Here is a solid introduction video to using sawdust as a substrate.
You can also view two more videos in this series here:
Do you want to learn how to grow mushrooms at home?
Or do you want to discover how to get your hands on the World’s best substrate, and how to use it?
Well if do you are in luck, this short article will teach you the basics of using 100% naturally sourced whole log wood pellets to grow mushrooms. The great news is it is cost-effective, easy, and anyone can learn this process.
The basic recipe we recommend you use to grow all our gourmet mushrooms uses hardwood sawdust pellets, wheat bran or soybean hulls, and water. We recommend hardwood pellets because when you get the best pellets they are as close to nature improved as you can get. You see in nature many varieties of mushrooms grow naturally on dead portions of hardwood trees. That lose dying wood is ideal for growing naturally in nature. The reason wood pellets are best is that you can quickly turn the stable wood pellets back into the sawdust that they were made from by just adding water. This then creates an entire bag full of hardwood sawdust.
Now not all wood pellets are the same. Many on the market that are sold as fuel pellets as an example are made from recycled materials. The problem with that is you never know what materials, or chemicals the wood source has been exposed to. Read more about this concern here.
With our pellets, they are 100% hardwood that the mushrooms love, and they are naturally sourced from whole logs. So they are ideal for the mushrooms. We say they are like nature improved because 100% of the surface is ready to grow your mushrooms. Unlike a log that would only have a small area that might support mushroom growth.
When growing mushrooms remember to only use hardwood pellets because mushrooms do not grow well on any softwood species.
You will want to add wheat bran or soybean hulls for the nutrients in your substrate to assure good growth of your mushrooms. The following grow bag mix is a popular mix using wheat bran, our mushroom media 100% hardwood pellets, and water. If you need wheat bran you can find it in large quantities at local feed and farm stores for a reasonable price. You want your mix to have the right amount of nutrients and moister. So we recommend using a set size in your growth bag that will help you establish those ideal percentages.
A simple grow bag Recipe:
For every 5 lb grow bag:
5 cups of hardwood pellets
1.4 liters water
1-1/4 cups wheat bran
How To Grow Mushrooms with your new grow bag mix.
Measure out the components
The three ingredients should weight over 4lbs. Then you add 12-14 oz of your mushroom grain spawn to this growth bag and you have a bag weight of close to 5lbs.
Now since you are adding the wheat bran, you likely want to pressure sterilize your mix before you inoculate with your spawn grain. To do this for a small scale you will likely want to use a large pressure canner to treat several grow bags at a time. You can find a 22-23 quart pressure canner online for about $70 from several manufacturers. With this size, you can treat 4 bags at a time and that is a great amount to try for your first grow run. This would give you about 20 pounds of growth substrate in 4 bags to get your growing fast.
So if you are preparing a full 4 bag batch measure out the components and premix them. You can use a 5Gal bucket for mixing. Those can be picked up from the feed store, or from your local hardware store very cheaply in plastic. When you are starting out you can mix by hand. One method is to get two plastic buckets and to tape them together with one upside down with duck tape.
You want this to be a secure connection so you may want to go around the lids where they connect several times. Then you just shake the material from bucket to bucket. It is good to shake for a minute, let it rest for 15-20 minutes and then return and shake them again. A minute does not sound like a long time but when you time yourself it is a lot of shaking.
You can use a clean trowel and mix that way, or dig in and mix with your hands since you will be pressure treating the mix next.
Start with the pellets and water first then for the second mix add the wheat bran.
Once you have mixed all the ingredients you are ready to divide the mix evenly into your 4 grow bags. If you need grow bags in small quantity you can find them affordable on Amazon by searching for mushroom grow bags. You want to make sure you get mushroom grow bags because you do not want lightweight bags that end up melting in your pressure canner or cooker.
If you cut corners here you might end up having to start over and with the right bags from the start the second time.
Now is time to take the 4 evenly measured, premixed bags and put them in your pressure canner or cooker. Before you put them in the pressure cooker use some large jar lids, to line the bottom of the pressure cooker. You should also take care to fold any excess material from the bags into each other in the middle of the cooker. The idea here is to prevent your grow bags from hitting the top, bottom or sides of the pressure cooker.
Time in the cooker: At least 2.5 hours.
The reason for the long cook time is to make sure that all of the media or substrate is treated by the heat through the center of all of the 5lbs bags.
The next step is to let your grow bags cool.
You want this to happen in as clean of an environment as possible. As a home-based operation, you will not likely have access to a clean room environment but you can use an area that is very clean, had good filtered airflow, and will be safe for the substrate to cool in. You want the substrate to be cool all the way through. Any remaining heat could kill your mushroom spores or spawn.
Next, you want to inoculate your grow bags with your mushroom growth spores or spawn grain.
When you get into this seriously you will want to use a very controlled environment to inoculate your grow bags in. For most people starting our going out and buying a $1,000 laminar style flow hood is just not reasonable. So do what you can to prevent cross-contamination of your growth substrate. Work in a clean area, work safe and work clean.
Once the inoculation medium is in the substrate grow bag it is time to seal the bag then shake the bag to mix the inoculation throughout the substrate. The better you mix the more likely your positive result. Just remember to mix with less force than you mixed the bag mix before. You know how a living inoculation in your hands and want to be more gentle.
Now it is time to allow your grow bags to colonize. This means time and patience. It may be anywhere from 10-28 days based on the variety of mushroom and your room conditions. Once the grow bag has colonized and ready to grow you want to move them to your growing location. The provider of your mushroom spawn should have given you some practical information on the ideal growth conditions for your variety of mushroom. Once you prepare that environment remember to control the temperature and humidity closely and watch your colonies grow into groups of great mushrooms.
We hope this basic guide helps you on your journey bookmark this site for more free mushroom guides and tips to come.
If you want to get the best of nature, and the best of an optimized substrate to grow mushrooms you want to use naturally sourced whole log wood pellets.
Wood pellets are compressed sawdust. Our wood pellets are 100% hardwood, naturally, sourced from whole logs in America. The process of manufacturing these pellets is state of the art and creates the best substrate for growing mushrooms in the World.