A Lecture By A Fun Guy

Many people hear “fungus” and think of mushrooms. This is akin to hearing “trees” and thinking of apples. Fungus makes up 2% of earth’s total biomass or 10% of the non-plant biomass, and ranges from the deadly to the delicious. This lecture by [Justin Atkin] of [The Thought Emporium] is slightly shorter than a college class period but is like a whole semester’s worth of tidbits, and the lab section is about growing something (potentially) edible rather than a mere demonstration. The video can also be found below the break.

Let’s start with the lab where we learn to grow fungus in a mason jar on purpose for a change. The ingredient list is simple.

  • 2 parts vermiculite
  • 1 part brown rice flour
  • 1 part water
  • Spore syringe

Combine, sterilize, cool, inoculate, and wait. We get distracted when cool things are happening so shopping around for these items was definitely hampered by listening to the lecture portion of the video.

We made a huge list of notes from the video, and they are the refined tidbits from years of research. Here is the top of our list, so this is the double-distilled list. Mushrooms are only the fruiting portion of a fungus. A fungus is the largest single organism on the planet at three-and-a-half kilometers across. Fungi are analogous to nature’s digestive system and were the first things to digest wood, which went untouched for fifty-million years. If there is something a fungus cannot eat, it will focus its nuclei there, and if it figures out a solution, the genetic information is passed to the rest of the organism. Certain strains hunt, for example Cordyceps turn insects into zombies, drive them like a Huffy to someplace tall before sprouting from the head of the creature to distribute spores. That somewhat grizzly example is also highly prized for its medicinal value.

If you are already growing mushrooms on a small scale, we can help you increase your yield.

9 thoughts on “A Lecture By A Fun Guy

        1. If you want to grow edible mushrooms it is a lot easier to start from spawn than a spore syringe. Almost any edible type you can grow you can get commercial spawn for. Once you have grown from spawn a few times it might be fun to do kitchen science, but has been stated, this method is decades old and used almost exclusively to grown things you can not get commercial spawn for. A few years ago I got a morel syringe or and grew out a few bags of spawn. It never did anything, and I wound up dumping it out in the hedgerow. A few years later I had morels out there. And none since. May have been a fluke. I have had lions mane colonise on totems that had been producing oysters for years.

          1. Does make sense, I mean why risk competition in the colonisation phase unless the mycelium happens to produce something big brother doesn’t want you to have access to.

    1. Basically a PF rehash. The “PF Tek”, while old and unchanged, is a decent way for people without a proper lab to get started. One of those jars can be used to spawn a large amount of bulk substrate (pasteurized, *not* sterilized) without having to invest in a flow-hood, autoclave, or any other specialized equipment. It is a good starting place for the curious on the cheap.

      1. A pressure canner turned autoclave isn’t that specialized nor uncommon. If you decide mushrooms and biohacking aren’t your thing there’s always soup or tomato sauce. Flow hoods are nice but an alcohol lamp or stove burner in a still room give aseptic conditions rather easily for a foot or so around them.

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