Growing Mushrooms With Coco Coir: [Complete Guide]
Growing mushrooms indoors could never be easier with the latest technology. In the modern world, people all around the world can grow mushrooms utilizing what is known as coco coir.
As a byproduct of coconut fiber, coco coir is becoming one of the most popular mediums for growing different plant species in hydroponics. One of the factors behind the popularity of this medium is affordability.
You can buy both compressed, chips, pith, and ground coco coir. All of these options are ideal for growing mushrooms. Below, you will discover a short guide for growing mushrooms with coco coir.
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Coir Mushroom Substrate
As mentioned above, coco coir derives from coconut fiber. Coconuts have been utilized for flavoring for food and beverages, fuel development, nutrition, bacteria eradication, and musical instrument manufacturing.
In this case, coco coir is utilized to grow mushrooms indoors and outdoors.
Coconuts date back to the 16th century when Spaniards and Portuguese people referred to it as the “coco.” The term “coco” means “head” in both languages.
If you look closely at the coconut, it does resemble a human head because of the three pores embedded into the husk. Coconuts are very easy to spot.
In the 16th century, explores from Spain, Portugal, and the Pacific Island thought the coconut looked like a witch or ghost. There are a few Portuguese folklore tales that refer to the dry drupe as “coco.” Even today, some Spaniards, Pacific Islanders, and Portuguese call it coco.
Coco Coir Substrate Recipe
To get the most out of your coco coir, it recommended starting from scratch. What this means is homemade coco coir substrate offers more benefits than the mass-produced, store-bought option.
Creating a homemade coco coir substrate can be a complex process, which is why many individuals opt to purchase the store-bought version. Like this one here from Amazon, coco coir substrate.
The first step is to gather your supplies that include:
1 Large mixing bowl
Tap water (can be substituted with sterile or pure water)
Coconut husk removal tool (can be substituted with a sturdy pair of pliers)
Electric mixer (can be substituted with a blender)
Small- to medium-sized bowls with lid (rectangular or square)
Wooden spoon (can be substituted with a non-stick spatula)
Once you have your supplies at hand, you will be ready to begin. To contain the messy coconut, you will need to spread out old newspapers over a small- or medium-sized area. Grab your pliers because this is where the mess begins.
This step involves husk removal. Utilize the pliers or removal tool to remove the husk from each coconut. Try to remove as much as the husk as possible to keep waste to a minimum.
This is a very messy process. If you do not have newspapers, you can utilize an old bedsheet, vinyl shower curtain, or two large towels to contain the mess. Just be sure to place something over your workspace before beginning. You can thank yourself later.
Once all of the husks are removed from all six coconuts, it will be time to begin the separation process.
This is also a messy process that can also be a little time-consuming. Just take your time to avoid any potential mishap or a lot of waste.
If you are utilizing a hand mixer, you will want to place the separated coconut husks into a large mixing bowl. Whether you are utilizing a hand mixer or blender really does not matter because the process will turn out the same regardless.
Fill your mixing bowl or blender third quarters full. Do not overfill because there needs to be space for blender or mixer blades. Turn your mixer on low and mix until the coconut husks turn into a powder.
If necessary, you can remove the blender lid and stir the mixture to ensure the best results, which should be a fine powder.
You may need to repeat this process several times, depending on the amount of your coconut husk. With six coconuts, you should not need to repeat more than three times. Continue repeating the process until all of your coconut husks have been transformed into a fine powder.
Utilize your sifter to separate the loose fiber pieces from the fine powder. If you do not have a sifter, a strainer will serve the same purpose. Now, you are ready to move on to the next step, which involves adding tap water.
In a large bowl, mix the coco fine powder with water. You can just the amount of water to utilize for this process by eye-balling the mixture. Be careful not to add too much tap water. The mixture should not be heavily drenched with water.
If you add too much water, do not fret because there is an easy solution. Place a plate or lid on top of your mixing bowl, leaving only a tiny opening to allow the water to flow freely. Try to contain as much of the coco powder as possible to eliminate waste.
Now, it is time to prepare the coco coir for storage or use. If you are going to store your fresh homemade coco coir, you will need to start by transferring it from the mixing bowl to the storage containers. There are several ways to complete this process.
First, you can utilize your hands. If you decide to go this route, be sure to wear gloves to prevent any potential contamination during the transfer. You can also utilize a spatula or wooden spoon, whichever one you have on hand at the time.
Pack the coco coir into the storage bowls tightly, seal, and place in a cool, dry area until you are ready to put it to use.
How To Make Your Own Mushroom Substrate
Follow the directions above to make a mushroom substrate from scratch. There are benefits of homemade substrate. These benefits include more affordable, no artificial fillers, higher quality, more nutritious, and more control.
Yes, it is easier to run out to your local home and garden store to purchase coco coir. But, to maximize the benefits of coco coir, homemade recipes are the only option.
Best Coco Coir For Mushrooms
There are several types of mushroom substrate. First, you have the “straw” version, which originates from rye, wheat, or oat. The straw substrate is highly recommended for most mushroom strains.
While there are benefits of a straw mushroom substrate, there are also a few downsides. One downside is the complex preparation process, which involves cleaning, chopping, and pasteurizing. However, this only applies when starting from scratch.
The “log” substrate is another great option for growing mushrooms indoors. Log substrates are not optional for everyone, especially people who do not have access to hardwood trees.
People living in metropolis areas are most likely not going to have access to the recommended hardwood trees, such as oak, alder, maple, cottonwood, beech, and ash.
It is also possible to utilize down trees as long as they are not diseased or rotten. Hardwood log substrate is also available in home and garden stores. If you plan of creating log substrate, you must be prepared for a complex, drawn-out preparation period.
The fresh hardwood log must undergo several processes, including immunization and incubation.
Hardwood log substrate is suitable for most mushroom strains.
Other substrates suitable for growing mushrooms include compressed hardwood sawdust, cow manure, soy hulls, and coffee grounds.
Coco coir substrate is key to healthy, viable mushrooms. But, for the best results, it is recommended to start from scratch. Of course, this is not an option for every grower.
People living in apartments, condos, flats, townhouses, and studio apartments in cities are less likely to have access to the materials for creating coco coir substrate from scratch. This is definitely the case if you want to utilize the log substrate instead of coco coir.
Coco coir substrate is so popular among independent mushroom growers because it provides the proper amount of drainage, decreases the risk of over-watering, and promotes healthy root growth.