One of the best things about growing mushrooms is that when you have started to grow them you can continue to grow them for years and years without the need to purchase any more mushroom spawn. It is very simple to create your own spawn and be able to store this in a fridge ready to use for several weeks.
Mushroom spawn is simply some kind of food which has mycelium growing through it. The food is usually some kind of bird seed such as corn or rye grain, and this is used because the mycelium loves to grow through it and because of the shape and small size of the grain it provides many innoculation points (it has a large surface area which means you have more chance of the mycelium “leaping off” and growing through your substrate).
Creating your own mushroom spawn can be a very easy process when you know exactly how its done and when you are aware of the possible problems caused by contaminations (which is why it is very important to have good sterile procedures). To make your own spawn you firstly need your own mushroom spores. Take a mushroom and leave it on a piece of foil to leave a spore print. Next you add a little distilled water to this print (a few millilitres) and mix this solution using something called an innoculation loop (small piece of wire with a metal curve in one end). This will mix the spores with the water. Next you need to use a syringe and suck up this solution. As mentioned before its important that the syringe is clean and any other equipment too.
You can store this spore syringe in a cool place such as a refrigerator until ready to use. Next you will need to get a large jar and fill it up with the chosen grain (such as Rye grain). Place a piece of tyvek over the cover and seal with a metal lid. It helps if you drill 4 small holes in the lid (near the corners) which are used as innoculation points later.
When you are ready take the spore syringe and inject a few millilitres of your solution into the 4 holes in the lid of the jar. Usually one syringe can innoculate around 5 jars. When complete, place the jars in a warm place and after about 4 weeks your contents will have colonised and mushrooms will start to form! Or you could simply use this colonised jar of grain and use it as spawn – the choice is yours. You could even multiply the spawn and turn the 5 jars into as many as 25! This is simply done by getting more jars of grain and mixing in part of the colonised spawn jar with the others. One jar can turn into 10 if done properly!