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Amateur Mushroom Enthusiasts

This page is dedicated to amateur mushroom enthusiasts already familiar with mushroom growing but wanting to take their mushroom adventure further and optimize what they know and want to learn some more. I believe that mycology is addicting. When you drive on a straight road and see a straw pile on the side of the road then you realize how addicted you are to this -you start to think that mycelium took over your brain and spreads everywhere..
Every grower has its own way of growing mushrooms which is adapted to what he or she thinks is best and so there isn't a standard grow method that applies to everyone. With that said, it's important to find your own way, implement what you learn, explore, take notes and get more experience in time. At this stage, probably you would want to find out ways of learning different mushroom grow methods and use which one is best for the mushroom types you already grew or explore for great strains and of course thinking to try growing some other mushroom types.
This is when you want to know more about mushroom growing and explore methods on how to grow the Level #3 mushrooms. By now you realized that the Level 3 mushrooms are grown successfully only with equipment. I personally believe that these mushrooms may be grown without any equipment if you know how. Most farms in Asia grow some of these without autoclaves for centuries. Probably they don't get the highest yields but it's still doable.
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Black Poplar (Agrocybe aegerita)
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
Shimenji (Hypsizygus sp.)
Ear Mushroom (Auricularia auricula)
Enoki (Flammulina velutipes)
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Turkey Tail(Trametes versicolor)
Nameko (Pholiota nameko)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
The above have different requirements and it's a satisfying adventure to try growing these different mushroom types -each one of them unique in what regards shape, color, texture or taste. Some of these are sold in the markets as gourmet or medicine. Once you know how to grow these you're good to try some of the Level #4 mushrooms.
I've noticed many amateur growers at this stage being also interested in making mushroom spawn which I believe it's fair to explore. Btw 70% of the growers out there make their own spawn, so this remains another challenge which is more likely to happen sooner or later in your mushroom adventure. So, why do these farms make their own and not buy it? Well, i guess they all want to cut costs (mainly spawn cost plus shipping). Most startup mushroom farmers purchase their spawn which I highly recommend. I also recommend farmers to purchase their spawn if they don't have time or don't want to get into the spawn making challenges -let the experts do what they know best. However, if you're a farmer on a low budget and already have an autoclave because you grow Level 3 mushrooms or want to explore this side of the industry then, go for it. The good news is that with proper guidance even a 15 year old can do it. Besides, you need to invest in this as much as you like. You may start with low-tech equipment which requires only few hundreds $. It all gets to quality spawn which you can get through low tech or high tech. Spawn making is not for everyone but for those with skills required to get that quality final product. Spawn making seems to be easy, but there are some hidden aspects that only experienced people are able to cover. To keep a high standard quality when you produce spawn is the most important task which in many cases cannot be achieved without proper training.
At this point many mushroom enthusiasts want to make a living out of growing mushrooms. There are plenty of positive examples out there which clearly show that growing mushrooms for profit has a huge potential. You can go for what's on the market already or you may start a new trend throwing out there something unbelievable -you pick. Taste, texture and shelf-life are very important but also the look. Oyster mushrooms and shiitake are leaders among specialty mushrooms but there are some other ones like: beech & black poplar mushrooms, enoki, maitake or nameko which people out there know about.So what should you grow first? what's easier for you or what has the highest demand? I think you need to keep a balance in between these two. Yield/block is what could lift you higher or drag you down. Every mushroom block has a maximum potential and if not squeezed well you loose time, effort and funds. In such a case the cost could get higher than what you've expected that's why you need to know how to. Make sure you get to that info before you even start your business.