The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Producing Spawn From Spores

Taking a spore printTechnique 1: Producing spawn from spores

The biology is a bit complicated, and I won't go into it here, but spores can be used to start new mushroom colonies a bit like seeds are used to start new veggie gardens.  The trick is to get the spores to grow, and Paul Stamets suggests two options.

The Sugar-Salt Broth option --- First, take a spore print of your mushroom by cutting off the cap and placing it, gill-side down, on a clean sheet of paper or glass overnight.  The next day, the mushroom can be removed and the spores can be scraped off.  Now, make the broth by combining 1/4 tsp. of noniodized salt, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1 gallon of water, boil for ten minutes, then cool in a clean container.  Add 1 tsp. of spores when the water is partially cool, mix well, and cover the broth.  Let it incubate (sit there) for a day or two, shaking twice a day, at 50 - 80 F (with temperature depending on the mushroom species --- 40 - 75 for oysters, 45 - 65 for morels, and 50 - 80 for shiitakes.)  Instant spawn!

The Cardboard option --- soak a piece of corrugated cardboard in hot water for a hour, then put the cardboard in a plastic container.  Now repeat the spore print technique, but this time place the cut mushroom cap directly onto the wet cardboard.  The next day, remove the cap and incubate the cardboard for a few weeks in a cool, dark place.  You will need to check on the cardboard and add water as necessary to keep it moist.  You should be able to see the spawn starting after a few days.  Once the sheet is partially covered with spawn, you can place it on a bigger cardboard sheet to multiply your spawn.

This post is part of our How to Cultivate Mushrooms for Free lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Great timing. I'm helping inoculate logs today at a college class.
Comment by Errol Tue Mar 17 09:11:22 2009
Let me know if you learn anything interesting!
Comment by anna Tue Mar 17 13:45:05 2009

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