Mycelia are the growing parts of a mushroom fruit. The mycelia resemble white hairs that extend into the growing medium. From these small hairs sprout the fruits of the mushroom which are then harvested. It is the mycelium that absorbs the nutrients needed to produce a mushroom for harvest. Lack of nutrients or errant bacterial growth can inhibit the growth of the mycelium. Many times the growth of mycelium is based upon how well the material for the growing medium is prepared. If mycelia are disturbed, they may become infected and die.
Things You'll Need
- Sterile growing medium (straw, logs, chips, etc.)
- Agar agar
- Shade cloth
- Bug traps
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Ensure that the medium in which the mushroom is being grown is sterile. Some varieties of mushrooms require that the growth medium is steamed to kill off any bacterial growth. The straw or log chip material is placed in large steamers to sterilize the material and kill bacteria. Bacteria are the common enemy to mushroom growing and successful harvesting.
Use only fresh agar agar to start the mycelium in this type of growing medium. Agar agar is a plant derivative, that once water is added acts like gelatin. This plant gelatin is used to propagate the mycelium from small mushroom starts.
Plan the correct location for the mushrooms. Each variety may have its own environmental needs. Some varieties need full shade and extremely moist conditions in which the mycelium can thrive. Install shade cloth for sunny areas. Sprinklers can be used for watering the growing beds of mycelium.
Keep all wildlife and some insects away from the growing area. Fruiting mushrooms can attract all types of predators, including birds, squirrels, deer, as well as ants and termites. Rooting animals can disturb the delicate structure of the mycelium and deter growth. Put up a fence to keep the animals out. Install bug traps to capture invading insects.