CONDITIONS FOR MUSHROOM GROWTH
Mushrooms are a type of fungus that grows by feeding off of decaying tree bark or other materials. Unlike plants, mushrooms do not contain chlorophyll and do not require sunlight to grow. Whether mushrooms grow indoors or in the wild, they have certain light, water, heat and growing-medium requirements to thrive and produce their fruit. Some mushroom varieties are safe for human consumption, while others are not. Commercially grown mushrooms are a safe choice for those who do not know how to identify edible mushrooms in the wild. Let us discuss some conditions necessary for the growth of mushrooms.
Since mushrooms do not contain chlorophyll they do not require light or photosynthesis to grow. While the environment needs to be as dark as possible to for mushrooms to spawn, some light does not harm their growth. Mushrooms do need a dim light to form fruit bodies, but only requires a few hours a day for successful fruiting. When growing indoors, indirect sunlight or a florescent lamp can suffice. Wild mushrooms often grow in shady, wooded areas where they receive filtered light.
• Water and Humidity
Mushrooms require moisture to produce their fruit; however, they have no skin, so moisture is easily lost. For this reason, mushrooms need an environment that has a high humidity to avoid water loss. Mushrooms breathe and exchange gases with the atmosphere, so it is possible to “drown” mushrooms. When growing mushrooms indoors the soil needs to be moist, not wet. Wild mushrooms growing outdoors disappear during dry weather, and may reappear when moisture levels and humidity improve.
• Growing Medium
Some mushrooms may grow on trees, decomposing leaves, dung, mulch, soil or compost, feeding off the dead or decaying matter in those substances. Commercially grown mushrooms are often grown in a combination of manure and straw. The growing medium for wild mushrooms may not be easily visible, such as a dead vegetation under the ground. Many wild mushrooms, like morels (Morchella) are found at the base of trees and among dead leaves on the forest floor.
Mushroom prefer a cool environment with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Wild mushrooms are less finicky when it comes to temperatures, as they can form mycelia, which are the threads of the fungus body, in temperatures that range from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The mushrooms form the fruit or visible parts when temperatures reach between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Commercially grown mushrooms prefer temperatures about 55 degrees and not much above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
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CONDITIONS FOR MUSHROOM GROWTH