Mushroom Culture Experiments
Our first experiment in which we used rice water and gelatin as our culture solution (here’s the link) worked really well. We have since also tried growing cultures in traditional agar. But for some reason, the rice water and gelatin always produces the most mycelium from mushroom cultures.
So then we moved on to testing if we could grow mycelium from spores, gills, and stem butts. And we also tested different types of containers to grow the cultures.
What we learned is that pretty much any part of the mushroom will grow mycelium. The difference is that the risk of contamination increases when you aren’t using a sterile section of tissue culture dissected from the stem.
Stem butts actually grew mycelium faster than other sections of the mushroom. But we lost a lot of the cultures to bacterial contamination. However, once we started cleaning the stem butts in a water/hydrogen peroxide solution first, the rate of success greatly increased.
This image is of an entire enoki stem butt section about a week after culturing. The mycelium filled half the jar before we moved it to innoculate a jar filled with straw.
Cardboard Mushroom Substrate Experiment
Cardboard is made from wood byproducts so it seemed like a decent substrate to test on. It was first boiled for several hours.
It pretty much fell apart while boiling, so all we did was strain it and squeeze out water until it no longer dripped. We then put it in a plastic bag, tossed in some oyster stem butt sections and set it aside for a few weeks.
When we opened the bag to check on the cardboard, it had already started to fruit. It wasn’t a huge amount of mushrooms, but it was fun to see that it worked without going through the process of innoculating it with spawn. Just tossing some boiled cardboard and stem butts in a plastic bag produced mushrooms.
Mushroom Toilet Paper Roll Experiment
This is similar to the cardboard experiment. No fancy substrate or cultured spawn. Just a boiled roll of toilet paper and some oyster stem butts.
After the toilet paper was boiled, we set it in a plastic bag. The sheets were pried apart just enough to be able to place pieces of stem butt inside.
Again, not a huge harvest. But definitely something to show guests.
Mushroom Cultivation In Soda Bottle
Here we decided to see if we could get oyster mushrooms to grow in a 2 liter soda bottle. Holes were added around the bottle for mushrooms to fruit out from. The problem was that we probably didn’t pack the bottle tight enough, because mushroom fruited everywhere except through the holes.
We ended up just removing the mushroom cake from the bottle and let it fruit the way it preferred.