wonderful for in depth knowledge and well beyond even my understanding in most cases but if you’re driving around or mixing substrate – listen in!
Maine Cap n Stem launch the Mycowizards Podcast awhile back and it interviews farms you likely follow on Instagram – TR Davis has been on. It’s much more of a conversation that interview which is nice to casually listen in.
Youtube and Podcasts are amazing because they’ll take you through their operations and you can listen in on some pitfalls growers have had – sometimes making mistakes is a good thing.
You’re going to need a litany of equipment. Track warranties at all times, buy double of everything. Farming is 24/7 and equipment needs to operate 24/7 if you have a breakdown in a critical area you’ll need to back it up right away.
This is the equipment I use – there are other bigger operations use autoclaves, tumbler mixers, boilers, and so forth.
Sterilization. The ‘Bubba’ barrel is amazing and worth every penny. It has lasted me years, well built, and does not require a boiler. *I started with presto canners too.
Sensors. Ubi-bot makes a great product which can monitor your rooms temp, humidity, light, and so forth. They have an app that works well with it’s system and you can buy industrial thermocouples to track your sterilizer when in use.
Airflow. AC Infinity fans are amazing and affordable for directing airflow through a controller system that is easily programmed.
Humidity. House of Hydro is my go to place for fogging in my fruiting room – excellent customer service, great products that last, and quick shipping!
Running humidity. The Inkbird Auto humidity with wifi is amazing. App works great now – easy to see and adjust levels instantly via the app. Seriously this unit has been a game changer in the piece of mind world because when you have over 100lbs of mushrooms fruiting you need to know what that room is doing.
Flowhoods. I bought my first filter in 2016 from Fungi Perfecti and now many places sell them but Eric Myers sells them and Fungi Perfecti also sells them. They sells are sorts – that’s a direct link to the one I currently have – so explore that site.
PID Heat Controller. Auber-Instruments and Bubbas Barrels sells PID units – make sure you match your electrical load. Do yourself a favor and consult an electrician also make sure the Bubba or sterilizer unit is on a dedicated line. While it’s an efficient system – safety first.
Security. I love Arlo cameras. Waterproof, can be mounted or set on a magnetic surface mount, rechargeable and holds for a long time, great app! Easy to disarm and arm when you need to from the app.
Carbon Dioxide. A CO2 controller worth every breath. Mushroom farms develop massive CO2 because fungi release it just we do – this will help automate and regulate that process.
Spawn, ready to fruit blocks, kits, cultures.
I don’t do my own spawn because it’s cheap enough to buy and just use it well. It’s also a highly specialized area of mushroom production and I leave that up to the pros.
**I get morel cultures from Penn State because they are a trusted source of genetics. Yes you can go get any liquid culture for $15 bucks and sure it says ‘morel’ on the label or whatever but there’s absolutely no guarantee. The rampant amount of liquid cultures happening is just everybody cloning everybody’s liquid culture – you have no idea how far out it’s been propagated and how viable it is.
All mycelium is white in general – shopping through a trusted source is crucial when you’re in production, need quality, and need well oiled machine supplying you.
Every grower has ‘their’ substrate mix. Each book mentioned above shares a mix recipe – but know those aren’t set in stone.
Best thing I can suggest however is consider costs. Masters mix is a great mix of 50:50 hardwood fuel pellets and soy bean hulls. I’d imagine there is more to it but where I am located we don’t get in soy bean hulls and I am not having them shipped in. In warmer climates there’s no such thing as pellet stoves so there’s no need for farm stores to get in hardwood pellets. You’ll have to do some sourcing first to make sure what you are planning is not just viable but cost viable.
Small to big scale farming.
Start small and scale – don’t rush this process. There aren’t mushroom farms everywhere because unlike gardening there isn’t a dedicated store for mushroom growers like a home depot. In addition to that issue – indoor mushroom cultivation requires sterility so this is where the lab component comes into play and it takes a lot more work and diligence here.
Boilers, mixers, auto baggers. It’s all out there once you scale – keep in mind the bigger the farm the bigger the problems.