Indoor Project - spored onto pasturized substrate

The mushrooms were purchased from Vernon Family Farm. We ran into Jeremiah at the Portsmouth Farmer's Market, and he was incredibly helpful and informative. Definitely check them out!! I used their Shiitake and Oysters to spore. They source from innoculated blocks, but I want to be as "from scratch" as possible. I sterilized a plastic set of drawers set up in the back bedroom with rubbing alcohol, spored the mushrooms overnight and set them on pasturized hay and coffee grinds as substrate. I hope contaminants are under control...

I only needed a couple caps to spore for the project, but I bought 1.5 lbs to sautee into deliciousness.

The substrate is a mixture of spent coffee grinds and hay that needed to be pasturized at 165 degrees for an hour.

This is just a plastic bin with drawers, sterilized with alcohol.

I mostly spored the Oysters because they are the most prolific, or at least the most adaptive to grow on hay/coffee grinds. (Hopefully.) I spored one Shiitake, but I forgot which one that was.

Outdoor Cultivation Kit

Shitake spore plug kit - May 2018. I have two Maple logs about 8"x3' cut this spring. I need to drill the holes and hammer in the plugs - then wait... These are outdoor cultivation kits and will take a year to produce anything. This is the totum method. Also optional, is to use a freshly cut tree stump, which I lack as a resource at the moment.
Link:North Spore Mushroom Co.

The holes are drilled, plugs hammered in and sealed with wax. Now, we wait.


The kit was started on January 12th, 2017

Progress!!! Seven days later... January 19th, 2017

Click images to enlarge. 1/19/17

Close-up. January 19th, 2017

The very next day... January 20th, 2017







FROM SCRATCH - Spent coffee grinds as substrate

Oyster Mushrooms on spent coffee grounds: reference link

This process needs to be very clean to discourage funky mold growths. Within the first week I had some weird stuff in my coffee grinds collection bucket. I am keeping my freshly collected coffee grinds in the freezer now, while I figure out how to collect the spores.

Collecting Spores:

A Spore Print provides characteristic color, shape, texture and pattern of the released spores to identify mushrooms. The spore print technique can also be used to collect spores for propagation. reference link

To collect spores, you’ll need a piece of white paper, a piece of black paper, and a glass container that can be inverted over the mushroom. (The purpose of two colors of paper is because sometimes spores are light colored and sometimes dark. Using both will enable you to see the spores regardless of their shade.)

Remove the stem from the mushroom of your choice and upend it, placing the cap spore side down onto the two pieces of paper with one half on white and one half on black. Cover the mushroom with the glass container to prevent it from drying out. Leave the fungus covered overnight and by the next day, the spores will have dropped from the cap onto the paper.

Carefully spread the spores over a prepared container of [soil with decomposing manure or compost] - ***Coffee grinds in my case... The length of time for emergence varies depending upon the type of mushroom and environmental conditions. Remember, fungi like moist and warm conditions with a day/night cycle.

*** I intend to collect spores from the prefab kit, when they start to grow. Otherwise, I need to wait until I manage to happen across a farmer's market to get access to fresh, locally grown mushrooms.

Collecting Spores from the "Back To The Roots" Mushroom Kit!

Images 2017

Images 2017

Images 2017

Images 2017

Spore Print!!! 2017

Spore Print!!! 2017

Spore Print!!! 2017

Spore Print!!! 2017

The spore print was almost invisible when I retrieved it from the fridge. It was on foil and kind of crusted to the foil. I had a hard time seeing any actual spore transfer, and I was hesitant to leave foil in the wet coffee grounds to propagate the grounds for Mycelium growth. What I did do, though, was take a bit of mushroom and place it directly into the coffee grinds container. This is the resulting Mycelium development after about two weeks. Also, worth noting is that I did sterilize the grounds and boiled off the weird mold contamination that was starting to develop before inoculation. I also used rubbing alcohol to treat the container's inner surface.

Beginning Mycelium Growth!!! February 2017

Beginning Mycelium Growth!!! February 2017

Beginning Mycelium Growth!!! February 2017

Beginning Mycelium Growth!!! February 2017

An expert in mushroom cultivation has informed me, that these images show a ton of contamination. So sad!!
I need to look into the process of pasturization to clean my coffee grounds...

Once harvested, many spore varieties remain viable for months or even years.

  • Link: info Guide
  • Remove the cap from your mushroom gently, cutting the stem off if necessary so that no portion of the stem extends down from the cap. Do not shake or crush the cap while removing the stem, as this can cause you to lose spores.
  • Lay the cap on a white piece of paper or index card with the gills or pores on the bottom of the cap facing down. If collecting spores from a large mushroom cap, you may cut the cap into sections, placing only one section on the paper; use multiple pieces of paper to collect spores from multiple sections if desired.
  • Place a drop of water on top of the mushroom cap to encourage the release of spores. Carefully cover the cap or cap section with a cup, bowl or other container so that a breeze or other air movement doesn't disturb the cap while it releases spores; make sure that the container is large enough that it doesn't make contact with the cap.
  • Leave the cap undisturbed for up to 24 hours while the spores release. Some mushrooms release their spores within a few hours, but it is best to allow a longer time to ensure that most, if not all of the spores are released.
  • Remove the container covering the cap once the 24-hour waiting time passes. Placing one hand on the paper to hold it steady, carefully lift the mushroom cap to reveal the spore print underneath. If the paper wasn't disturbed during the waiting period, the spore print will likely reflect the gill or pore pattern on the bottom of the mushroom cap.
  • Dispose of the mushroom cap and place the spore print in an area where it will not be heavily disturbed. Spores can be removed from it for growing at any time by carefully scraping them off of the paper using a knife or other tool. Be careful to only use gentle pressure when scraping off spores, as any significant impact to the paper could cause most, if not all of the spores to release.

Different mushroom strains require different materials to begin growing. Some strains grow readily in grain-based substrates, while others require wood or high levels of organic material. Research the specific mushrooms you are attempting to grow to find out what the optimal growth medium is and how difficult it is to establish new fungal growth.

Keep spore prints in a dry location. Exposing them to too much moisture can damage the spores or encourage harmful bacterial growth which can then be spread to any fungal growth that originates from the spores.

info Guide

Wait until your coffee grounds are cool enough that they are no longer steaming, but not quite cold and put one pot worth of grounds, including the filter, in a bag or jar. Nestle the stem butt (or a little sawdust spawn, or whatever spawn you are using) into the center of the coffee grounds. In about two days, the spawn will recover from the transfer and will have visible signs of growth, in the form of a white, fuzzy coating. From there, you can add more coffee grounds at the rate of about one pot a day. Again, the coffee grounds should still be warm, but not warm enough to burn your hand. You add coffee grounds as the mushroom grows. If you start to get too far ahead of the mushrooms, as evidenced by a lot of uncolonized grounds in your container, stop adding for a few days until the mycelium catches up. The mycelium should more or less colonize the grounds after they have been in there just a day or two. If it takes much more than that, contamination can become a problem.

Just keep the jar in a cool, dry location while it is growing. Once the jar is full and the mycelium has fully colonized it, as evidenced by the fact that it is all cottony-white and no longer smells like coffee, it can be used as spawn to transfer to another medium or it can be just fruited. To fruit it, give it another week or so to grow, and then open up the jar. Put it out in the light, but don’t put it in direct sun. Put a plastic bag over it as a tent, but punch a few holes in it for air flow. Then spray it a couple of times a day. Personally, I know a lot of people like to try to force the process, but I like to let the mushroom tell me when it is time. When, in the process of your daily airings, you see primordia, tiny baby mushrooms that look like pinheads, you will know it is time to fruit the mushrooms. You should get two or maybe three good fruitings out of a jar and maybe more out of a bucket.

Once the medium is done fruiting, you can still use it as spawn to start another kit. You can mix it with more coffee grounds, or just compost it again and start with another stem butt.

Drill holes with a drill and bit around the edge of the bucket to allow carbon dioxide produced during the growing process to escape. Use a small diameter bit, such as 1/4-inch, and space the holes 3 to 5 inches apart around the bucket. Drill the holes 1 to 2 inches above the soil line.

Cover the top of the bucket with clear plastic wrap. Punch 6 to 8 holes in the wrap with the drill bit. Place the bucket in a warm dark area and watch as the mushrooms grow.

Store collected coffee grounds in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready for use.

Remove the plastic wrap once the mushrooms appear and begin to grow.

Moisten the soil twice per day with water from the spray bottle.

prepare some kind of clean material to store the print on (fresh typing paper, index cards, wax paper, tin foil, glass slides, ect... ), then cut a mature mushroom cap off at the stem, as near the mushroom gills as possible.

Only use a clean scalpel or knife to prevent any contamination. Place the mushroom cap on the material with the mushroom gills pointed down. Cover the cap with a jar or place the printing material with the mushroom cap into a sterile container of some kind.

Let it site for 24 hours at room temperature with no air flow or humidity. Then remove the mushroom cap from the material and let the spores dry in a sterile container for another 24 hours. There is a variety of ways to store your mushroom spore prints but the most common and simple method is to put the print in a ziplock bag, sealed and let it sit in the fridge. You can even simply keep them in file folder or any location that is clean, dry, and average temperature.

Store the spores that fell from the mushroom’s gills: Fold the printed paper to lock in the spores. Slide the folded paper into a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator for storage.


Sprouts are easy to do at home:

  • Put about two or three tablespoons of any kind of dried sprouting seed into a jar.
  • Fill with water until the seeds are covered.
  • Affix cheesecloth over the opening of the jar - I use a mason jar with a ring, but a rubber band will do just as well.
  • Let your sprouting seeds soak overnight, then drain.
  • Once a day, rinse the seeds gently and drain as they sprout.
  • Leave them on the counter until they have developed, then place in the fridge until you are ready to eat them!.

Sprouts start: January 17th, 2017 - Step one, initial soaking

Sprout progress after daily rinse for two days! January 19th, 2017

Seven days later. 2017

This was a mixture of several seeds that included Brocolli and Alfalfa. 2017

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