Plants usually require water and sunlight to grow, but if you’re growing magic mushrooms, then you need a different approach.
Since mushrooms are a type of fungi, you’ll need to offer them the proper type of substrate as a source of nutrition. In this article, we’re going to run you through what a magic mushroom substrate is and the proper procedures that you need to follow.
What is a Magic Mushroom Substrate?
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A magic mushroom or mushroom substrate, in general, is what the mushroom mycelium requires for both nutrition and energy. Shroom substrates are any type of bulk material, usually fibrous, that comes with plenty of aeration with which mushrooms can grow in. The mycelium feeds off the decaying matter within a substrate so that it is converted into energy and food.
However, there are a handful of substrates available for you to choose, and you just can’t go with the first one that catches your eye. You need one that is ideal for the growth of your mushrooms. Hardwood sawdust or straw are some of the comments substrate recipes you can use for mushrooms, although there are several other good options available as well.
Common Magic Mushroom Substrates
The following are the common types of substrates that are used for growing magic mushrooms:
Straw can refer to the stem portion of grains like wheat, oats, rye, and barley. It’s quite affordable but effective nonetheless and is ideal for growing different kinds of shrooms. You can have access to all the straw you can get by visiting a farm. Although you need to clean, chop, and pasteurize the straw first as they’re quite messy when you get your hands on them.
2. Coco Coir
This material comes from the shaved shells and husks of a coconut and is quite popular in the cannabis industry, especially when it comes to growing shrooms. Commercial-grade coir typically comes in several forms like pyramids, blocks, bales, and loose bulk.
3. Hardwood Sawdust
You can pick from a variety of hardwood sawdust materials such as oak beech, maple and others. They can mainly be effective when used alongside bran supplements.
4. Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are decent as mushroom substrates; although we advise against them as they are rich in organic compounds, they can contaminate the growth of your shrooms quite easily. That’s why it would be better to add them alongside other substrates like sawdust or coco then simply using them by themselves.
Well, we have witnessed fungi growing in feces before, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since manure is comprised of decaying fecal matter, it’s the perfect source of nutrition for your mushrooms.
Sterilizing Or Pasteurizing The Substrate
Merely choosing a mushroom substrate isn’t enough, because other things can thrive within substrates like bacteria and mold. And sometimes these contaminants can grow much quicker than the mycelium itself. So the only way to give the mycelium an advantage in the race is through pasteurization or sterilization.
Pasteurization is the process of killing microbes. Though it gets rid of contaminants in a substrate, it doesn’t kill every microorganism. Still, it shrinks the number of bacteria down, so they don’t interfere with the mycelium’s growth.
Unlike pasteurization, sterilization gets rid of every contaminant within a substrate. To do that, you need to heat the substrate at a high temperature of about 120 °C+.