I don't plan on doing this right away but I just cant get this idea out of my head about growing Hydroponic Mushrooms. They grow in the dark so there would be no need for lighting, cutting production costs (white asparagus grows in the dark also).
I am thinking of something like using short and wide containers, used as a drip system. The return line would be at the bottom of the containers with a Styrofoam spacers to keep everything from sitting in the inevitable small amount of water in the bottom. Then placing a screen on that, then line it with something like cheesecloth to keep the growing medium from falling through. I would use coco fiber for the growing medium because it has the texture most like soft dirt, and is very well at holding the moisture. Not sure if these trays should be covered yet or not, like a seed tray are. But that should not be hard to figure out.
I know when growing fungus that sterilization is extremely important, so everything will be sterilized. The coco fiber and cheese cloth will be boiled because I don't want to use chemicals there, and absolute no chemicals that have a fungicide can be used anywhere. I would also use a hepa filter air purifier in the room to filter out airborne spores that could make their way into the growing medium. It just so happens that the hepa filter air purifiers are quite common at the thrift stores here in town (we have at least 4 of them), and can usually pick one up for $20 or $30.
My biggest concern is the nutrient requirements. Way back when, we sent away for magic mushroom spores. They came with directions, these directions included using organic rye for the soil (organic is free from fungicides). I am not sure why. Was it more rich in nutrients than soil? Was it because of the bacterias as it decayed. Was that only for that type of mushroom? After all mushrooms generally grow in cow manure. Witch leads me to wonder what the pH level should be. I'm sure that not all mushrooms have the same nutrient requirements.
That also reminds me about something I had thought of a long time ago, growing truffles. If I could figure out how to grow them in captivity I could potentially make a fortune. As far as I know nobody has done it successfully, even in soil. I'm not sure why, but I guess nobody else dose either. I image it would be quite difficult to get a hold of the spores, and probably quite expensive. Because they only grow in nature I guess I would need to buy the truffles to get the spores.
Just had the same idea, was a at a garden center today and they were selling what I presume were spores and my mind switched to hydroponics. I will do a bit of research myself and see what we can come up with.
As for Truffels, they are dependant on the roots of certain trees (Oaks are a common one), they would need to be massively genetically modified in order to grow them in "captivity", then I doubt they would have the same aroma and taste. Don't worry plenty of scientists are trying and I believe last year the genome was sequenced, the holy grail of mycology.
Ya, I kind of know that about truffles, and I'm sure there are scientists trying to modify things. I was more or less thinking that If I could figure out the why's and how's, I could duplicate the conditions rather than modify anything. Then by giving them their option growing conditions they should have the best aroma and flavor. I cant grow a oak tree hydroponically (at least not yet ) but I'm not sure that it's exactly the roots themselves and/or why. It could possibly just be something related to their root systems. Sure it would be a lot of work to figure out how to grow them naturally in captivity (at all really) and not something I would be looking into any time soon, but always a thought in my head.
Just a few things to add. First, it looks like as I suspected they grow quite different from plants because they are a fungus.
"mushrooms are not a plant, but a fungus and they have a requirement for organic substances and compounds for growth and development which are not supplied by the usual inorganic nutrient salts we put in hydroponics. Because mushrooms do not have chlorophyll and do not photosynthesis to produce their own food in the form of sugars, they rely on decomposing plant and animal matter to supply the organic compounds and nutrients required for growth and development. Mushrooms also do not therefore require light for growth so it would be a waste of a well-lit greenhouse or growing area to produce mushrooms--these are usually grown in specially designed sheds which have temperature and humidity controlled."
Also because mushrooms rely on decomposing plant and animal matter to supply the organic compounds. I am not sure about the boiling water in the compost tea idea. It would probably be much better to boil it then let it cool down before adding it to the compost. The coco fiber would probably be fine but not necessarily the cheapest plan. I understand they usually use sawdust, straw, peat moss, and/or vermiculite and perlite as well for growing hydroponic mushrooms. I am also wondering if adding some of the leftover compost from making the tea to the growing medium wouldn't be a good idea. It wouldn't be a true hydroponic system then, but probably wouldn't hurt anything at all.
Also, it seems that it takes a while for the fungus to become mature before it flowers creating the mushrooms. They usually put the spores in a moist sterile grain to cultivate. They call this "mycelium" and sometimes refer to it as mushroom spawn. They then place this mushroom spawn in the sterile growing medium to flower. Kind of like a live yeast sourdough starter for making breads. I am trying to put together a text document with the important aspects I find on growing mushrooms and hope to be able to post it. The text document limit is 19.5 kb for this forum. Also bookmarking useful links on the subject.
Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-23-2010 at 10:23 PM.
"The carbon source most commonly provided for growth of fungi in the laboratory is probably
the 6-C monosaccharide glucose, which is well utilized by most fungi, although some species grow
better on other carbon sources and some on a mixture of sources.
The concentration of the carbon source is an important consideration and should probably not
exceed 2% when the requirements of the species being cultivated are not precisely known"
"nitrogen sources utilized by fungal species include nitrates, ammonium ion, and organic nitrogen"
Just found some fertilizer I had stored away, its called "organic azotic fertilizer" and contains 6.5% organic nitrogen (soluble) and 23% organic carbon. Will ring the comany that makes it and ask what the organic carbon is made from, if they tell me.
Think I am going to make up a regular hydroponic solution with only 1/4 nitrate, 1/4 Ammonium sulfate and 1/2 of this organic nitrogen fertalizer as my nitrogen source.
will try 1/2 perlite and 1/2 vermiculite as my medium and flood and drain.
Last edited by GGM; 01-24-2010 at 01:45 PM.
The more I find on the subject of mushrooms the more I think that growing them in a hydroponic system is not going to work well. Also less expensive because there is no electricity used to run pumps or lights, as well as no nutrient solution to mix and change weekly or bi-monthly.
From what I understand there are two types of mushrooms, compost based food supply, and wood based food supply. As the fungus grows, it takes over its food supply. Not something I can see it doing in a liquid. Actually the only reason I can see for the hydro setup is to keep it moist, that's easy enough to do without using a pump unless it's a very large setup, or going on vacation. The inoculation period takes weeks (this is the mycelium), this also contains the food source. This is usually sits inside sealed jars to inoculate (grow, multiply and take over the food source). But once put in the trays they only take days to grow into mushrooms and harvest, this is the part where it would need to be kept moist. Better air circulation and moisture here equals bigger mushrooms.
I haven't exactly finished the text documents but I think I learned much more from the videos, especially the 4 part series. Here is a list of the videos I found, if you look to the right of these pages there is a list of more videos to click on.
Set of videos
part 1 YouTube - Let's Grow Mushrooms! pf tek part 1
part 2 YouTube - Let's Grow Mushrooms! pf tek part 2
part 3 YouTube - Let's Grow mushrooms! pf tek part 3
part 4 YouTube - Let's Grow Mushrooms! pf tek part 4
How to Grow Mushrooms | Garden Guides
How to Prepare Growing Medium for Mushrooms | Garden Guides
YouTube - Grow Mushrooms from Spores
YouTube - Casing mushroom kit
YouTube - Growing Mushrooms
YouTube - Taking a Spore Print
YouTube - How To Grow Mushrooms
YouTube - Growing and Marketing Shiitake Mushrooms on natural logs
I wasn't able to attach the rtf. files and I don't like the way it looks in plain text, and pdf. files will be too big. so I will just post a few things in this post.
Steps in growing Mushrooms
In order to grow mushrooms, you will need to know the basic process, conditions for growing, environmental conditions and several other factors. The general process of growing mushrooms is as follows:
The first thing to do is to procure spores or spawns of the mushroom you want to grow. spores or spawns are also known as agar cultures or test tube cultures. You can either make it yourself or purchase it from a supplier.
Step two… Prepare some sawdust or sterilized grain and inject the spores into the sterilized grain so that mushroom spawns can form. Spawns can also be purchased from suppliers.
Step Three… Depending on what type of mushrooms you are wanting to grow will most likely determine what materials you will need. Various strains of mushrooms grow better in soil while others prefer woody materials like straw, wood chips and even tree stumps and logs.
Step Four… use the spawns to activate the growth of mycelium, the fibrous network of mushrooms. For mushrooms that grow in soil, it is best to use compost to feed the mushrooms because they need to gather nutrients from a source because they can’t make their own food since they have no chlorophyll.
Step Five… you will need to layer the compost with material that does not have a lot of nutrients, like peat moss. The purpose of this is to encourage the growth of the mushrooms or fruiting bodies. The top layer will retain moisture while preventing the growth of other bacteria and/or unwanted microorganisms, therefore the reason why you want to use something that has little to no nutrients to avoid the growth of other organisms.
Finally, all you do is wait until the first flush appears then you can harvest and enjoy your edible mushrooms. Usually that happens within a few weeks and every additional flush occurs within 10 or so days. In the meantime you should be aware of keeping the compost bed moist and within the optimal growing temperature. You can get about 3-5 flushes before you will need to buy a new kit. This applies mainly to soil based mushrooms. A mushroom log can last much longer.
The strain of mushrooms you choose to grow will most likely determine which steps you must go through and which you can skip. For beginners and novices it would be best to experiment with a mushroom grow kit to avoid some of the earlier steps which require more work and attention.
List of Edible Mushrooms
Best eaten cooked to avoid indigestion, wild blewitts work well in soups and stuffings. The mushroom sports a lovely purplish hue and often grows under fir trees.
Normally collected in the while, chanterelles are famed for their superb meaty texture and slightly peppery taste. The orange-tinged mushrooms contain significant amounts of Vitamin C and beta carotene.
These long, skinny white mushrooms grow in jars in low-temperature cultivation rooms, although they also grow outdoors on hardwood stumps. Its mild flavor often complements soups and stir fries.
Hen of the Woods (Maitake)
Also known as Maitake, Hen of the Woods proliferates heavily in the forest, usually at the base of trees and stumps. These large mushrooms have both medicinal and culinary value, and can be cultivated on hardwoods or buried logs. Its massive size lends itself well to stuffing with other food, but cooks also like to slice it and use it in stir fries.
This mushroom grows on both hardwood logs and sawdust, with its flavor often being compared to lobster. It develops cascading white spines, and tastes best when harvested young.
Morel-hunting in the woods is a classic early spring activity. While morels present less predictable growing results than other cultivated mushrooms, the preparation for them---a large bonfire to produce the required ash bed---can be exciting. Gourmands count the morel as one of the finest mushrooms, often pairing it with cream, butter and fowl dishes.
"Growing throughout the world, this ubiquitous mushroom species has adaptive abilities that are nothing short of amazing," notes Stamets of the smallish, white species. The mushroom thrives in a number of growing conditions, and is considered one of the easiest to grow. They can be eaten raw or cooked.
Mushroom producers almost always sell porcinis dried; consumers then reconstitute the wrinkled brown bundles in water before cooking. Considered a wild delicacy, porcinis mostly grow in evergreen forests, although they have been found in deciduous woods as well.
Portobello mushrooms rival shiitakes as the new popular "meaty" mushroom. Portobellos' size and shape lends themselves to stuffing and baking. What many people may not realize is that portobellos (sometimes known as portobellas) are simply the familiar button (the youngest, whitest, version), or crimini (slightly older and darker) mushroom, allowed to grow to maturity. Mushroom growers supply several kinds of Portobellos, and criminis grow well in various mediums.
Grocers stock wildly popular shiitakes both fresh and dried. They grow well on oak and other hardwood logs. Whether sautéed in olive oil or added to soups, shiitakes often substitute well for meat.
Other mushrooms worth studying and perhaps growing and cooking include the coral, turkey tail, Brazilian blazei, reishi and nameko mushrooms. The staggeringly expensive truffle eludes the talents of even the most knowledgeable grower and must be found through the help of the famous "truffle pigs."
I don't know, trial and error is the only way to know for sure, there is a very good book ( Mushrooms Cultivation, Nutritional Value, Medicinal Effect, and Environmental Impact ) that I happened across at the university I use to attend and is what I have quoted form above, parts of it are available at Google Books but most of the good bits are missing.
They do talk about growing them in sterile mediums with success and even without a substate and just liquid.
"it is best to use compost to feed the mushrooms because they need to gather nutrients from a source because they can’t make their own food since they have no chlorophyll."
from that book "The composting process in which substrates, such as straw and manure, are wetted and acted on
by naturally occurring bacteria, Actinomycetes and fungi, involves thermophilic microorganisms.
These microorganisms break down the complex compounds of the substrate into simpler compounds,
such as glucose, which can be taken in by the mushroom mycelium."
supply them with glucose direct all the other elements can be supplied as a salt as far as I can tell.
Anyway its not one of my high priorities at the moment, will buy some spawns and see how we go. Think I will just flag the flood and drain and just use passive wick system, put it in my closet and see what happens.
Last edited by GGM; 01-24-2010 at 06:39 PM.
So is any one growing? i just watch mike rowe on dirty jobs and they showed a mushroom operation. looks simple.
Its not the hydro part that is needed but the sophistication that we bring in automation that makes for the bigger better yeilds.
I read trained pigs hunt triffles down but you have to stop the pig from actaully getting the truffle as he will eat it. Never had a truffle before but i can tell you a pig is not bad.
I have a stand up freezer in teh garage i was thinking of rigging into a multi shelf mushroom management storage growing facility. stuff in some temp and humidity sensors from the growtronix.
Does this sound right?
do open flats of mushrooms know tops over them. so when your web can can see. maybe put a small grean led light insade for the web cam for timelapse ro just have the light come on for the 2 seconds the picture is taking?
temp and humidity sensor inside witha small compture fan for circulation and even heat and humididty from top to bottom.
How do you add humidty? i'm thinking a fogger or maybe thats to much to quik. or maybe its just a bowl of water inside that is evaporating? could have alid that opens and closes? not sure about this one.
heating is easy with lots of options. not going to take much to heat insulated freezer. plus I could hook the freezer up incase i had a over heat and have it pull the temp down? or with heat and the freezer cold i might have better control over the climate. but would know that untill i saw some data from the graphs.
i love the thought were worried about sterile, the we mix up some cow patties for food for the little guys.
I'm justa poor white guy that buys teh regular white mushrooms for spagetti in the stores. any one have a favorite that wont get me to high. what is that really big one that they pick up here in teh northwest i see them or here about them getting a good chunk of change selling them.
Seems like you need air control as well as adripp system for control. maybe even have buried dripp system to keep mold and such on the surface down. the water evaporating throgh the dirt may be the humidty needed and a small dehumidifier with a drain tube to the out side of the fridge would be the trick.
I though musrooms grew when it was cold around here? or do they grow even better when there warm? i assume they would.
With some help here i will put a grow together and hook up a web cam. a sealed fridge should be great isolation and a clean room, minus the cow pies. clean lol. maybe when they first drop.
will a green light work like in a grow room?
Here is the best how to grow mushrooms any one can find. However it is for illegal mushrooms - but mushrooms are mushrooms and this video is full of great information. Mushroom Growing Made Easy
You can ask for a better how to. Im sorry that its not for the mushrooms your talking about.
YouTube - Fun with ultrasonic fogger
YouTube - Growing and Marketing Shiitake Mushrooms on natural logs
You may also be referring to Portobello mushrooms, they are known for being large with a meaty taste. These are also fairly common at the markets and are sold as the large mushroom or as the small baby Portobello mushrooms.
Portobello mushrooms rival shiitakes as the new popular "meaty" mushroom. Portobellos' size and shape lends themselves to stuffing and baking. What many people may not realize is that portobellos (sometimes known as portobellas) are simply the familiar button (the youngest, whitest, version), or crimini (slightly older and darker) mushroom, allowed to grow to maturity. Mushroom growers supply several kinds of Portobellos, and criminis grow well in various mediums."
I have not yet really looked into how Portobello mushrooms grow best yet.
Even though the mushrooms need humidity they also need to breath, so air circulation is important. With more air circulation I can see the need to add more humidity back to the growing area to keep the mushrooms happy. This part I can see a big need for automating, but really only when growing more than you can eat. Mushrooms tend to grow in spurts and large numbers (depending on the type).