The Best Methods for Growing Medicinal Mushrooms

Want to learn how to grow medicinal mushrooms? Dive into these 15 methods and cultivate your own medicinal mushrooms with ease!

Are you a business owner interested in learning how to grow medicinal mushrooms for therapeutic purposes? The benefits of medicinal fungi have gained significant attention recently and include the ability to improve your immune system, reduce inflammation, and even improve sleep quality.

If you’re thinking, “Wow, those are all great benefits to pass on to my customers,” then you’d be right. However, the proper mushroom farming techniques can ensure you know how to harness their full potential, whether you’re an established therapeutic entrepreneur or just browsing your options as you think of products to add to your existing inventory.

This guide will walk you through the essential methods for cultivating these powerful fungi, from basic techniques to advanced commercial practices. By the end, you’ll be well on your way to launching your new product line (and if you’re not…we’ve got plenty of other helpful tips for you).

how to grow medicinal mushrooms.

1. Using Spore Syringes

Spore syringes contain spores suspended in a sterile solution, making them a convenient option for medicinal fungi growing.

To use spore syringes, inject the spore solution into a sterilized substrate like grain or sawdust. Ensure the environment is sterile to avoid contamination. The spores will germinate and develop into mycelium (the root-like part of fungi), which will eventually produce mushrooms.

The best part? This method is beginner-friendly and allows for easy storage and transport of spores. However, for successful cultivation, you’ll still need to regularly monitor and maintain optimal conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.).

2. Grow from Grain Spawn

Grain spawn involves injecting sterilized grains (like rye or wheat) with mushroom spores or mycelium. This method is great if your goal is rapid and robust mycelium growth, as the nutrients in the grains promote just that.

To start, inject the grain with spores or a liquid culture in a sterile environment. Once fully colonized, transfer the grain spawn to a larger substrate like straw, sawdust, or compost.

An insider tip? Due to its nutrient-rich base, grain spawn is ideal for scaling up production and ensures a higher success rate.

3. Use Mushroom Kits

Don’t have the time for totally DIY home mushroom farming? Mushroom kits are pre-prepared and often come with everything needed to grow mushrooms at home.

These kits typically include a substrate already inoculated with mycelium, requiring only water and suitable growing conditions. Follow the kit’s instructions, keeping it in a dark, humid environment until mushrooms begin to fruit.

While kits are perfect for beginners and those wanting a hassle-free introduction to mushroom cultivation, they may offer limited yields compared to more advanced methods. So, keep that in mind as you read through the rest of his mushroom cultivation guide to choose your preferred method.

Close-up of mushrooms on mushroom culture medium

4. Cultivate on Logs and Stumps

Outdoor cultivation on logs and stumps is a traditional, natural method suitable for species like Shiitake and Reishi.

For natural mushroom growth, select fresh hardwood logs, drill holes, and fill them with spawn plugs or sawdust spawn. Seal the holes with wax to retain moisture and prevent contamination. Place the logs in a shaded, humid area and keep them moist.

This method mimics the mushrooms’ natural habitat and can yield harvests for several years once established, making it an interesting mushroom growth method for those in it for the long haul.

Oyster Mushrooms Growing

5. Indoor Bag Cultivation

Growing mushrooms in bags? Yes, it’s possible and offers control over growing conditions, reducing the risk of contamination and ensuring consistent yields.

This method involves filling sterilized plastic bags with a pasteurized substrate (e.g., straw, sawdust) and injecting them with grain spawn. Seal the bags and incubate them in a controlled environment. Once the mycelium fully colonizes the substrate, cut holes in the bags to allow mushrooms to fruit.

6. Sterilized Substrate Techniques

Sterilizing substrates is essential to prevent contamination by competing microorganisms. This makes it a crucial part of learning how to grow medicinal mushrooms to ensure they’re not only quality but actually usable.

Common sterilization methods include:

  • Pressure cooking
  • Steaming
  • Using chemical sterilants

Our top tip for this method is to use substrates like sawdust, straw, or grain. Sterilize the substrate thoroughly, then inoculate with spawn in an equally sterile environment.

Why such an emphasis on sterilization? Maintaining sterility during the initial stages is important for the success of mushroom cultivation, as it allows the mycelium to colonize without competition.

7. Use Pasturized Straw

Pasteurized straw is a popular substrate for growing some of the most potent mushrooms, such as Oyster and Lion’s Mane.

To kill pathogens while retaining beneficial microbes, the straw is pasteurized by soaking it in hot water (160-170°F) for an hour. The straw is then drained and cooled, then mixed with grain spawn in a clean environment.

You’ll then pack the mixture into containers or bags, ensuring the right temperature and humidity for mycelium growth. This method is cost-effective and suitable for large-scale production, making it an ideal medicinal fungi growth option for scaling businesses launching large product lines.

8. Create a Mushroom Fruiting Chamber

A fruiting chamber provides the ideal environment for mushrooms to, well, fruit.

Construct a simple chamber using a plastic bin or shelving unit, and equip it with a humidifier, light source, and ventilation. Maintain high humidity (85-95%), moderate temperatures (60-75°F), and indirect lighting. Place colonized substrates inside and monitor conditions closely, and voila!

Don’t sleep on this tip, as a dedicated chamber helps manage environmental variables, ensuring consistent and rather abundant mushroom harvests.

9. Hydroponic Mushroom Growing

Hydroponic techniques can also be adapted for mushroom cultivation, offering you precise control over nutrient solutions and growing conditions (both important factors if you’re growing mushrooms not just for their fungal health benefits but to sell them as part of your business, too).

Set up a hydroponic system using trays filled with soilless substances like coconut coir or perlite. Then, inject that substance with liquid culture or grain spawn and provide a nutrient-rich solution. Maintain proper humidity, temperature, and airflow, and watch your mushrooms thrive!

Hydroponic growing is an excellent method if you’re concerned about efficient resource use. It can also result in faster growth rates and higher yields.

Mushroom Farm

10. Grow with Mycelium Blocks

Mycelium blocks are pre-colonized substrates primed and ready for fruiting.

You can purchase or create your own blocks by injecting mycelium into a nutrient-rich substrate (e.g., sawdust, or straw). Once fully colonized, expose the blocks to fruiting conditions (namely, humidity and the right amount of light).

This ultimately simplifies the cultivation process and helps you drastically reduce the risk of contamination (again, something you should consider if you’re growing mushrooms as part of a business product that will ultimately be checked, regulated, and monitored).

Don’t worry if this sounds complicated, though. They’re ideal for both beginners and experienced growers looking for reliable results.

11. Monotub Method

The monotub method involves creating a self-contained growing environment using a plastic tub. And luckily for you, it’s about as simple as it sounds.

Line the tub with a substrate (e.g., coconut coir, vermiculite) and inoculate with grain spawn. Drill small holes for ventilation and cover with micropore tape. Keep the tub in a warm, dark place until the mycelium fully colonizes the substrate. Finally, introduce light and increase humidity to trigger fruiting.

When should you use this natural mushroom growth versus the others on this list? You can use it in tandem with the other tips, honestly. However, it’s best for bulk growing and minimizes contamination risks, as the mushrooms grown inside each tub won’t contaminate other types or species of mushrooms you grow in separate monotubs.

12. Grow on Sawdust Blocks

Sawdust blocks are a versatile and nutrient-rich substrate ideal for growing many types of medicinal mushrooms, such as Shiitake and Maitake.

Mix sawdust with a supplement like bran or gypsum to prepare sawdust blocks, increasing the nutrient content. Moisten the mixture until it has the consistency of a damp sponge. Sterilize the sawdust mix using a pressure cooker or autoclave to eliminate potential contaminants.

Once cooled, inoculate the sterilized sawdust with grain spawn or mycelium in a sterile environment to prevent contamination.

Next, you’ll pack the inoculated sawdust into plastic bags or containers, compressing it really well to eliminate air pockets. Seal the bags and create small holes to allow for gas exchange. Incubate the blocks in a dark, warm area (around 70-75°F) until the mycelium fully colonizes the sawdust (which usually takes a few weeks).

Once colonization is complete, move the sawdust blocks to fruiting conditions with high humidity (85-95%), moderate temperatures, and indirect light. Cut openings in the bags or containers to allow mushrooms to emerge. That’s it!

This method is particularly effective for mushrooms that thrive on woody substrates and can yield substantial harvests. Regardless, sawdust blocks provide a stable and supportive environment for mycelium, resulting in robust growth and high yields.

13. Liquid Culture Techniques

Liquid culture involves growing mycelium in a nutrient-rich liquid medium, which can then be used to inoculate various substrates.

Combine water with a nutrient source like honey or malt extract to create a liquid culture. Sterilize the mixture in a jar and inoculate it with a small piece of live mycelium or spores. Store the culture in a dark, warm place and shake it periodically to encourage even growth.

Once the mycelium has fully colonized the liquid, transfer it to your substrate using a sterile syringe.

Because the substance is liquid, rapid colonization will occur, making this method ideal for large-scale operations and frequent inoculations. Liquid cultures are also easy to store and transport.

14. Use Coffee Grounds

Don’t throw away your coffee grounds after your morning French press!

Instead, use them to grow medicinal mushrooms. It’s an eco-friendly and cost-effective method, which reflects well on your brand. This method is especially useful for urban growers with limited space and resources.

Why coffee grounds, though? They’re rich in nutrients that support mushroom growth, and they are readily available from local cafes or your own kitchen.

To begin, collect coffee grounds and, if necessary, pasteurize them by heating them to kill harmful bacteria or mold. Mix the grounds with a supplementary substrate like sawdust or straw to balance moisture and nutrients. Inoculate the mixture with mushroom spawn and pack it into containers or bags.

15. Wild Mushroom Foraging and Cultivation

Finally, let’s talk about foraging.

Foraging wild mushrooms can be both rewarding and educational, but it requires knowledge and caution to avoid poisonous species.

Before foraging, identify safe and legal areas and familiarize yourself with the local mushroom species. Use a field guide or app to help distinguish between edible and toxic mushrooms. When harvesting, use a knife to cut the mushrooms at the base, leaving the mycelium intact to promote regrowth.

To cultivate wild mushrooms you find, collect spore prints by placing the cap gill-side down on a piece of paper and covering it with a bowl. After 24 hours, spores will be deposited on the paper, which can be used to inoculate substrates.

Alternatively, you can transfer a piece of mycelium from a wild mushroom to a sterilized substrate. Regardless of which you choose, always follow legal and ethical practices to ensure the sustainability and conservation of wild mushroom populations.

Learn More About How to Grow Medicinal Mushrooms

We told you that if you didn’t fully understand how to grow medicinal mushrooms by the end of this article, we’d have other helpful tips, didn’t we? Well, we’re here to deliver!

At Kyckstarts, we are dedicated to helping businesses in the therapeutic mushroom-based product industry. Our resource library is filled with expert articles offering valuable tips and insights on growing medicinal mushrooms.

From advanced cultivation techniques to optimizing yields and navigating market trends, our content is designed to empower your business. Explore in-depth guides, success stories, and innovative strategies tailored to help you achieve retail dominance and unparalleled product launches.

Need Help Selling Your Mushrooms?

Learning how to grow medicinal mushrooms is only the first step. Next, you’ll need to learn how to package and market your product to customers effectively.

Luckily, you don’t have to do it all alone. We’re experts in planning, strategizing, and executing your product launch.

Learn more about our product launch services and how we can help you create a successful go-to-market strategy.