Many of you do not know that we grow edible mushrooms like Lions Mane, Oyster, Maitake, Enoki and Cordyceps in our tiny house. Well, we do! Of course not all at once, we rotate types.
I have decided to make a small business out of it as I already make mushroom growing equipment and I have lots of great mycelium to sell. We love the health benefits of eating mushrooms and it is just plain fun to watch them grow! You can find our store on Etsy (link on the website or these pictures) we would appreciate your support, and I will be writing posts on our blog going forward to share some of my experiences and advice.
Why everybody that grows mushrooms need a Mycelium library.
If you are new to the hobby of mycology you might not have heard of a mycelium library. When I first started growing mushrooms I spend many weeks researching the best way to grow Oyster mushrooms online. In my mind, they are the best beginner mushroom to grow. Back then there was only little bits of information on how to grow mushrooms as most people wanted to keep their procedures secret. After buying all of the equipment to grow mushrooms, I began to experiment with different procedures.
Once you learn how, growing mushrooms it is fairly easy, but it has a bit of a learning curve. One of the biggest is sterile technique and doing things the same way every time in order to not contaminate your mycelium, seed, petri etc. It took me many tries to learn this technique. I contaminated my mycelium more than a few times and at other times bought the cheapest mycelium which was contaminated or weak. Buying the lowest price myelium is not cost effective as they are often low quality. The cost of materials adds up quickly. It takes time, money and good processes to produce vibrant mycelium, the old adage "you get what you pay for " (within reason) really applies to this science.
That’s where a Mycelium library comes into the picture. A “Mycelium Library” is used to store your mycelium Master cultures in case of contamination or loss of your petri, seed or liquid cultures. Having a mycelium library is good insurance (stuff happens) ...one little algae spore lands, grows and takes over...... you start over.
The black area is a spore that landed on the "petri agar" media when it was exposed to open air. The white area is Enoki mycelium which is now contaminated and the contaminate spore is growing 5 times faster than the Enoki.
Every time you purchase a new mycelium, the first thing you should do is put a little into a petri dish to check to see if it is clean (not contaminated) using a flow-hood or glove box.
You can’t tell just by looking at the mycelium in a syringe or jar, you need to see it grow. Usually you can see if it's bad on a petri dish in a week.
Contaminated Lions Mane liquid syringe from "bargain price seller" which looked great in the syringe but as you can see it was not!
This will save you weeks of time/money and answer the question ,“Did I buy bad Mycelium, or do I contaminate it with my technique?" It really is annoying to wait weeks just to find out that all your seed jars/ liquid is contaminated by bad mycelium and have to re-do everything.
Once that question is answered with a good sampe in a petri and you have viable clean mycelium, take the clean mycelium and put a bit into a slant tube - a sterilized a mixture of malt, yeast, and agar poured into a glass test tube that contains a thick pre sterilized wooden stick that has been processed it in a steam sterilizer. The addition of the wood stick greatly increases the longevity of the cultures.
Once the culture takes hold the tube is then refrigerated and the culture can last up to 2 years and you have a back up culture that requires no maintenance just a cold fringe. This is the beginning of your library!
Remember for consistent mushroom growing there are no “short cuts” and “no need to sterilize” ways to grow mushrooms indoors…. unless you buy a ready to grow kit.....Cheers Neil