Mushrooms are one of nature's most amazing creations. Some species of this family of fungi are vibrant and impressive to look at whereas others are edible and flavorful. While mushrooms seem to sprout in the most inconvenient places, such as in the middle of your front lawn or back porch, it takes a specific set of steps to grow mushrooms and a great deal of knowledge and skill to make sure they survive. Perhaps the most straightforward way of growing mushrooms is through their spores.
Collect Plenty of Spores
It might sound like a daunting task, but collecting spores is as easy as finding yourself a mushroom. Bring a piece of paper and glass with you. With the mushroom in hand, surgically remove the stem from the cap, and gently take out skirts that may be blocking access to the mushroom's gills. A skirt in a mushroom is a particularly sizable partial veil that remains completely or partially intact after tearing.
Next, take the spore print by placing the mushrooms in an angle where the gills located on the underside of the mushroom's head are exposed. Afterwards, lay the mushroom down onto the piece of paper with the gills facing down. Take the glass, and place it on top of the paper, making sure to cover the entire mushroom. Let it rest for a full 24 hours.
After 24 hours, you can lift up the glass and gently pick up the mushroom. The spores will have separated from the cap, leaving a print on the paper. The print pattern should look like an outline of the mushroom's gills. Now you have a spore print that you can use to grow your first batch of mushrooms. Be sure to keep the spore print in a sealed container in a dry and dark place.
Cultivate Your Spore Print
With your spore print in hand, you can now produce a spore syringe, which involves rehydrating the spores with sterile water, and then using it to inoculate a chosen medium. To produce a viable spore syringe, you will need to work in a sterilized space. The water used to rehydrate the spore must be boiled several times to completely eliminate bacterial presence. The syringe needle should also be sterilized by holding it over a flame for several seconds.
Germinate the Spores
Since the spores do not contain chlorophyll, they will have to consume other non-light substances for sustenance to be able to germinate. Viable food for spores include sawdust, straw, and grain. If you are trying to grow a specific species of mushroom, consult an expert regarding the most suitable material to use as food for your spores. As the spores and the substance's nutrients mix together, it creates what is called a spawn. This spawn will enable the mycelium to grow, which is the fungus from which the mushroom will sprout.
There are over 1,000 different types of mushrooms, but growing them involves essentially the same stages or steps as those listed above. Once you understand these fundamental processes, it'll be easier to grow more types of mushrooms.