Homegrown Chestnut Mushrooms


Chestnut Mushrooms, Pholiota Adiposa, are these beautiful, furry little mushrooms that we recently decided to grow here in our small home this spring. I have experience with spray and grow kits, and my partner and I tried the monotub method with Blue Oyster Mushrooms during the winter. But now with the confidence of a spring chicken, and a whole lot of prayers to the mushroom gods, we chose chestnuts as our next DIY.


As a disclosure, we have never once seen a chestnut mushroom until we grew them. We also have never even eaten one before. That is our motivation for growing gourmet mushrooms at home. To learn more about the natural world and to diversify our taste buds. This is all for the fun of it! Maybe one day we will have a farm but until then, our garden is good enough for us. Lastly, this worked for us, I have no idea if it will work for you but good luck!


I am going to describe the two types of growing we used thoroughly here so this will be long but as comprehensive as I can possibly make it.


My North Spore Affiliate Link is linked throughout this post but you can click here to buy your supplies and it’ll help fund me and my mushroom dreams!


Monotub Method


Supplies:


Sterilized Grain Jars

Sterilized Grain Jars

Chestnut Spore Syringe or Grain or Sawdust Spawn

Bulk Substrate

Plastic Tub

Micropore Tape

Black duct tape

Humidity Tent

Rubbing Alcohol to put in a Spray Bottle

Gloves

Mask

Water to put in a Spray Bottle

Lighter

Drill


There are two ways to do a monotub, I will detail both.*


Start to Finish Monotub Method:


*we learned this method from North Spore’s YouTube and from reading a lot on growing mushrooms indoors*


this is an interactive slideshow of the progress

  1. Grain Inoculation

  2. Deep clean your area.

  3. Put on a mask, gloves and spray and wipe down EVERYTHING in your work space with rubbing alcohol. We turned off the A/C unit and fans. We have done this inside and out on the patio. Regardless, you spray literally everything so there can be no chance of contamination.

  4. Work quick.

  5. With the needle still inside its protective cap, attach the syringe needle to the syringe

  6. Remove the cap from the syringe, burn the tip needle with the flame from the lighter until it glows red.

  7. The sterilized grain jars have an injection port. Push the needle through the port, push out the spore solution into the grain jar

  8. Put an equal amount of spore solution into each jar, so if you have three jars, put a third of the solution into each one. One syringe contains enough spores to inoculate ~4 jars.

  9. Store jars in a dark place to colonize the grains. This took 2-3 weeks for us for the jar to become fully white fluff. DON’T open the jar during this time.

  10. Substrate Inoculation

  11. Prepare your tub.

  12. Tape the bottom of the tub with black tape to block out light. This prevents the mushrooms from growing on the underside.

  13. Drill a few holes into the sides of the tub and cover the holes with micropore tape. This allows the shrooms to breathe.

  14. Aggressively spray the inside and outside of the tub and top with rubbing alcohol. This prevents contamination.

  15. Create a parfait.

  16. Spray your gloves, the outside of the substrate bag and the outside of the jars.

  17. Sprinkle a nice layer of substrate at the bottom of the tub

  18. Spray the substrate with water

  19. Sprinkle a nice layer of broken up colonized grain spawn

  20. Continue the layering until you run out of spawn

  21. The final layer should be the substrate

  22. Close the tub and allow colonization. This took about 2 weeks for us. DON’T open the tub during this time.

  23. Fruiting

  24. Kickstart

  25. Open the tub and it should be completely white and hydrophobic. This means it's fully colonized and there are some water droplets sitting on the top.

  26. We put a layer of coco coir on top. This isn’t necessary but we have found it to be nice for the mushies.

  27. Spray with water

  28. Conditions for fruiting

  29. We kept the tub in the humidity tent the entire time for a few reasons

  30. No smell, no spores, better home for them

  31. The humidity level is kept between 80-90% so they don’t dry out

  32. We have artificial lights lining the tub and they automatically turn on for 4 hours during the day.

  33. Spray the mushrooms once a day with water.

  34. 10 days after starting the Kickstart process, they fruited fully to harvest

  35. Harvest

  36. Once the mushrooms have grown up pretty, furry, orangey brown and big they are ready to harvest

  37. We harvested the mushroom once the caps started to flatten out

  38. Cut the mushrooms from the substrate, rinse & prepare for cooking or you can dry them for storage.

  39. What to do with the Tub

  40. It will continue to produce flushes for a few weeks if not months as long as you continue to nurture it.

  41. Once the tub is spent, you can compost it!


*Side notes:

  1. We wore a mask during the inoculation period to not inhale too much rubbing alcohol

  2. We did get sawdust spawn but it worked on bulk substrate soooo yeahhh

  3. You can just buy premade sawdust and grain spawn and skip to step 2

  4. The timing for everything can vary for you. We were fortunate for it all to work so quickly

  5. It took exactly 54 days from jar inoculation to harvest for the Chestnut monotub.

  6. It took exactly 33 days from tub inoculation to harvest for the Chestnut monotub.

  7. I will include a future link to how we built the humidity tent aka a Martha.



Crate Garden


*I made this method up from the little bit of knowledge and experience from the monotub method and was surprised it worked! Inspired by the methods North Spore described here*


Supplies:


Crates

1 bag of Chestnut Sawdust or Grain Spawn

2 bags of Bulk Substrate

Sterilized Straw

Rubbing Alcohol to put in a Spray Bottle

Bucket

Water

Gloves

Mask

Watering can

Thin plastic tarp



Homegrown Mushroom Crate Garden Method


  1. Prep the Crate

  2. Aggressively spray the inside and outside of the crate, your gloves and the bags of substrate and spawn with rubbing alcohol. This prevents contamination.

  3. Prep the Straw

  4. Soak a bunch of straw in water for at least 30 minutes.

  5. Create a parfait.

  6. Sprinkle a nice layer of straw at the bottom of the crate

  7. Sprinkle a nice layer of substrate

  8. Spray the substrate with water

  9. Sprinkle a nice layer of broken up colonized grain spawn

  10. Continue the layering until you run out of spawn

  11. The final layer should be the substrate

  12. Leave outside and allow to colonize

  13. Water every 3 days until water leaks out everywhere

  14. Continue watering forever and it’ll fruit eventually

  15. Harvest once mushrooms are a good size and before they completely flatten out


*Side notes:


  1. This was an experiment that actually worked and thats all I can really say

  2. I did use sawdust spawn on bulk substrate yes because I don’t have the energy for logs

  3. It took exactly 5 weeks from start to harvest.

  4. First harvest came in hot and heavy at 12oz

  5. Only issue I had was spores from Pleated Inky Caps floated into my crate and they grew. Annoying but it didn’t affect anything.

  6. Snails have enjoyed living in my crate

  7. The patio is west facing so they only get a few hours of sun daily

  8. I covered my crates with a thin layer of plastic to help with the humidity and because we had some COLD spring nights



Pros and Cons of these Methods:


Monotub

Pro: Easy to maintain. Well contained. Made ADORABLE AND BEAUTIFUL mushrooms.

Con: You need to find a good way to maintain humidity. They are smaller.


Crate

Pro: Produced BIG AND CHUNKY mushrooms. Less to maintain to keep happy.

Con: Could be contaminated by other mushrooms. Hard to harvest through the holes.


I know these methods would also work with Oyster Mushrooms so you can try with those first! Nonetheless, I hope you found this helpful. We love growing mushrooms and haven’t let living in an apartment prevent us from our little mushroom dreams. Please please pleaseeeeeeeeeee use my affiliate link with North Spore to buy your supplies so your girl can make a living!


Let me know if you try these methods! Tag me on IG/Twitter/TikTok/Facebook @withcarrington so I can see!