Mushrooms can be grown hydroponically, in a very similar fashion to that used for conventional rooting plants. Mushrooms do not have roots but can still thrive in a soil-less hydroponic media.
They actually mature and produce faster than either conventionally cultivated mushrooms or other standard hydroponic crops.
Fungus, which is what a mushroom actually is, does not require expensive grow lights. They do not use photosynthesis to produce sugars or to fruit and they contain no chlorophyll.
Fungus feeds on Organic material. Extremely modest amounts of light only trigger the fungus to bloom into a mushroom.
The basic organic material of a mushroom is “Chitin“. Chitin branches off in all directions and becomes “hyphae” and a cluster of Hyphae is known as the Mycelium. The mycelium is the actual fungus from which the mushroom itself sprouts.
The mushroom we harvest, its fruit basically, is the reproductive organ of the mycellium.
Growing Media and Nutrients for Hydroponic Mushrooms
The growing medium must contain the proper nutrients which will be your crops only form of energy. Although mushrooms do not produce sugars or carbohydrates, they do need them for development. The best way I have found to provide nutrients is by mixing in NON-BLEACHED flour with a media of vermiculite and perlite.
The vermiculite perlite should be roughly 50-50.
The flour mixed with a little water and vermiculite is formed into small cakes. Your spores are mixed in with the flour / vermiculite and allowed to harden a tad before it is distributed across the upper surface of the substrate / media.
Recently I have been using Almond Flour but brown rice flour works just as well.
Hydroponic Mushroom Growing Set-Up
Your mushroom hydroponics system should consist of a tank or tub filled with grow media, and an air pump with an air stone attachment which is necessary for aeration/oxygenation. Optional accessories that are helpful under some circumstances are a water heater, humidity gauge, light.
The air stone or bubbler is placed at the bottom of the tank and covered with your grow media before being submerged in water.
The inoculated vermiculite cakes are placed on top. Air is pumped through the air stone to oxygenate the water. The water should be kept warm, which is why you might want to consider the optional heater.
Temperature Requirement for Hydroponic Mushrooms
75 to 80°F is best for germination, 80-85°F with around 90% humidity is best for growth. If these conditions are not met, you may still get some mushrooms, but nowhere near the quantity or quality that woulda, coulda, and shoulda been under the best conditions.
Hydroponic Mushroom Light Requirements
Only when coaxing the mycelium to develop mushrooms should they receive 5 – 6 hours daily light – no more.
Edible Mushrooms that Eat Plastic Could be the answer to the Plastics Dilemma
We live in a plastic society, one that is currently incapable of ecologically disposing of the plastic waste it produces. We are basically wallowing in our own refuse and our neighbors on this planet, the wildlife and environment are paying the price as well.
A newly-discovered mushroom could potentially play a pivotal role in reducing plastic pollution. At Utrecht University in Holland, more well-known members of the mushroom clan were isolated along with plastic wastes, no other food sources were available to them. They were stored in a climate-controlled environment — and lo and behold their precious little mushroom roots consumed the plastic waste and converted it to edible biomass of mushrooms.