Mushroom Report — Baby, It’s Cold Inside

The button mushroom spawn in my six indoor beds has appeared to have stalled, and I think it is due to the cool temperatures in our basement, but let me start at the beginning.

Mushroom beds “chilling” in the basement.

Last fall, I gathered and composted some horse manure (read about it here). I then spawned it with button-mushroom inoculated “seeds” (seen here). I had to move them from Saint Louis to Madison in December. Since then, I’ve kept them watered and housed in our basement. Twice each week I water every 2-ft³ bed with 1.5 qt water. Otherwise the compost gets dried out.

Some Like It Hot

60°F is too cold.

According the the manual I’m using, the compost should be kept in the 80°Fs, but the basement is hovering around 60°F. The compost’s internal heat from decaying could, in theory, keep itself warm, but it appears to be too old to do this. Mushroom mycelium suspends its growth when conditions are not optimal, and this might account for the slow pace of spawn expansion that I’ve noticed.

img_2144I moved the mushroom beds into the boiler room of our apartment building. It is a constant 80°F in there, so that might jump start the fungus growth. Fingers crossed that we’ll be up to our ears in button mushrooms this spring.

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