Mushrooms are a great addition to any diet, and they can be grown in your own home with the right substrate recipes. There are many different DIY substrates you can use, but some of them work much better than others.
Here are eleven of the best mushroom substrate recipes that will help you get started growing your own mushrooms at home!
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Commonly Used Substrates for Growing Mushrooms
Due to the fact that sawdust and pellets are useful for growing any kind of mushroom, these are the most popular substrates. In addition, you’re likely to find the following:
- Fanaticus mixture, best for cubensis
- Coffee Grounds, great for shiitake and oysters
- Straw, best for oysters
- Rye grain, which grows fast so it’s good for making spawns of other types
- Manure, great for mushrooms that naturally grow in it like buttons
- Logs, best for all fungus that grows on dying trees
- Coco coir and vermiculite, which can serve as a substitute for manure
Coffee Substrate Recipe for Oyster Mushrooms
Sterilize regular spent coffee grounds and add them to a clear plastic bag. You may want to add around a tablespoon of gypsum to prevent the material from sticking to itself.
Adding at least some rye grains to the mixture will help to provide extra nutrition, which is important when growing oyster mushrooms.
Hardwood Sawdust Recipe for Shiitake Mushrooms
Around a single pound of hardwood sawdust mixed with a pound or more of soy bean hull can produce big shiitake flushes. You’ll want to add just under 3 pints of water to keep it from getting too dry.
PF-TEK Recipe for Cubensis Mushrooms
Sterilize the following ingredients in a pressure cooker to make a good PF-TEK mix:
- 60 mL water
- ½ cup Vermiculite
- ⅙ cup brown rice flour
These should be processed in a pressure cooker for around 45 minutes to ensure cleanliness.
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Straw Recipe for Blue Ostreatus
Straw, air and an appropriately sized fruiting container is all you’ll need to grow these large meaty mushrooms. They’re going to require more air than normal, though, which is why they’re a favorite of those who prefer to do all of their growing in the great outdoors.
Some people add at least some portion of coffee grounds in order to give their mushrooms some extra nutrients.
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Rye Grain Recipe for Spawn
Soak rye grains in water and add a cup of used coffee grounds. Add a tablespoon of calcium sulfate dihydrate to keep it from clumping together.
This can be used to grow any kind of mushroom spawn, though it’ll have to be transplanted to its preferred type of substrate once it’s begun to fruit. Most mushroom species don’t produce spawn that’s edible in any quantity.
Manure Recipe for Button Mushrooms
Mushroom growers tend to get creative when they’re mixing together manure, but you’ll usually want to base your substrate around two parts manure to one part coco coir. Add water to get it to the right field capacity, but don’t let it start to pool or drip because button mushrooms don’t like that.
Fungus growing expert Oliver Carlin recommends using a pressure cooker for around 2½ hours at 15PSI to sterilize it. This is especially important when dealing with natural sun dried manure, which understandably has a large amount of bacteria in it.
Log Recipe for Shiitake Mushrooms
Rather than a recipe per se, you’re going to need a hardwood log that’s around 3-4 ft in length. Most mushroom growers recommend making sure that it’s at least 5 inches in diameter, though you don’t want to exceed maybe half a foot in width.
Drill inch-deep holes every four inches in a row. Stagger these in a diamond-shaped formation for best results and make sure to clear them out before you start to introduce shiitake spawn into them.
Coco Coir Recipe for Psilocybe
In general, you’ll want to use twice as much sun-dried horse manure for every part of coco coir you have. Therefore, if you have 8 lbs. of coco coir you’ll want to add an additional 16 lbs. of manure to it for growing mushrooms.
Most people won’t need to put together anything near this size, but it’s possible to do so. A good rule of thumb is to keep the entire mixture together around 10 lbs. or so to make the mixture manageable.
Used Cardboard Recipe for Pink Ostreatus
Cardboard should be carefully soaked in boiling water, so you’ll probably have to rip it apart somewhat before you start to use it to grow mushrooms. Bring a pot with cardboard in it to a boil and then let it cool down naturally.
Preferably, you’ll want to use cardboard that hasn’t been bleached or dyed. Traditional packing containers, as well as the plain brown paper they come wrapped in, work best for this kind of mixture.
Some people have reported that even used pizza boxes work. You may want to remove any food scraps if you go this route.
Grain Recipe for Spawn Growth
Barley or even popcorn granules can be used in place of rye for growing mushroom spawn of nearly any species. Rinse your grains and put them into a pressure cooker with enough water for them to absorb.
Cook them for a half hour at 15PSI and then let them drain once it’s safe to open the cooker. You’ll want to pat the corns dry and place them into mason jars for later sprouting.
A few mushroom experts have suggested using poly fill to take up any extra space in the jars.
How to Mix Substrates to Create Your Own Recipe
While you’ll want to be creative, you need to be mindful of what different substrates are like. Grains, for instance, can take the place of other grains.
Dead wood like logs can be interchanged with cardboard because they’re from the same family of materials. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but keep this in mind because you could get undesirable results if you try to grow mushrooms on the wrong type of substrate.
Add water to your mixture in small intervals. Don’t ever let it start to pool together regardless of how dry your substrate mix might be.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.