Mushrooms are having a moment, and despite how many different types exist out there, the only kind you’re likely to find at grocery stores are baby bellas, portobellas, and maybe some shitakes if you’re lucky. And if you’re into psilocybin mushrooms, which are still federally illegally, then finding those is close to impossible if you don’t have a reliable connect. Luckily, they’re not hard to grow, and numerous companies are capitalizing on this fact by creating all-inclusive grow kits that contain everything you need to successfully grow your own flush.
One of the newer products to enter the market are mushroom grow bags, where all you need to do is inject your spores into the bag and wait for the magic to happen. How do they work? And are they a good option for your mushroom growing adventures?
Benefits of mushroom use
Be it edible mushrooms, medicinal mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, there are thousands of strains out there that offer numerous different medical benefits to the people who use them. And with over 14,000 different varieties on this earth, this should come as no surprise.
When it comes to edible mushrooms, they are widely regarded as superfoods because they taste great, add richness and can elevate most meals, and are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. If you’re looking for one type of food to add to your diet that could really make a difference in your overall health, fungus is truly where you get the most bang for your buck.
They’re a low-calorie source of fiber, protein, potassium, and antioxidants, known to have the ability to mitigate (or completely heal in some instances) many serious health conditions. The list of ailments that can benefit from mushroom consumption is vast but includes: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, inflammation, cancer, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure.
Not only can fungi help treat existing conditions, but they can make you healthier overall. The anti-inflammatory effect of fungi is proven to greatly improve immune function and efficiency. Experts believe their powerful anti-inflammatory effects are the reason for this. Numerous studies have found that mushrooms help stimulate macrophages in the immune system, amplifying their ability to fight disease.
Another interesting feature of mushrooms, one that was only recently discovered, and by accident to boot, is that they can produce antibiotic compounds to fight a huge range of bacteria. If exposed to certain bacterium, mushrooms will create metabolites to kill that pathogen. This discovery could be pivotal in changing the way we treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
Psilocybin mushrooms also have some powerful therapeutic benefits, and have already been decriminalized in a few locations around the world as researchers dive into their potential to treat numerous disorders. Areas of interest include conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and substance addiction. Their consumption actually dates back thousands of years and historically, they’ve been used to aid in religious ceremonies and are still considered a gateway to some very profound spiritual experiences.
At-home mushroom cultivation
An increasing number of people are growing fungi at home, and it’s easier than ever these days with companies that cater to newbies and beginners. These companies are creating all-in-one-grow kits, spray-and-grow boxes with edible mushroom spawn, grow bags, kits for growing mushrooms on pieces of wood, and bags of inoculated sawdust to sprinkle into pots. It short, it’s a beautiful time to pick up mushroom growing as a hobby.
“People are starting to wake up to the breadth of the diversity that exists in the world of mushrooms,” said Matt McInnis is the co-founder of North Spore, a Portland, Maine-based operation that sells kits, spawn, and accessories. “And we’re demystifying the experience of growing them.”
Mushroom cultivation can be accomplished with just a few different tools and basic instructions. Not only is it easy, but it’s also very fun and rewarding to watch the colonization happening from day-to-day. And then you start to see little fruiting bodies and those seem to grow by the hour. It just feels like this really exciting thing.
And unlike other gardening ventures, even people who live in urban settings, who might not have access to an outdoor space, can grow mushrooms at home since it’s all done in compact tubs, bags, and boxes. You can set up a small counter space in your home and grow different types of mushrooms year-round.
Mushroom grow kits
To keep things simple, a growing number of companies are offering all-in-one mushroom grow kits (or spore-starter kits), so all you need to buy is the kit, some spore syringes, and a couple of assorted extras. Using one of these kits is how I was easily able to grow my first flush in the comfort of my own bedroom.
Since most of these kits come with the required supplies, plus some form of instructions, the only additional thing you need to keep in mind is sanitation, which is incredibly important when growing fungi. Modern mushroom grow kits are designed to be relatively error-proof, all you do is clean the area, inject your spores into the sterilized grain, then once the grain bag is fully colonized with mycelium, you mix the grain with the soil, and let the fungus do its thing. So really, one of the only ways to mess it up is by accidentally contaminating your grow space.
Many of them come in tubs or containers, and will include some sterilized grain, a bag of soil, and little random extras like gloves and masks, alcohol wipes (although you should buy extra), vent covers, clips, and stuff like that. You generally have to buy your own spores, especially if you plan on growing psychedelic mushrooms.
All-in-one, mushroom grow bags that don’t require anything but inoculation are growing in popularity because of how easy they are to use. They also take very little space, which can be a good or bad thing because, yes, you can set them up pretty much anywhere, but your flush will be pretty small. I imagine only a few uses for one person, two, maybe three trips if you’re splitting them with someone. If you want to grow enough to stockpile, or at least to make the drying process worthwhile, you might be better off growing in a decent sized tub.
A lot of companies are selling them. They might work well, but unfortunately, they didn’t for me. One of the bags didn’t do anything at all, and the other developed mold but no mycelium, but there could be several different factors contributing to this. Since I tried two kits from different companies, with spore syringes from the same company, it’s possible that the spores were no longer viable, rather than a problem with the kit itself.
However, I did run into a situation that made me realize why I wouldn’t want to use the grow bags on a regular basis – mold. I’ve talked about mold and mushrooms before, because my previous grow developed some mold. However, I was able to save the flush by using a bit of bleach on the mold spot, which stopped it from growing and infected the rest of the box.
Again, one of my grow bags developed mold as well, and I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it because the bag is completely sealed, with only a small vent at the top to open when the fruiting bodies start to sprout. If you can’t access the product you’re growing, there is no way to troubleshoot any problems that arise.
Even though I didn’t have a great experience with my first round of mushroom grow bags, that doesn’t mean it should stop you from trying them out. I actually plan on trying them again myself, but with spore syringes from a company I’ve had success with before. If you have used them before, drop us a line in comment section below and let us know how it worked out.
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