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What Are Mushroom Spores?
What Are Mushroom Spores?
When you’re learning how to grow mushrooms, you’re going to face a variety of new terms and names, and while not all of them may seem really important to you, it’s crucial that you learn everything you can about the overall process of growing mushrooms and the requirements for getting the perfect batch, because the tiniest differences can matter a lot.
It’s very important to learn what mushroom spores are and what part they play in the overall growing process – you can’t plant a tree without knowing what its seeds are, and it’s similar with spores when it comes to fungi as well, considering they play the role of seeds in mushroom growing.
Where it all starts
Like we mentioned above, spores play pretty much the same role in mushroom growing that seeds to in the cultivation of other plants – they’re what gives the initial breath of life for the whole growing process. Having the right spores is important when you want to ensure that the whole batch of mushrooms that you’re growing turns out perfectly.
You’re probably already getting the basic idea that mushrooms aren’t quite the same as other plants and they have their intricate differences. Fungi spread their spores from their caps – when the cap has matured fully it starts dropping spores on the ground around it, facilitating the spread of the mushrooms on the nearby ground.
Making the most of your spores
Mushroom farmers have learned to take advantage of this behavior observed in the plant, and have perfected some methods for getting the perfect starting batch for your mushroom batch, while also ensuring that the mushrooms grow and develop properly, and not only produce a good yield but also drop plenty of spores for you to collect and use for furthering your growing operation.
When you’re still starting out with your growing experience, you’ll probably be a bit confused about the whole idea of obtaining spores and mixing them in the substrate yourself – it’s often a good idea to buy a pre-made spore syringe which can get you started perfectly. Manufacturers of spore syringes typically rely on the technique of “spore prints,” which is sort of like cloning for mushroom spores, in the sense that it produces a genetically identical spore to the original one, allowing you to reproduce a certain strain of fungus indefinitely (as long as you get the growing right of course).
Stocking up for an upcoming growing
If you’re not quite ready to start the growing yet, you can always store the spores for later use and take them out when you’re ready to plant them. It’s important to keep them refrigerated, but not at a too low temperature because this can have some damaging effects on the spores, specifically when the water inside the syringe starts expanding and altering the overall internal composition of the syringe. In general though, if you leave the spores at the right temperature, they can last pretty much forever.
During that time it can be a good idea to start preparing the other important aspects of the growing, such as the substrate – the mushroom farmer’s equivalent of soil. This is the material that the spores need to grow in, and it needs to be specially prepared to ensure a proper balance of the different nutrients that the mushrooms would require in their growth. Developing a proper substrate is an entirely separate problem in itself though, so you’ll need to read up on that in order to ensure that you pull it off right.
Harvesting your own spores
If your first batch of mushrooms was successful, it’s likely that you’ll be able to harvest a good number of spores for your own further use – but this requires some intricate knowledge and isn’t part of the default process of growing the mushrooms, so it might not be explained in every guide you read on the subject. If you want to become a good mushroom farmer though, you’ll want to read up all about harvesting the spores that your mushrooms produce, because this will be an important part of continuing your production properly and with a minimal need for additional investments after the initial purchase of the necessary materials and supplies.
It’s also a good idea to get in touch with local mushroom farmers who might be interested in your spores or might even be able to direct you towards a grocery store that may buy your mushrooms. Some people have managed to make a surprisingly good profit from selling the mushrooms they grow, so you should try to get in on the action yourself if there’s demand in your area and if your produce turns out better than you initially expected as well.
Buying complete kits – is it worth it?
Something you might encounter during your search for mushroom spores and other growing materials is that some shops are selling complete kits that include everything you’ll need to get started with growing mushrooms – pre-made substrate, spores, even a small manual to get you on the right track. And while some people see this as a great tool that can be very useful to beginners, we’d advise you to stay away from kits to the best of your ability. The problem is that they leave out a large portion of the work and leave you with just the basic things to do – and while that may be convenient for some people, it’s definitely not ideal.
Because once you’re done with your first batch, if you want to continue you won’t just be able to collect your spores and plant them into fresh substrate – you’ll lack the knowledge required to pull that off right, so you’ll likely have to buy yet another kit to continue. This defeats the whole purpose of growing your own mushrooms and that’s why we’d strongly advise you to look up as much information as possible regarding growing your mushrooms from start to finish, as this will be of great benefit to you later on when you progress in your experience.
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