Growing supplies to get you started on your own circular economy

Starting from the ground up, getting your foundation right is fundamental to the successful growth of your mushroom colony.

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Substrate is organic matter that serves as food for the spawn. In nature, mushrooms grow naturally in soil, manure, decaying leaves, and downed tress. Substrate can be made from any organic materials containing carbohydrate and nitrogen. Typical substrate materials include cardboard, coffee grounds, wood chips, straw, and compost. Although at Circular Farm, we use organic soybean hulls and sawdust which is a byproduct of the logging industry.

Spawn is usually sawdust with mushroom mycelium mixed in. Mushroom mycelium is mushroom spore that has started to root. Although it is possible to start with spore, it is tricky and best left to the professionals, so buying spawn from a home gardening supply store or using spawn in a mushroom growing kit is a better option for beginners. A version called plug spawn is specifically designed for use with newly fallen hardwood. All spawn should be used within a short period of time or refrigerated until use.