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Can You Grow Mushrooms From Dried Mushrooms? Is It Possible? Mushrooms are popular food that is commonly available in your local supermarket. There are many different varieties available including dried mushrooms, however, is it possible to use dried mushrooms to grow a new crop?
It is possible to use dried mushrooms to produce a new mushroom crop however it is not 100% reliable because it can depend upon the nature of how the mushrooms have been dried. At temperatures beyond 150°F (65°C), the mushroom spores can be killed in the drying process which would not make the dried mushrooms not useful for regrowth.
Typically, mushrooms are dried at between 122-158°F (50-70°C) which is considered the optimum temperature to dry them according to an academic study. The key consideration associated with drying is productivity, ie how long it takes to physically dry the mushrooms which can vary from 10 to 36 hours with the optimum time being around about 24.
The other consideration is the shelf life of the mushrooms if the drying process is either too fast or too slow then it will affect the shelf life of the mushroom substantially. The age of the mushrooms will affect the probability of whether you can grow mushrooms from dried mushrooms successfully. It is generally recommended that you use dried mushrooms that are less than 12 months old.
Most commercial mushrooms fall into that age range as it is common to see mushrooms deteriorating when they are older than that. This means that in all probability you should be able to grow mushrooms from dried mushrooms that you can purchase commercially.
How To Grow Mushrooms From Dried Varieties
To start off the process of creating mushrooms from dry varieties start by soaking them in water to rehydrate them. The mushrooms can then be shredded into small pieces these pieces should ideally be as small as you can possibly make them as this will increase the surface area of the mushrooms increasing the rate of growth.
The next step is to prepare the growing medium for the mushrooms. Mushrooms ideally prefer a growing medium that has plenty of nutrients to support the mushrooms’ growth. Things such as sawdust or straw is ideal. However, it is important that you sterilize these mediums to avoid the chances of there being bacteria or even an alternative strain of mushroom that can contaminate your crop.
To sterilize the growing medium place it into a saucepan and add some water and boil it for a few minutes, this is typically enough to kill any pathogens present in the sawdust. Then drain the water and spend a little bit of time making sure that the mixture is damp but not sudden by squeezing it until you can no longer ring any additional water out of it.
The mixture can then be placed into the container that you intend to grow the mushrooms in. The type of container that you use can vary substantially depending upon the space you have to grow mushrooms. Some people use polystyrene containers from fruit stores whereas other people simply use plastic bags that are strung up with a few holes in the side to allow the mushrooms to grow through them.
Whatever the container that you choose the main prerequisites of it are that it can hold the growing medium and you can access the growing leaving from to add additional water if it starts to dry out and that the container is largely sealed to avoid it from becoming contaminated.
If you are using a polystyrene container some people also add a layer of sterilised compost at the base of the container and then at the growing medium on top to add an additional level of nutrients to the mushrooms.
Once the medium is in place in the container then you can take your rehydrated mushrooms and mix the pieces through the growing medium to allow it to get going.
This method is generally a little bit slower than purchasing spores from a garden center because the surface area of the spores is generally larger accelerating growth. However, using this method you should typically expect to see mushrooms starting to appear within around 2 months depending on the conditions in which you place your container.
The ideal conditions to place your mushroom container is in a dark or lowly lit location that is relatively warm as this will ensure that the mushrooms grow quickly. Places such as under the house or in a crawl space are ideal, particularly if there is some sort of heat source to support the mushrooms’ growth.
Caring For Mushrooms
Once the mushrooms are in the growing container there isn’t a great deal of maintenance that is required to keep them growing other than ensuring that the moisture remains damp by checking it regularly. However, it is important to note that when adding additional water it is best to use a sprayer rather than pour water directly onto the mushrooms as that will make them too damp and risk the development of mold.
Typically, what you will see with mushrooms is initially the formation of a white mold-like material as the growing medium is inoculated by the mushrooms. This part of the process typically takes around 4 weeks or so before the mushrooms are in a position to begin to produce their first fruit.
Once the mushrooms begin to produce fruit then you need to regularly check the container and harvest the mushrooms as they appear. This can be done by using a knife to cut the mushrooms off at the base.
I hope you found this article useful and are able to successfully grow mushrooms at home, if you have any additional comments or questions please leave them in the section below.