If you are interested in growing some oyster mushrooms, you can pick up a self-contained growing kit for ~US$20. It's not difficult, and it really is a lot of fun to mist your babies and watch them grow over your sink. They really are delicious simply sautéed in some butter and garlic.
For a more "hacker" experience with mycology I highly recommend starting from a spore syringe/spore print, but doing every part of the process yourself. You can grow any of a wide variety of mushrooms and it's really cool to understand the details of creating a sterile environment for the spores, creating the substrate, and following a wide range of "Teks" for varying difficulty.
Most of the online documentation is coming from people aiming to grow p. cubensis (aka magic mushrooms), but the techniques will work equally well with many food varieties (especially oyster).
The BRF (Brown Rice Flour) Tek is a good place to start, and you'll quickly begin to see how wild you can get with home mycology. Once you grow your first batch you can easily make your own spore prints, and start doing very fascinating stuff with home made agar (cloning, inspecting genetics, cleaning out contaminants, spawning spores, etc). There is also a fairly large range of options for automating the process with electronics if that's the kind of thing you enjoy.
If you get really experienced you can start taking spore prints of local native species and then growing them at home from spores! It's a far deeper hobby than I would have imagined, you can start from something very simple that just takes a few hours to start and can reasonably end up closer to something like this video than you can imagine!
I wonder what the state of the art on this front is. Surely, someone must have come up with some solution (machine learning or not)?
Mycodo open source IoT monitoring, control and automation system based on RPi being used in the video , and previous discussion on HN .
As I recall the coffee didn’t support as many flushes as wood chips or grain, but given that it was essentially free it seemed like it was still a good option.
At any rate, this was great - mushrooms always get the gears turning. Some day I’d love to get something like this going. My family eats so many mushrooms.
For those of you unaware the guy who made this video maintains Mycodo, an absolutely amazing piece of software for automating and monitoring sensors and actuators of basically any kind.
That growth timelapse reminds me of some cool generative art: https://sagejenson.com/physarum
Obviously inspired by slime molds but just so cool nonetheless.
Building a hood like that is expensive. I used a cheap approach, a plastic tub with holes cut in it and kitchen gloves taped in, inserted all my working tools and materials and sprayed it with rubbing alcohol and worked in it sealed. It is less effective than a positive pressure hood like the one built in the video, but it is reasonably effective.
I know someone that doesn't even do this, she turns all fans and air conditioners off for an hour (to stop air currents), then walks deliberately, prepares her workspace which is a countertop sanitized with alcohol, and uses technique surgeons use. She also gets good results.
In the wild, mushrooms send billions of spores, but you don't see the same species dominate a landscape, because they're all always competing and where one colony is successful is luck of the draw. Of course what you are going for is a 1:1 chance that you're growing what you want, so you cannot have any competition at all.
I have a friend with 20x5gal buckets of Oysters he keeps in rotation in a greenhouse. He preps the first growth in his kitchen using sterile substrate in jars. He discards bad samples before transfer to the 5 gallon buckets. For the 5 gallon buckets, he uses nonsterile bulk from a woodchipper.
Mold is the big competitor for soggy wood, and come in at any part of the process.
Here is a much easier build:
The main problem here would be the economics of the system, but the man in the video knows what is doing. He has probably been trained in lab techniques. Can be seen in clever details like taking the second sample far away from the first triangle sampled (to avoid contamination never returning to a part visited yet).
Another smart trick is to avoid picking the spores from the lamella. Some fungus are parasitic of edible fungus and live over its host lamella.
Yes, there are many organisms that would overwhelm the mushrooms you "want". There are mushroom spores covering every inch of earth. Mushrooms have a very specific lifecycle and your job as the mushroom grower is to make those chance occurrences a regular thing.
The good news is its really pretty easy to do on a small scale.
Anyone do the math to get a cost on the flow hood and growing chamber?