Important Facts about Mushroom Substrates

A lot of different substances can be used for mushroom substrates.  Substrates are the material that mushrooms are grown on.  Peaches grow on peach trees and mushrooms grow on substrate.
The type of substrate used will depend upon the type of mushroom you are growing.
There are many more types of substrates used in mushroom cultivation than will be covered in this article.  Additional substrate information can be found in my ebook.

Substrates are a basic essential for mushroom growing.  A better understanding of substrates will allow more success in growing mushrooms.   

Some of the most common types of substrates include:

  • Straw
  • Logs
  • Sawdust
  • Cardboard
  • Compost

Oat, Rye, and wheat straw also known as cereal straw serves as a good substrate for growing mushrooms.  It is cheap and readily available.  It is also good for several mushroom types.  Cereal straw is one of the most versatile substrates available.  There is some disadvantages of using straw including the need to treat the straw with heat pasteurization before using to remove the microbes which could inhibit mushroom growth.

Logs can be successfully used as a mushroom substrate.  It is important to select the type of wood, which the mushroom you will be growing, grows on in the wild.  Common woods for log substrates include:

  • Beech
  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Elm
  • Cottonwood

Hardwoods of a thicker type like oak take a longer time prior for mushroom production.  One of the advantages of using logs is that mushrooms can be produced for several years on the same log.

Enriched sawdust is another substrate that can effectively be used to grow mushrooms.   Since sawdust does come from wood the same factors that should be considered in selecting a type of log should be applied to selecting a type of sawdust.  Sawdust by itself may not be rich enough to grow mushrooms but enriching sawdust with a supplement of nitrogen  can be an effective substrate.  More mushrooms will be yielded with enriched sawdust rather than just sawdust.  One of the drawbacks to using sawdust is that it has to be sterilized much like straw to remove the microscopic competitors.

A lot of mushroom growing kits use sawdust blocks but these blocks come prepared for your ease of use.

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