Mushrooms can be grown from tissue cultures and spores or spore prints. A tissue culture allows a grower to produce exactly the same type of mushroom, while spore prints allow experienced gardeners to experiment with new strains. Each spore print produces mushrooms that are of the same species, but good strains of that species can be isolated from a print. Growing mushrooms from spore prints requires some experience and practice with cultivating mushrooms.
Follow all directions that come with the spore print to ensure a greater likelihood of success. Spore prints and conditions are often species specific. Prepare the MEA (malt extract agar) for the spores you are growing.
Place sodium chloride and the MEA in a beaker or test tube and cover the mixture loosely with cling film when it is not in use.
Add some of the sodium and MEA to a petri dish for growing the mushrooms. Smear a thin, even layer of the sodium and MEA on the petri dish to create a place for spores to sprout.
Dip the inoculating loop in the beaker of sodium chloride and MEA and spread a small amount of the mixture over the spores. Repeat this until the spores are covered with the mixture.
Use the inoculating loop to transfer spores to the petri dish. Use as many petri dishes as needed to house all of the spores, which will vary based on the print. Spread the spores on the petri dish evenly.
Cover the petri dish and allow the spores to germinate in the proper light conditions and temperature for the species you are growing.
- Continue growing the spores in petri dishes until the samples are large enough to transfer them to jars filled with the proper growing material for the species.
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