Growing Turkey Tail mushrooms can be both rewarding and therapeutic, given their medicinal properties. Here’s our comprehensive guide on how to cultivate Turkey Tail mushrooms:
Equipment and Materials:
You will need a mushroom spore syringe, a sterilized growing bag (preferably with boosted sawdust as the substrate since Turkey Tail mushrooms grow best on sawdust), and possibly a grow kit for beginners12.
Here’s an expanded look at what you’ll need:
- Mushroom Spore Syringe: This contains the spores of the Turkey Tail mushrooms and is used for inoculation.
- Sterilized Grow Bag with Substrate: The substrate is the growing medium for the mushrooms. Turkey Tail mushrooms prefer a substrate of hardwood sawdust over grains or rye berry often found in other mushroom grow bags.
- Turkey Tail Mushroom Kit: For beginners, a grow kit provides pre-inoculated substrate blocks, making the process more straightforward.
- Hardwood Logs: If you choose to grow on logs, you’ll need fresh hardwood logs for inoculation with plug spawn.
- Spray Bottle: Essential for maintaining humidity by misting the growing environment and substrate.
- Mushroom Spawn or Plug Spawn: The spawn contains the mycelium that will colonize the substrate and eventually produce mushrooms.
- Tools for Inoculation and Harvesting: This includes items like a sterile syringe needle, scalpel for making incisions in bags or logs, and scissors or a knife for harvesting.
- Hygrometer and Thermometer: These instruments will help you monitor the humidity and temperature of your growing area to maintain optimal conditions for mushroom growth.
With these items, you’ll be well-prepared to start growing Turkey Tail mushrooms, whether you’re using a grow bag or logs as your substrate.
The Growing Process
Inoculation, colonization, and fruiting are the critical stages in mushroom cultivation, and each requires specific steps and conditions:
- Process: Involves introducing mushroom spores into a substrate. For Turkey Tail mushrooms, you inject spores from a syringe into a grow bag filled with sterilized sawdust.
- Environment: Must be sterile to prevent contamination. The use of a laminar flow hood is recommended if available.
- Observation: This is when the mycelium begins to grow and spread throughout the substrate. It appears as a white, web-like structure.
- Conditions: Requires a dark environment with stable temperatures, usually around 60-70°F. The substrate should be kept moist, but not wet, to prevent mold.
- Duration: Typically takes 2-3 weeks, but this can vary based on environmental conditions and the vigor of the mycelium.
- Indication: Full colonization is marked by the mycelium completely encompassing the substrate.
- Transition: To initiate fruiting, you introduce changes such as light and fresh air. Moving the bag to a location with indirect light and cutting slits in the bag for air exchange prompts the mycelium to produce fruit bodies.
- Monitoring: It’s essential to watch for proper mushroom development and any signs of contamination during this stage.
Throughout these stages, cleanliness and environmental control are paramount. Any signs of contamination, such as discolored or off-smelling growths, should lead to immediate disposal of the affected substrate to prevent the spread of contaminants.
Alternative Methods and Conditions:
Apart from using a grow bag, you can grow Turkey Tail mushrooms using a kit or on hardwood logs using plug spawn. In the case of logs, you’ll insert plug spawns into drilled holes and seal them with wax2.
To ensure success, keep the following conditions in mind:
- Temperature: Maintain a range of 55°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C)2.
- Humidity: Aim for around 80% relative humidity, using a spray bottle to mist the growing area2.
- Light: Provide indirect light, such as from a window with filtered natural light2.
By adhering to these detailed steps and conditions, you can successfully grow Turkey Tail mushrooms at home.