A Mushroom grow kit is composed of already colonized “mycelium” and often a “bulking substrate”. but before we go any further, here is a quick run down of what mycelium is and the mushroom life cycle.
If Mushroom spores are successfully dispersed in an environment with sufficient nutrients and specific environmental conditions they will germinate, and begin to grow and form what is called “mycelium”.
Mycelium consists of a mass of branching root-like strands, each strand a single cell thick, called Hyphae. Mycelium can be described as the vegetative portion of a fungus (where all nutrients and energy are put towards growth instead of gene propagation). Mushroom mycelium will continue to grow and spread as long as nutrients are available, and as long as the environmental conditions are congruent with this “stage” of the mushroom life cycle. This part of the life cycle (where the mycelium is growing but no mushrooms are present) is often called “spawning” or “colonization”.
The next step in the mushroom growing life cycle happens once the mycelium has “colonized” (utilized most of the nutrients available). At this point (under natural conditions) changes in environmental conditions (like temperature and humidity) will trigger the mycelium to switch from a “spawning” or “colonization” state to a “fruiting” state. It is in this fruiting state that mushrooms grow out of the mycelial mat, and mushrooms will continue to sprout until all available nutrients and moisture in the environment are used or environmental conditions are changed back to conditions congruent with the colonization state.
If you don’t want to get a grow kit, then you will need to get either spores, or a mycelial culture (usually offered growing on grain or in an agar medium).
If you want to view a full written tutorial (and video tutorials) on how you can grow mushrooms directly from spore check out our website