MUSHROOMS

Mushroom Spawn Handling

(A). Maintenance of spawn quality. Mushroom spawn, whether prepared as a family home project or on industrial scale using modern equipment, should be in excellent condition when delivered to growers. Spawn of most mushrooms  can be refrigerated, but it should be warmed to normal room temperature before it is used as an inoculum or as planting spawn. Vigorous growth of the planting spawn is a prerequisite to good growth and yield. If the spawn is not vigorous, the mushroom mycelium will be overgrown by competitor organisms. If it is vigorous it will overcome many of the competitive organisms and produce more mushrooms. When purchasing spawn, ask the spawn maker how long the spawn can be kept before planting. Old spawn is not acceptable because its vigour may  have decreased. Buyers or users should know the “expiration” date of the spawn.

(B). Spawn Quantities. The quantity of the spawn used does not directly affect yield. However, the use of more spawn may reduce the effect of competitive organisms present in the planting substrates. The greater the amount of spawn used, the faster it will colonise the substrate. As a result, the growth of competitors is hindered, and yield will be regular and not affected by this competition. 2-4% of spawn is suggested to be inoculated into the spawning substrate. Once the container is opened, spawn should be used in its entirety. Unused and opened bottles or bags of spawn, however, can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 days as long as they are not contaminated (i.e., no unwanted fungi are growing on the surface) during storage.

(C). Notes on commercial spawn supplies. When growing mushrooms on a small scale, it is not necessary to prepare your own spawn. Commercial suppliers of spawn who provide material to small growers are usually available. Spawn should be ordered ahead of time so that it will be of the right age. Contaminated, old or no-growth spawn should never be sold to growers. Spawn makers should maintain a testing facility where they can test each batch of spawn for production characteristics. Sales personnel should visit growers using their spawn so that they can observe problems at first hand. Problems related to spawn production must be corrected quickly.

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