In the wild, different species of mushroom grow on different materials. During your hike in the forest, you may see some mushrooms growing on trees while others grow on decomposing leaves. Mushrooms are very adaptable; many species can grow on a variety of different materials. Others must have more precise conditions to grow. Luckily, R&R Cultivation’s urban farm in New Hope, MN is outfitted to mimic these conditions and encourage the growth of our gourmet, organic mushrooms.
Climates and Conditions
Mushrooms grow in a wide range of temperatures, from 40 to 90 degrees fahrenheit. They may begin growing in spring when temperatures are colder, but they thrive in a climate where temperatures hover around 70 degrees. Moisture is also important for mushroom growth. Because mushrooms have no skin, it is difficult for them to retain moisture. This means they must grow in a moist environment to prevent the fruiting bodies from drying out.
For optimal growth, mushrooms require the right amount of light and the right temperatures. Most mushrooms prefer shade or dark places, which is why you’ll often find them on forest floors. However, some mushrooms can grow in part to full sun, such as those you may find growing on manure in a field. Mushrooms are more likely to adapt to less ideal conditions if they have a quality substrate to grow on.
Mushroom Substrate: Fueling Growth
Since fungi do not produce chlorophyll, they cannot produce their own food. This is why they rely so heavily on the nutrients found in the materials surrounding them.
Mushrooms grow on many different kinds of substrate (the organic material they call home). Wood-loving mushrooms are most likely to be seen protruding from the fallen tree or stump. These mushrooms include species such as chicken-of-the-woods, chaga, and oyster mushrooms.
Other mushrooms prefer to grow on the forest floor where they can take advantage of all of the decomposing organic matter. These mushrooms are more likely to be cap and stem varieties such as morel mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms. The common button mushroom also grows well in soil that is rich in nutrients.
On a Mushroom Farm
The great advantage to growing mushrooms on an urban farm is that we are able to grow them in a substrate that provides all the support they need. This leads to more reliable mushroom growth and keeps things tidy. We’re able to maximize our yields by storing the substrate in climate-controlled rooms while the mushrooms grow.
At R&R Cultivation, we grow most of our mushrooms on hardwood substrate. We inoculate this substrate with mycelium, which colonizes the wood and produces the fruiting bodies known as mushrooms. Using this method in optimal conditions, R&R Cultivation is able to grow your favorite varieties much more quickly and efficiently than in the fluctuating conditions of the forest.