Mushroom Growing Media
Lumber Jack Brand all hardwood sterilized growing media for mushrooms
Specialized mushroom growing media formulas are specially formulated to grow the very best mushrooms. Our media is preliminarily sterile when you get it delivered and is ready for spawn and growth without bacteria hindrance. Depending on spawn and methods, further sterilization may be preferred.
“The best growing media in the world“
Growing Mushrooms on Wood Pellets
by Lee Martin
There are many varieties of mushrooms that benefit from being grown on wood based substrates.
- Lentinus edodes (Shiitake)
- Flammulina velutipes (Enoki)
- The Pleurotus Family (Oyster mushrooms)
- Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)
- Hypholoma sublateritium (Cinnamon Cap)
Substrate is the term used for any type of medium that is used for growing mushrooms. When this
substrate is colonized by the mushroom mycelium (also called the vegetative growth of the mushroom),
it is then called spawn. Spawn can later be used to inoculate bulk substrates to increase the mass of
mycelium, thus increasing the yields of your harvested mushrooms.
Wood pellets are an inexpensive source of hardwood sawdust that can be used as our bulk substrate.
This sawdust can be easily pasteurized using inexpensive equipment and later mixed with spawn after
it is processed. The purpose of pasteurization is to kill off select bacteria so that the mushroom
mycelium that we add to the sawdust will have a greater chance to achieve a foothold in its new
environment. Keep in mind that sawdust should be supplemented with wheat or rice bran to maximize
the fruiting potential.
Rye based substrates can also be mixed in. Overview of the process:
- Inoculate small jars of sterilized substrate for use in transferring to sawdust later. (Half pint jars or
quart jars can be used)
- Pasteurize your wood pellets in a hot water bath for one hour. Drain and cool.
- Crumble your colonized substrate, now called spawn, and thoroughly mix it with the hardwood
- Load the mixture in your desired fruiting chamber and incubate at the correct temperature for your
- Once colonization is complete, relocate the fruiting chamber to the optimal conditions for your
mushroom. You can check our Growth Parameters page for specifics.
- Initiate fruiting, harvest and enjoy.
Pasteurizing your Wood Pellets
When water is added to the wood pellets they turn to sawdust and expand in volume significantly.To process this sawdust we will need to soak it in a hot water bath for one hour. Heat some spring water on the stove to boiling. Empty approximately 4 cups of wood pellets into a deep container. When the water has reached boiling, add the hot water to the wood pellets and cover with aluminum foil. Set your timer for 1 hour. After the hour as expired, pour off the excess water. Transfer the wood pellets to a plastic bag large enough to hold them. Poke holes in the bag to let the water drain off. You can squeeze the bag to speed up the process. You should let the bag hang and drain for 30 minutes to get the majority of the water out. Too much water will lead to contamination later on. After draining is complete, transfer the sawdust to a clean working area (a mixing bowl, sterilized work area, etc.), spawning your substrate to the sawdust.
In order to mix your colonized substrate with the sawdust you will need to crumble it into smaller pieces. Remove each substrate from its jar and put them in individual plastic bags. Crumble the substrate carefully from the outside. You want the substrate to be about nickel size. Do not mix the substrate with the sawdust until the sawdust temperature has cooled to 90 Degrees F. Doing so could potentially kill off your mycelium. Using your mixing bowl, add sawdust and spawn, thoroughly mixing the two. You should use approximately three half-pint jars per 4 cups of wood pellets or a one quart jar per 4 cups of wood pellets.
After mixing the contents, it is time to load the mixture into your desired fruiting chamber. There are many options available in this step and the only limit is your imagination. You can transfer to a poly tubing designed for mushrooms that form at holes placed in a checkerboard fashion. These mushrooms will burst out of these holes and form at the location. This makes harvest clean, quick and easy.
Be advised, only certain species of mushrooms will form this way; predominately Oyster mushrooms. Another option is to spread the mixture across the bottom of a grow chamber.
If the mushroom benefits from casing, you can add the casing layer after colonization of the sawdust is complete. Casing is the term used for adding a non nutritive layer of soil, usually a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite, compost material or coco coir. Some mushrooms benefit from the casing layer because it keeps the substrate from drying out. Bacteria resident in the casing layer also contribute to some species of mushroom growth. The Portabello for example, must be cased in order to fruit, otherwise, growth will be halted and the mycelium will die back.
Another option available is transferring the bulk sawdust substrate as spawn to inoculate wood chip beds outdoors. These mushroom patches will continue to fruit year after year until the nutrients have expired. There are many possibilities and routes for using your mycelium. Maximize its potential and experiment.
References: Mycelium Running and Growing Medicinal and Gourmet Mushrooms by Paul Stamets