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applestar
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Growing Edible Mushrooms - from kits, spawns, and plugs

Actually, I'm not quite ready to describe what I've started with the "Espresso" Oyster Mushroom spawn from Fungi Perfecti, but I will be adding to this thread very soon. In the mean time, I've been casting around for additional info, and I came across an [url=https://mushroomcompany.com/events/index.shtml]Event Calendar[/url] -- I can't go :( , but thought others be interested:
(the way they're listed, I suspect the Dec one is a typo and is actually 2009 not 2010)
# November 7 - 8, 2009: Stamets Seminar, Olympia, Washington, USA

Participants learn tissue culture, spawn generation techniques, substrate preparation, inoculation techniques, and strategies for maximizing yields. Each seminar participant receives seven select mushroom strains for their own personal use. The cultivation of Shiitake, Oyster, Enokitake, King Stropharia, Reishi, Maitake and many others are covered in detail.
Contact: Fungi Perfecti
PO Box 7634
Olympia, WA 98507
Phone: 1-800-780-9126
WWW: https://www.fungi.com/seminars/
Email: info@fungi.com

# December 13, 2010: Grow Edible Mushrooms at Home, Berkeley, California, USA

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Take a slide show tour of mushrooms of the Bay Area and learn how to grow edible mushrooms at home. Bring newspaper, cardboard, sawdust, wax, cordless drills, drill bits, and leave with mushrooms of your own. Enter via garden entrance on Peralta.
Cost: $15 sliding scale
EcoHouse
1305 Hopkins St.
Berkeley, California
Email: ecohouse@ecologycenter.org
Phone: 510-548-2220, ext. 242

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!potatoes!
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i actually started their 'espresso oyster' back in april or may, and have a dozen or so plug-spawn-inoculated logs for shiitake waitin' in the wings...not soon enough for the shiitakes yet, don't know what's up with the oysters.

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After recent comments about reputable mushroom kit sites like [url=https://fungi.com]Fungi Perfecti[/url], of course :roll: I went over there and browsed around, AND ended up buying their "Espresso" Oyster Mushroom Spawn.

(I mentioned in the Compost Forum that a couple of area Starbucks said they don't have anyone picking up used coffee grounds now, though there were many pick-ups during the summer.)

I "planted" the Oyster mushroom spawn on Sunday (11/1) in three different substrates -- used coffee grounds, brown and newsprint paper, and :idea: steam pasteurized rice straw. Caveat: I'm not sure how successful this will be as it's my first experiment with this.

I've been trying to find out if dividing the substrate into smaller masses than the single 5 gal bucket as described in the instructions was a bad idea, but so far, I haven't found any solid description of minimum substrate mass Oyster mushrooms need. FP DOES sell what looks like 1 qt containers of Enoki mushroom kits. So far, my readings seem to indicate that small mass substrate is really how commercial growers increase the volume of spawn -- i.e. I can always use the smaller mass to inoculate a larger mass substrate -- so I should be OK as long as contamination (mold, etc.) doesn't set in. Also that Oyster mushrooms are "aggressive" growers that can grow in a wide variety of substrates. (... and I just remembered last night that I still have part of a bag of corncob bedding left over from when we had gerbils 8) and I have a 2nd block of Oyster mushroom spawn to "plant" 8) 8) )

I ended up using glazed clay orchid pots (I thought the holes in the sides may allow the 'shrooms to grow out of them) and Italian red clay pots rather than plastic buckets, although I had managed to score 3.5 gal food-grade pickle buckets from a deli for the purpose. They were covered with the supplied hole-punched plastic "humidity tent" and I've been misting them 2~3 times a day, but, at this point, I'm thinking of devising a better humidity tent to maintain higher humidity level since it's gotten cold around here and the forced-air heat is kicking in more often.

So far, no obvious sign of change in the surface substrate of the pots (maybe a possible "growth" to one of the spawn chunks o the surface). As moist as everything is in there, there's a little voice inside me that keep saying "They're going to get all moldy -- especially the one mixed with paper." So I'm almost surprised that there's no sign of that. Hopefully, this means that the mushroom spawn is viable and is keeping mold from growing. (FWIW, one of the Hallowe'en Jack-o-lanterns that was on the stairs has started growing spots of mold -- same timeframe -- so I think it's a good sign.) I'll have to remind myself that when and if I do see white thready filaments, they are most likely the mushroom growing and not panic. :wink:

I wanted to mention this link at FP for the article [url=https://www.fungi.com/mycotech/permaculture.html]Permaculture with a Mycological Twist[/url], and point out this part under Oyster mushrooms:
Soaking bulk substrates in cold water creates a residual "tea" that is a nutritious fertilizer and potent insecticide. Submerging the bulk substrate in hot water produces a different brew of "tea"": a naturally potent herbicide.
Fascinating. 8)

...OK, OK! I also bought a Shiitake mushroom patch (spawn inoculated sawdust in a bag). :wink: I'm going to start that one today or tomorrow 8)
Last edited by applestar on Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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!potatoes! you posted while I was writing up mine! :lol:
So are you saying your oyster mushrooms never grew? (getting worried here) Did you see this link they posted at FP? https://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/11/oyster-mushrooms-coffee.php Instructions that came with my spawn included the bit about drilling holes just above the substrate to let the CO2 out. I leveled the substrate to the top of the pots so as not to have to worry about that. Also, the porous clay pots could supply air exchange, and the orchid pots has those holes in the sides. ...or are you growing yours in an outside patch?

Now :roll: I'm feeling a renewed interest in the Shiitake logs. 8)
I had the impression that it gets too cold (freezes too hard) around here for outdoor Shiitake culture, but that's not the case?

If so, I have a Willow Oak tree with a too low branch that is hanging over the kid's swingset that really needs to get cut, and will be this winter.... :wink:

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Alrighty Applestar, I'm excited to see what comes of this project. As you know I have been interested in growing mushrooms for a while, but alas I'm broke at the moment. As you have already stated it is something very different from growing veggies, so there is an air of mistrust and worry about them.

I'm gonna let you be my guinea pig I hope you don't mind. :P

I'm sure you will do fine, I can't wait to see your results. I think I would like to try them in logs someday. We always have shroom's popping up all over the yard so I would think that growing them here 'should' be fine.

Good luck. :)

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Not at all. I'll be happy to share my successes (hopefully) and/or spectacular failures (knock on wood). :wink:

I kept the white popcorn-looking shiitake patch in the cold garage until Thursday, then soaked it in the leftover rainwater that I used to soak the worm bedding coir block (not positive this was a good idea - possible contamination? is coir fungicidal? It IS supposed to be pH neutral.). After 24 hours (yesterday), I turned the bag containing the patch upside-down to drain, and up-ended the Shiitake patch on 3 wooden chopsticks resting across a small clay saucer, sitting on a oval serving plate. I did need to cut the bag since the patch swelled from soaking in the water. I took off the heavier clumps of the coir fibers, but left the rest on the surface rather than rubbing them off and possibly damaging the patch. Misted it with rainwater for good measure, covered the patch with the humidity tent supported with long bamboo skewers, and misted some more through the vent holes.

The Shiitake patch is supposed start blistering and forming mushrooms in 5~10 days. With the Oysters patches, the coffee ground patch should be covered in white mycelium (this is the state Shiitake patch is already) in 2~3 WEEKS and start producing, the paper patch should form mushrooms in 3~6 WEEKS, and the straw patch -- the instructions say increase watering after a month for outdoor patch but doesn't provide any time frame for an indoor patch, except to say water 2~3 times a day. (I guess I'll have to find out).

:lol: Yesterday, I cleared a space next to the shed that might be a good all-day shaded spot for keeping the Shiitake logs (if I decide to do this in early spring).

:() Happily, when I went to see my Dad for his birthday, I recovered my older edition Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets, so I have some (more) reading material. (They have terrific comparative mushroom book reviews [url=https://mushroomcompany.com/bookreviews/index.shtml]here[/url].) Also purchased Mycelium Running.... :cool:

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Sounds good, again good luck, oh and don't forget the pics. :)

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to clarify, applestar, i used sterilized coffee grounds mixed with shredded newspaper as a substrate, i did drill holes above the substrate...my oysters myceliated nicely, started growing, but did the 'antler' style growth - long stems, with little or no caps...tried to get them into a better spot (more light, more air movement), and they fell and rotted...never had any regrowth like i expected, but i was fighting against summertime high temps at that point...i've occasionally watered, but i've seen no movement in there in quite some time (though i've seen what seemed to be proof of mats of mycelial stuff in there)...

edit: oh yeah, and here in the nc mts, outdoor shiitake growing is becoming a sizeable little cottage industry...winter temps down to 10 or 15 or so (F). the logs freeze but they produce again when it warms up (even during little warm spells in jan/feb)...don't know for sure how that compares to your jersey winters...

oh yeah, one more thing: i was warned by a (seriously) old-timer mushroom-grower that the ONLY wood that can be harvested for shiitake-growing year-round is white oak, all others have to be cut while dormant in winter - sounds like that's your plan anyway, but had to throw that out there.

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You might want to try mixing with fresh batch of coffee grounds, etc.?
From the Espresso Oyster Mushroom patch instructions:
Another way to bring about further fruitings is to use the colonized material from your first fruiting to inoculate other materials. Simply break up your "first generation" mushroom bed and mix it into a new batch of substrate."

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OK, this is a COMPLETELY "no expectations" experiment. I had some excess rich brown, coffee-smelling water that drained out of those Oyster mushroom pots. I left it in a watering can to re-water the pots with, covered with a plastic bag to keep outs stuff, and this white film of "something" started to grow on the surface (looks very much like a vinegar mother). With all the misting, I haven't needed to water the pots, so I've decided to see if indeed anything interesting is growing in this water.

I boiled some brown rice with chopped pieces of rice straw and extra bits of wooden chopsticks (I cut up some to raise the pots a little bit in the saucers so they're not sitting so much in the excess water.) I put this mixture in a 1 qt canning jar, put the lid on and let it cool (the lid popped down), then poured the above solution with the floating white film in the jar (it just fit) I plant to leave it loosely covered for 24 hours, then pour out the excess water, and see what happens. (where's that "shrug" emoticon -- is it Kisal that uses one?)

I feel like a mad scientist.... :lol:

BTW, like the book review said, in the earlier edition of Growing, PS was pretty clear that you need to work in a sterile environment to grow mushrooms, especially spores and running spawn, but in [url=https://books.google.com/books?id=NPI8_-omzvsC&pg=PA120#v=onepage&q=&f=false]Mycelium Running[/url], he makes it sound like mushrooms, especially Oysters, will grow on anything. Also, I found a [url=https://www.raintreenursery.com/catalog/producttype.cfm?producttype=MUSH]website[/url] that lists Oyster mushrooms as Zone 4~10 and Shiitake mushrooms Zone 5~10. I'm expanding my interest to include Chicken of the Woods (Zone 4~9) and [url=https://www2.mailordercentral.com/fungi/prodinfo.asp?number=LKSRA]King Stropharia[/url] (Zone ?), too. 8)

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i think the main point re: sterility is that while mushrooms like oysters can indeed grow on anything, they need to be able to completely colonize the growing medium - and the best way to insure that the desired mushroom gets a head-start - enough to beat out the competition - is to let it have the playing field to itself for as long as possible. or, in condensed form, you won't get efficient conversion of nutrients-to-desired-mushroom if half your medium has been colonized by some other mold.

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That's for sure. After some more reading and research, I came across rather intriguing descriptions for using canning jars and steam and pressure canners: I'm finding that I'm pulling out all my canning equipment. Will be doing more experiments and will post as I go.

That jar of rice and straw is not looking too good. I'll be reviewing the grain spawn techniques and trying again. In the mean time, I'm trying to make a small "cardboard towers" out of shiitake spawn bits and scrapings. I also came across the idea of introducing a small amount of a new substrate to the spawn BEFORE fully inoculating the substrate WITH the spawn, so I'll be experimenting with that idea with the other bag of oyster spawn.

It occurred to me that the Shiitake patch, which I upended *might* be forming more mushrooms on the bottom (which was originally the top) -- so I turned it back over, and I was right. The Shiitake patch is DEFINITELY growing mushrooms. I'll post photos soon.

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OK update photos. Not much to look at until recently. :wink:
Of the 3 different substrates - straight coffee grounds, steamed rice straw, and soaked cardboard/newsprint, the steamed rice straw is the WINNER as far as "hey, something's happening" award. These are from 11/8 and 11/9:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5819.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5803.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5821.jpg[/img]
I took a new photo this morning but camera upload failed, and the fix is to reboot the computer, so I won't be posting it now. That white patch on the side of the pot has grown and turned solid white in the last two days. Also, white mycelial mass is starting to grow out of most of the side holes in this orchid pot.

The coffee substrates are not showing much except a couple of original spawn pieces that are visible on the surface:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5817.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5807.jpg[/img]

The paper substrate is not doing anything as far as I can see. Not even in the side holes.

Now, the instructions didn't say anything about sterilizing or pasteurizing except for the straw. It's possible that the straw, which was pasteurized and the coffee grounds, which are "steam pasteurized" at brewing time provided a more pristine ground for the spawn to grow on.

Here are few photos of the Shiitake patch:
11/8.........................................................11/9 after turning it upside down (right side up):

[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5798.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5809.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5812.jpg[/img]
As it turned out, leaving the coir in place was the right thing to do -- provides a mulch to hold moisture (apparently called "casing" though usually the material used is non-nutritious medium like vermiculite) In this case, Shiitake mycelium is liking the coir, and today, there are filaments starting to grow on top.

I've been lurking :roll: in a couple of mushroom forums where Culinary/Gourmet mushrooms are relegated to sub-forums and the main discussion areas are dedicated to "other kinds" of mushrooms. Most of the serious cultivation threads appear to relate to the other mushrooms and all kinds of "proven" methods are labeled "teks" and listed there. I've been borrowing from those but mostly from Stamet's two books to experiment. With the 2nd Oyster patch/spawn, I've pasteurized coffee grounds mixed with some corn cob bedding, oak twig clippings, and a bit of oyster shells for one patch, and appropriated the perforated inside pot of the pasta pot to grow in. Lined it with pasteurized cardboard so the coffee ground don't fall out. For my "Oh why not? I already have a lot of patches started" experiment, I made a "cardboard tower" inside a cardboard box, and nestled it inside a corrugated cardboard box in more spawn and pasteurized (in the coffee ground mix pasteurizing water) cardboard. I set this box outside for what Stamets calls "cold incubation". I'm not sure if this will work since it's getting rather cold around here already, but for the next wk or so, it'll be 50/60 high and low 40's low, so it will still be within the right temp parameters, PLUS it rained today and is supposed to rain for the next two days.

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Can you tell I'm obsessed with this new project? 8) :lol:

Here's link to a tiny article on [url=https://www.attra.org/attra-pub/mushroom.html#mush_perm_design]Mushrooms in Permaculture* Design[/url] If you scroll up and down on the same page, you'll see more info there as well.

As regards outdoor cultivation, I'm having second thoughts about King Stropharia and Chicken of the Woods.
(Following quotes from Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms)
King Stropharia: "The stem is also edible although it is often permeated through with maggot holes, nearly invisible in young specimens." "...should not be eaten for more than 2 or 3 days in a row" Stamets emphasizes how much of a fly-magnet this mushroom is and describes how he uses overgrown mushrooms (filled with maggots) to feed his aquaculture salmon. It sounds like a good mushroom to grow if you have chickens to take care of the maggoty ones.
Chicken of the Woods: First of all there are West coast native Laetiporus conifericola and East coast native L. sulphureus. (Midwestern variety is L. cincinnatus) Since FP's strain is L. conifericola, I'd like to stick to the East coast variety and find another source for my spawn if I decide to grow this one. BUT! "Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus (Polyporus) sulphureus) has been reported to contain alkaloids similar to those found in plants know to be psychoactive, like Kava Kava (Lincoff & Mitchel (1977))." :shock: Also that that "edibility dramatically declines as the mushrooms age" and it needs to be cooked in high heat "One mycologist I know served a chicken-of-the-woods soup... and it sickened all who ate it. ... [due to] resident bacteria."

I do want a "garden" mushroom -- a variety that can be grown in the vegetable garden. So now, I'm looking at Hypsizygus ulmarius. -- Garden Oyster or Elm Oyster mushroom.
(Following quote from Mycelium Running)
"H. ulmarius is an excellent edible whose texture and flavor rank it, in my opinion, above all other oyster-like mushrooms, with the possible exception of Pleurotus eryngii. This mushroom is friendly to many garden vegetables, unlike its cousin Pleurotus ostreatus."

:? P. ostreatus is the one I'm trying to cultivate an outdoor spawn culture in the cardboard box. I guess, if successful, it's going to need a bed of its own. While tempting, so far, P. eryngii sounds somewhat harder to cultivate, and it hasn't naturalized in N. America.

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OK, OK. I'll stop after this until I have some SIGNIFICANT developments to report. :lol:

Here are some more photos of the Rice Straw pot from yesterday and today -- sorry about the lousy quality, it's been drearily rainy and dark around here. You can see the mycelium is even growing on the bamboo chopstick (and YES! this is one of the 4 Smith&Hawken orchid pots I got at their store-closing sale :wink: ):
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5841.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5857.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5854.jpg[/img]

The coffee ground substrate in orchid pot is also showing signs of growth, some in the side holes too, though I didn't take a picture:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5868.jpg[/img]

It occured to be that if, by some luck, ALL of these "patches" eventually become colonized and produce mushrooms, I'll have a sufficiently staggered production for quite some time.... :cool:

Here's one photo of the Shiitake. I didn't want to take the humidity cover off today, but you can see the primordia (the lumpy stuff) starting to darken, and, though it might not be obvious, starting to split at the top:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5860.jpg[/img]

Also, I didn't want to report it after the abysmal failure of the first rice/straw jar, PLUS I was feeling that the substrate might have been too dry, but I made a pasteurized corn cob/oak branchlets/rice/oystershell "grain spawn" jars two days ago (11/10) and the pint jars are showing signs of growth, though the 4 oz jars are not (pretty sure it's the lack of moisture in these). If I can successfully make spawn cakes out of these, I'm hoping to eventually culture vigorous spawn that will be able to innoculate logs for outdoor culture (this is the back-up/alternate to the "cold incubated" cardboard mycelium tower).

I also want to try an outdoor bed of straw/sawdust/wood shavings with buried oak logs for longevity. These will be my late winter/early spring project. By then I should have "spent" oyster patches from the ones I'm growing now that I can use as well, though depending on how fast they develop, I may have to try to leap-frog the spawn one or more times.

I'll work out a plan to utilize the spawn to innoculate logs once the Shiitakes grow out too so hopefully I won't have to buy any more Shiitake spawn either.

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I know, I KNOW! :roll: But I did say SIGNIFICANT and this is pretty significant:

!!! SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS !!!
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5871.jpg[/img]

I swear these weren't there last night. And the first ones to pop out were totally not the ones I've been looking at. More blackheads like the one to the bottom right are scattered around the block too. Now I'm going to have to photo every likely bump EVERY DAY! :lol: I soaked the colonized spawn block from last Thursday evening to Friday evening, so it's been 6-1/2 days since setting up the patch. Pretty darn amazing and gratifying.

Also, OYSTERS -- In addition to the rice straw, 2 out of the 3 coffee ground pots are getting a wash of white like frost on the surface. I still don't see anything on the 3rd coffee ground pot and the paper pot. (I raised the thermostat by 1ºF yesterday, I wonder if that had any bearing or if it's just coincidental timing) BTW, I can *see* (pun intended) the advantage in growing in clear bags: bursts of white mycelium growing inside are visible in the corncob/stick/brown rice substrate in canning jars. :cool:

I decided that if I get enough spawn incubated/colonized, I'm going to try an experiment with cotton rags (old T-shirts, jeans, towels) substrate. :wink: :mrgreen:

ETA: :roll: :wink: Came across instructions for growing Oyster Mushrooms on a roll of toilet paper. :lol: [url=https://www.fieldforest.net/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_17_28]Field and Forest sells kits[/url] with everything you need. It looks like F&F kits come with grain spawn. But I've found several instructions on-line. (I'll post links if anyone's interested.) I believe removal of the center core is not strictly necessary and there are ways around that. The core would probably provide more nutrients than the paper, but the mycelium might colonize more quickly without it. It sounds like a funky Christmas present, doesn't it? :cool: Time line is about 2 wks to colonize the TP, 3 days (or more) in the fridge to stimulate fruiting, and about 2 wks to grow and harvest. I guess the easiest thing to do would be to inoculate the TP around 2 weeks before presenting them and provide instructions to refrigerate and grow. Some of my friends and family may end up with TP mushrooms this year.... :lol:

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Sounds like you have been busy. Glad to hear thing are turning out good for you. I can hear the excitement in your post. Keep 'em coming I always love your post, especially when you are going out on the edge as you usually do, nothing better than a guerrilla gardener, taking things a step further and not relying on the same old same old.


Just putting this out there for everyone. I love Christmas. I also love mushrooms. No reason to tell you this just thought I'd tell you all (hint hint). :wink:

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I'm going to link Stella's post about Paul Stamet's video here
[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20264&highlight=]6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World[/url]

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OT - Nature Walk/Mushroom Walk

This is OT but we went on a Nature Walk today. The past 3 days of rain and relatively warm 60's/40's weather provided ideal conditions for a Mushroom Walk :D I'm going to have to learn to ID these:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5897.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5911.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5899.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5907.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5914.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5915.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5913.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5910.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5926.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5917.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/WCR%20MML/Image5928.jpg[/img]

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Cool pics I think the 2nd and 3rd ones are the Mario Mushroom. :lol: Just kidding they look like the ones from Super Mario Brothers video game.


Have you ever had Morels? They are simply awesome and found in the wild. I'm not sure if they have ever been commercially grown. But we are avid Morel hunters around here.

[url=https://jv-foodie.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/05/11/morel1_2.jpg]Morel[/url]

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applestar
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Mario Mushrooms :roll: -- I know what they are! My kids have the Princess something or other for their Nintendo DS.

Yumm! I've had morels, and they're supposed to grow around here too (or at least in Princeton, NJ). They do sell spawn kits to grow a morel patch in your garden. (Someone has a Youtube-type video up of him using Rabbit Fence to protect his morels from raccoons. Considering that he only fenced it on 4 sides and not the top, I doubt the protection level, especially in light of the various raccoon stories I've heard here. :lol: ) Apparently though, they're not easy to cultivate on mixed substrate (think mushroom soil mix) indoors. Memory's a bit vague, but I believe someone has a patented a special technique.

Too late this season, but next spring, I'm going to check with local mycological societies, state parks, etc. and look for guided mushroom walks. :cool:

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applestar
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!!! MUSHROOMS !!!

On Sat. 11/21 (so basically 2 wks after starting), I harvested the Shiitake. It was the only one to grow -- the other buttons that started seem to have been re-absorbed. But look a the size of this thing!
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5979.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5976.jpg[/img]
It looked like this when it started to grow back on 11/16
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5954.jpg[/img]

You can see how much the surface of the block has darkened. I've stopped watering it, and will let it rest for 1 wk, then soak it and hopefully get it to grow another flush, which is supposed to be more numerous, smaller mushrooms as compared to the larger but less numbers in the first flush .

I left the big Shiitake cap in a covered glass bowl for a couple of days until it released spores, and I'm trying to grow them on corrugated cardboard (Starbucks coffee cup holder). I'll let you know how that goes.

TODAY (3 wks), I noticed an itty bitty Oyster mushroom growing in the straw substrate:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5999.jpg[/img]
... as well as a nice cluster that are hopefully going to grow out from one of the side holes:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5991.jpg[/img]

I didn't take a photo, but I checked on the oysters in used coffee grounds in the inner pasta pot (hadn't looked at it in a couple of days as this one is in another room), and it's COVERED in white mycelium (2 wks)! I do have photos from 11/18 of the Oyster mushroom "cakes" I'm trying to grow (inoculated on 11/10):
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5966.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5970.jpg[/img]

One last photo of the big shiitake with an equally big carrot harvested from a forgotten corner of the garden :cool:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5981.jpg[/img]

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gixxerific
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Very awesome. Really it is interesting to see it go from nothing to all that. Seem like things are going well, even trying to save spores. Very interesting, I would like to know how that comes.

Now how many harvest can you get. I seem to remember that some will produce for years.

Keep 'em coming. :)

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applestar
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I'm having a blast. :wink: So far, it hasn't been any more difficult than learning to cultivate a new kind of plant. It's mostly just a matter of researching the growing requirements, then experimenting and adapting different methods to see what works.

The instructions say that you can usually get 3 flushes before contamination (mold) sets in. That's why it's important/more economical to learn to "extend the mycelial mileage" as P. Stamets puts it, and propagate from spores (thinik seeds), stem butts or gill sections (cuttings) or spawn/mycelia (root cuttings) rather than thinking you're done after the growing kit doesn't "fruit" any more. At the very least, I would use the spent block to try inoculating additional substrate or logs. I can't wait to move on to trying to establish them outside -- because of the amount of growth medium/nutrients available, "producing for years" doesn't happen unless you grow them on logs or in well-prepared beds (for Oyster mushrooms -- I believe Shiitake *must* be grown on logs and up away from contact with soil outdoors). I think this is akin to growing in containers vs. in the ground and establishing a self-seeding annual cycle or a perennial. If you're growing in "containers" you have to renew or repot by replacing the substrate (i.e. soil) and getting the mycelia to colonize to "fruiting size" again.

I like that so far, the Oyster mushrooms have been performing as expected -- it seems to be a good variety for a beginner to start with. You want to set yourself up to succeed and gain confidence and experience. Sawdust Shiitake kit, too, seems pretty straightforward. I've read that indoor log culture is actually a bit more difficult -- mostly the need for near 100% humidity WITH good air circulation vs. mold contamination issues.

BTW, I resisted weighing that first Shiitake, but at the last minute (before slicing it up and sautéeing it in butter, EVOO, a bit of salt and a touch of soy sauce -- Yumm! :() ) I gave in: Including the stem, it weighed 5.04 oz: about $3.50 worth at organic price of $11 per pound. :lol: DDalmost11 wants me to guarantee that we'll have plenty of Shiitake for our traditional New Year's Eve noodle soup :o :cool: :lol: I don't know, but I guess I'll have to try. :wink:

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gixxerific
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Good luck for New Years. Don't want to upset the yougen's.

I really wanted to try the log method maybe it's because they were a little cheaper, who knows. But I seem to remember hearing some of them would live up to 6 years. I'll have to look into it. No big deal though.

I know i have talked about a big stump on the way out of my street. that it is always loaded with mushrooms. It's pretty big though, 3 feet tall and about a 1 1/2 feet wide at the smallest point. Right now it has a Ton of white "shelf like mushrooms, it also has some really bright orange mushrooms growing out of it. pretty cool looking. I think about you and how I should get a pic of it. It really is a cool stump, as far as stumps go that is. :lol:

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applestar
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Do you remember
SP8 wrote:If you want fast maturing crops for kids you can’t leave out radishes.
in https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=101198#101198 ?

Well, I've discovered something better than radishes -- you guessed it! Mushrooms!! :() Shiitake harvested in just over 2 weeks! First Oyster is growing well and will be ready to harvest in a few more days, so let's say 4 weeks! :clap: And look at ALL these clusters getting ready to grow! (pictures coming soon! :wink: ... having some technical difficulties :roll: )

And guess what? Mushrooms taste WAY better than radishes :>

--
Gixx, I really think the growing kits are worth it. They grow so fast you're eating mushrooms within a month! Also, it hasn't been difficult at all so far to basically triple or quadruple the original amount of spawn. And I fully intend to mix the substrate into pasteurized straw (for more mushrooms) and sterilized sawdust (for inoculating logs and outdoor patches) to keep the mycelium going. (I'm planning to do this after first flush with some, before fruiting with others, and also with spent -- i.e. finished growing mushrooms -- substrate). I'll also experiment with stem butts and spores. So it's not just a matter of breaking even.

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applestar
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Photo Update of the Oyster Mushrooms

READY TO PICK!!! :()
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6049-1.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6058.jpg[/img]

... and more -- LOTS MORE -- to grow 8)
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6057.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6059-1.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6062-1.jpg[/img]

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gixxerific
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Very cool Apple!

Maybe I'll get some cash for Christmas, if so I will have to get some mushrooms to grow. But I also planned on getting other things for the garden so we shall see.

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applestar
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Know what you mean. What to do with the Christmas money -- it's always hard to pick! :wink:

READY FOR THE UPDATE ON THE PASTA POT OYSTERS? :()

[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6069.jpg[/img]

The plastic is stuck to the bottom of the pasta pot insert and I didn't have a helper to get it off, but believe me it's basically the same view 360º -- with mushroom clusters growing out of practically every available hole. I'd say using the stainless steel pasta pot insert is a 100% success and I HIGHLY recommend it. I'm sure this would work as well with a perforated colander.

If you remember, this is from Tues. 11/10:
With the 2nd Oyster patch/spawn, I've pasteurized coffee grounds mixed with some corn cob bedding, oak twig clippings, and a bit of oyster shells for one patch, and appropriated the perforated inside pot of the pasta pot to grow in. Lined it with pasteurized cardboard so the coffee ground don't fall out.
I might also add that I "pasteurized" the insert by leaving the insert in the pot and steam pasteurizing the substrate mixture at +/- 150ºF. After draining, cooling, mixing with spawn and replacing the inoculated substrate, this pot in it's perforated plastic humidity tent was kept on the floor in an upstairs bedroom (no direct sunlight) until the clusters started to grow into mushrooms a few days ago, then I elevated it to a desk to one side of a SE window, so overall, its environment has been warmer by a couple of degrees (say around 69~70ºF vs. 67~68ºF) and brighter with a brief touch of angled sunshine. The spawn mixture rate might have been a bit more concentrated -- I used half for this pot insert (approx 6 quarts, since the outer pot is an 8 qt.) The pasteurized coffee grounds + additions may have provided a non-competitive substrate with some extra nutrients.

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applestar
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Yesterday's Oyster mushroom harvest --
A really nice cluster:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6078.jpg[/img]
Assorted separate pieces (not from the first cluster):
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6079.jpg[/img]
(The whiter ones in the middle are from the upstairs pasta pot insert patch. Don't know if it's because that patch is from a different bag of spawn or because it's a bit warmer upstairs.)
A big'un:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6080.jpg[/img]

All except the last big one went into a pot of Barszcz (Polish Creamed Beet Soup), and the other one was butter sautéed for DD. DH said "It's so good I can't stop eating it," and had 3 bowlsful. :D
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6081.jpg[/img]

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gixxerific
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Well there you go. Congrats on the success. That cluster looks awesome. One question though How do you know when they are ready to pick?

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applestar
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Well, the instructions for the Oysters said to let them grow while the cap edges are still bent down but pick before the edges turn up into trumpets. It also said to cut away as much of the stem as possible. As you can see, in a well formed, co-joined cluster like that, the advice is contradictory and you end up picking the little ones as well as the most "ripe" ones.

Also, Oyster mushrooms come with the warning that it produces LOTS of spores and some people become allergic to them (workers in Oyster mushroom farms have to wear masks). So I'm mostly going to pick them younger rather than older.

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applestar
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2nd Shiitake Flush

Here are today's photos of the 2nd SHIITAKE Flush :()
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6148.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6147.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6157.jpg[/img]

As for the Oyster Mushrooms, I've run into a problem. Most of the tiny primordia (baby mushrooms) that I photographed and posted have shriveled up and died. Only 3 or 4 good clusters grew out in each container. I'll post photos later.

One possible cause is that for a while I was spraying with filtered tap water. I've gone back to straight rain water and they do seem much better even when the rain water is being stored in a 5 gal jug indoors (i.e. not "fresh").

Now, I do have a fair history and experience with growing a variety of your average indoor and outdoor plants. Nothing extremely unusual or out of ordinary, mind you, but I've done my share of experimentation and have a decent grasp on what to do to keep'em alive. So having these mushrooms behave in these unexpected ways has been somewhat frustrating. :?
(STILL GOT LOTS TO LEARN OBVIOUSLY :roll: )

Assuming humidity to be a major factor, I can see why people devise grow/fruiting boxes and rooms out of large clear storage containers or a spare room or a portion of a room draped in plastic. I've seen the little zipped vinyl greenhouse with wire shelves adapted for mushroom fruiting chamber. I might seriously consider something like that. For now though, I'm sticking with perforated plastic bags -- it IS easy to individualize misting schedule, etc.

I have to say, with the Oyster Mushrooms growing in five 7~8" pots, the 10" past pot insert, plus the pint jar that has been allowed to grow out, there are a good variety of growing conditions so that clusters are forming at different times at different rates and sizes (a prime example: The shipping paper/coffee grounds substrate that was part of the original spawn growing medium experiments has FINALLY started to fruit THIS week) , and I'm harvesting mushrooms every week.

Later on, I'll post latest photos of the two 1/3 paper towel rolls (I couldn't bring myself to use TP) that were inoculated with home-grown spawn in the canning jars on 12/13. They'r growing nicely and are emitting the distinct anise-like aroma of Oyster Mushroom mycelium. I'm giving one or both to my brother for Christmas :wink: Here are photos from 12/13:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6096.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6097.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6098.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6104.jpg[/img]

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soil
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i don't want to butt in, has anyone used these spored oils

https://www.fungi.com/plugs/plugs.html

i read a few articles that say load it into your chainsaw and cut host trees in rounds. then let the logs sit and the fungi takes over from the spores in the cut ends.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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applestar
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You know you're obsessed -- when your DD requests some boiled potatoes to eat and you realize with joy :idea: that you can decant the potato boiling water for the Potato Dextrose Agar .... 8) :lol: :roll: :wink:

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applestar
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Sorry soil, I didn't mean to ignore your query. I haven't used it, but am planning to use shiitake spore oil when I cut my oak logs. PS actually recommends triple whammy -- spored oil to cut with, plug spawns, AND (I think) hemp rope spawn -- in one of his books... Mycelium Running, probably.

I've gone ahead and made some P(RS)YA. RS because I discovered that I was out of Malt but had Brown Rice Syrup. It was actually supposed to be Dextrose according to the Potato Dextrose Yeast Agar recipe, but I had RS, so what the hey -- I used the same portion of RS as Barley Malt is called for in Malt Extract Yeast Agar. 8) Am still cobbling together equipment, so I went with small canning jars (4 oz jelly jars and the squat 8 oz wide-mouth jars) and tried 2 8-oz jars (one supplemented with sawdust and wood shavings) of shiitake spores and 2 4-oz jars of oyster spores as well as one 8-oz jar of bits of oyster cap to clone.

I did my best to follow sterile procedures, but I don't know... I just don't have super clean rooms. It's very well to recommend using the unused spare bathroom cleaned spotless -- obviously, those are written by either wealthy college students or recent graduates, making the bucks and living in one of those unfurnished apartments/condos with a master bedroom suit with a den and an extra 1/2 bath. I looked everywhere but there IS no spotlessly clean unused spare bathroom to be found in my house :lol:

Will report back on how those turn out.

I have to say I'm having a problem with that pot insert of oysters. I'm not sure if it's the size, the metal container or some general sloppiness on my part, but fungus gnats found it and I've been trying to come up with a way to save it. Right now it's been put in a chill cycle/rest. I have to keep it clean but try to dry it out somewhat -- not easy to do because of the large mass -- I wish I could put it in a spotlessly *clean* fridge, but my fridge is neither clean, nor does it have the spare space to hold a pot that size. Ha! I just though of something, DH has his "bait" fridge in the garage that as far as I know isn't being used right now.... 8)

Like I mentioned elsewhere, earlier this week, I've made up a new batch of substrate -- Pet bedding being the main component -- aspen shavings and Woody Pet sawdust pellets. Aspen is technically hardwood but considered softwood for some reason, and Woody Pet is supposedly made up of softwoods with all resinous materials removed to be healthy for pets. Also a small portion of corncob bedding, and a handful of crushed eggshells, oystershells, and garden sulfur. Pressure cooked in oven bags (still not buying "proper" supplies you see :> ) in small batches.

2 bags (one "sawdust substrate above and one 1/3-paper towel) inoculated with oyster spawn from my Pint canning jar pressure cooked corncob spawn back in November, whose twin had pinned and fruited last month. These bags are amazingly vigorous and myceliating already.

2 bags were inoculated with the Shiitake spawn kit after it had fruited twice. Unfortunately a patch of green mold had started. Although I tried to cut out the affected area and washed and peroxided the spawn surface before inoculating these bags, I have very little confidence that these will make it. I do see some white filaments, but whether they're shiitake mycelium or that green mold remains to be seen.

At least I'll know in time to buy a new spawn kit for my oak logs if I have to, and I already had good harvest from the Shiitake kit. The 2nd flush was tremendous -- and well-supplied our New Years Eve noodle soup along with a goodly harvest of Oysters. :()

top_dollar_bread
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wow AS, i need to grow me some mushrooms now
looks like you got this down

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applestar
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Heh. :roll: Just because I'm TRYIN' is in no way an indication of competence. :oops: :wink:

Those jars of agar, only one or two are showing any sign of growth. Whether that growth is mushroom hyphae remains to be seen. :lol:

Two mistakes --
(1) I filled the shallow canning jars too full of agar. With the alumnum foil lid, it's TOO DARK and the gap too narrow to see the top of the agar clearly. I keep having to take the darn lids off -- very bad for keeping out baddies.
(2) My spore collecting technique (HOW can you miss collecting Oyster mushroom spore I've no idea) might have been inadequate because all I see are the swoosh marks on the agar where the spores should be growing, though one of the shiitake spore agar and the one of the three pieces of oyster clones *appears* to be growing.
... oh OK THREE mistakes
(3) My house might be just a tad too cool at 69º. I think I should push them up to mid-70's for better spore germination. Too bad I can't keep them in the Seed Starting Area which I'll be setting up soon.... (too much mold, etc. other microbes which I'll be ENCOURAGING for the soil to be safe for agar cultures, I think.) I'll have to work something out..

In the mean time, I received the [url=https://www.fieldforest.net/store/index.php?main_page=page&id=3&chapter=0]Field and Forest[/url] catalog. I'm thinking their Wisconsin outdoor strains should be hardier than Fungi Perfecti's Washington State strains and, therefore, perhaps more suited to my garden. I also like that they have so many Shiitake strains with clearly described characteristics. Well, their oyster strains are interesting too, and they have Eryngii! 8) At any rate, I'll be poring over the catalog. :wink:

I'm going to try another batch of agar using my good Weck jars with glass lids (minus the rubber gasket). If these prove to be still problematical in terms of viewing/observing the growth therein, there's company in PA (mycosupply.com) that carries all kinds of mushroom growing supplies (not spawn). I may break down and see about getting some stuff. I need a scalpel for one, DH was NOT happy that I used our good sharp Global fruit knife -- knife point is blackened from sterilizing it in flame....

Oh, the bags of Oysters are starting to waft the wonderful anise scent so THOSE are doing well, and the Shiitakes are both showing good growth and giving off nice woodsy scent (but then again, still too early to tell -- crossing my fingers).

joshbuchan
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i am sorry... i cheated yes, i have bought mushroom grow kit with allready swawned manure and straw in the bottem and a caseing layer, it was only £3.49, i was wounder they be allright growing in a propergater? it ses dnt put in direct heat but its very cold out so i dnt know what to do. i have a a very good fermomiter so if u could maby tell me what heat they grow at i could find it out for myself, well anysways thanks.
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!potatoes!
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^ depends on what variety of mushroom the kit's to grow. more info, please

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