Mushroom Spawn

Ready to start growing your own fresh, local mushrooms in Winnipeg and beyond? We’ve got what you need. Place your orders now for the 2019 spring and summer mushroom growing season. Freshly made mushroom spawn is all you need to start growing beautiful and delicious mushrooms this year.

If you would like to purchase mushroom spawn, please fill out and submit the form on the Contact and let me know which species or strain you are interested in and the quantity. More information on what exactly mushroom spawn is, how to take care of it and how to use it can be found in the paragraphs below. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for mushroom growing.

Not sure exactly what mushroom spawn is or how to use it? Check out these basic introductions before you continue..

Spawn is available in quart size glass mason jars that are fitted with specialized lids to maintain a breathable yet sterile environment within. Each jar contains 16 ounces (1 pound) of sterilized, certified organic MB wheat grain or hydrated hardwood sawdust and is inoculated with the desired mushroom species or strain of your choice.

Each inoculated jar (unit) of mushroom spawn costs $10 and is made to order. This requires a minimum of 3 days from the time of ordering to produce plus an additional incubation period of roughly 1-3 weeks (usually 10 to 14 days) for the mycelium to colonize the substrate within before it can be opened up and combined with more substrate to grow mushrooms.

If you would like to order some mushroom spawn, please contact me using the form on the Contact page. Be sure to include your name, e-mail address and the species or strain and quantity of jars that you would like to order.

Species & Strains

The following species and strains are recommended for introductory level or novice growers since they do not require sterilization of their substrate materials and can tolerate a fairly wide range of environmental conditions. Pasteurization is often all that is necessary to achieve satisfactory yields without the need for nutritional supplementation, although with higher spawn to substrate inoculation rates this can also be achieved.

Common Oyster
(Pleurotus ostreatus)

Blue Oyster
(Pleurotus columbinus)

Phoenix Oyster
(Pleurotus pulmonarius)

Winter Oyster
(Pleurotus ostreatus)

Wild Maine’ Oyster
(Pleurotus ostreatus)

Wine CapStropharia
(Stropharia rugosoannulata)

Wood Blewit
(Clitocybe nuda)

For those of you with a more thorough understanding of mushroom cultivation and some experience with advanced sterile techniques, I also have the following species or strains available in either grain or sawdust based spawn: 

Lion’s Mane
(Hericium erinaceus)

Chestnut Mushroom
(Pholiota adiposa)

Shiitake ‘3782’
(Lentinula edodes)

(Cordyceps militaris)

What is Mushroom Spawn?

Mushroom spawn is the mycelium of a fungus that has been inoculated onto either grain or sawdust under sterile conditions. Mycelium is the body of a fungus and is comprised of a vast, interconnected network of filaments (known individually as hyphae) that make up the structure of the fungal organism.

Mycelium can be easily recognized as a fine, usually white, thread-like material growing throughout decomposing logs, branches, rotting leaves, within the soil or virtually any other dark, moist and sheltered environments. It is this mycelium that produces mushrooms, which are the spore bearing reproductive structures of many fungi.

This mushroom spawn, when mixed with additional substrate material, colonizes it’s new environment and when certain environmental conditions are present (usually elevated oxygen levels, high humidity and a change in temperature), this stimulates the mycelium to produce mushrooms which can then be harvested or preserved and enjoyed.

The material that the mycelium of a fungus lives within is known as substrate. Substrates are organic materials such as wood, soil, manure or compost which the fungus breaks down to release and build nutrients by releasing digestive enzymes and and producing metabolites. Substrate materials can vary greatly depending on the individual requirements of the species or strain being cultivated.

To put it simply, mushroom spawn is the ‘seeds’ which are ‘planted’ in a nutritious substrate that nourishes mycelium which then yields mushrooms. Fungi are fundamentally different organisms from both plants and animals, but this metaphor can be used to draw parallels between gardening with plants and gardening with fungi.

A thorough understanding of the environmental requirements necessary for mushroom development (such as light, fresh air and moisture levels) as well as how to formulate and prepare substrates under the proper conditions and handle mushroom mycelium is necessary in order to successfully grow mushrooms using spawn.

Please be sure that you have done your homework before you choose to work with mushroom spawn. I can’t be held responsible for failure if the mushroom spawn was not stored properly, handled incorrectly or grown under detrimental conditions. Just like vegetable gardening, mushrooms require certain environments if they are to do well are reward you with a harvest for you diligence and patience.

That being said, there our countless books and websites online (head on over to the Resources page for some of my personal recommendations or take a look at the upcoming programs list below to attend a class or workshop) with detailed articles and videos which effectively demonstrate all of the necessary techniques and illustrate countless methods for growing mushrooms simply and successfully.

How do I Store my
Mushroom Spawn?

Do not open the jar of bag until you are ready to use it!

The species and varieties of mushroom spawn that I have available are generally quite adaptable and will grow strongly and remain healthy at a wide range of temperatures, although room temperature is best. Under most circumstances, if you are comfortable then the mycelium will be comfortable too.

Temperatures below 10°C can cause the mycelium to grow much slower and refrigerated temperatures often cause the mycelium to enter a state similar to hibernation and hardly grow, if at all. Freezing temperatures are lethal to most species in this form, so never put spawn in your freezer and parts of your fridge that have a tendency to freeze.

Temperatures in excess of 30°C can also be harmful, as can direct sunlight. Indirect light however is beneficial to the growing mycelium and so avoid storing them away in dark cupboards or pantries which also do not have good ventilation or fresh air (unless incubation in dark environments is required, as is true for some species). Places where the ambient temperature fluctuates throughout the day should also be avoided in order to produce consistent growth.

On top of the fridge, on a shelf, on the counter in a kitchen or on a bedside table or desk are all good places to store your mushroom spawn, as long as direct light is avoided but indirect light is available and the room has good ventilation. Also avoid storing your spawn near sources of possible mold or yeast contamination such as compost pails, trash cans, in washrooms, or on the floor.

Under ideal conditions, mycelium should be visible growing within the spawn at around 1-2 weeks after the inoculation date found on the jar label. Once the grain or sawdust inside is around 20-30% covered by mycelium, giving the jar or bag a vigorous shake or gentle massage, respectively, for around 20 seconds or so helps to break up the growing mycelium and redistribute hyphal fragments, helping the remaining substrate to colonize faster.

Once the mycelium has completely covered the grain or hardwood sawdust and has had a chance to briefly consolidate, it is ready to be used. If you are not yet ready to use your mature spawn, simply place the spawn in your fridge or a cold cellar until you are ready to incorporate it into a prepared substrate mixture of your choice.

If the mushroom spawn is fully colonized and allowed to continue growing, the mycelium may enter a state of senescence which results in a noticeable loss of vigour once mixed with substrate material. Storing the recently colonized spawn under cooler temperatures prevents it from become over-mature and therefore preserves it’s vigor.

How Do I Use My Spawn?

Mushroom spawn can be added to your prepared, hydrated substrate mixture of choice at a ratio of 1 part spawn to 3 or 4 parts substrate. This will result in the spawn making up 25-33% of the total volume. I recommend 1:3 or 1:4 ratio for beginning and novice mushroom cultivators since this will allow for faster colonization and also discourage contaminates from proliferating.

Commercial mushroom growers, working under mostly if not entirely sterile conditions, often inoculate at ratios of 1:5, 1:8 or even as low as 1:10 or even 1:20. When you are just starting out, especially if you are not pasteurizing or sterilizing your substrate (with the exception of wine cap mushrooms, Stropharia rugosoannulata), working with higher amounts of spawn to substrate encourages success.

As you continue to work with mushrooms, diversify the species and varieties that you work with and refine your techniques, you can begin to work with smaller ratios of spawn to substrate and still experience adequate colonization and yields. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.), the choice of many beginner mushroom growers, are particularly adaptable and aggressive enough to handle less than ideal conditions and still perform well.

After you have mixed together your spawn and hydrated substrate mixture, you may then place your brand new mushroom ‘kit’ in a suitable place for the mycelium from the spawn to begin colonizing the new, nutritious substrate material and working hard to produce beautiful and delicious mushrooms for you! For more information on what these sorts of suitable places might be, pleased consult the Resources page for further reading or check out the upcoming programs below below to attend a course or workshop to see how it’s done. Thanks again for reading and happy growing!