How to grow mushrooms using the Monotube method - Organic farming (2023)

At Growing Organic Farm, we are focused on ecological self-sufficiency. A few years ago we decided to turn our home into a homestead by adopting sustainable farming practices and incorporating permaculture principles to reduce waste. We really enjoy learning how to grow different plantsfruit,vegetables, tjPlants, I like thisBreeding of chickensfor fresh eggs.

Since the transition to a holistic lifestyle, we have also started growing various plants for their medicinal properties.marihuanais the most popular culture butmedicinal mushroomsthey are also an essential part of our property. We recently hosted several blogs explaining the benefits of several types of medicinal mushrooms, includingour latest postwhich describes in detail how to grow your own medicinal mushrooms at home!

If you're not interested in growing your own mushrooms at home, we understand! Although it takes a lot less time than hunting for wild mushrooms, growing your own medicinal mushrooms may not be the project for you, and that's okay! We pride ourselves on offering varietymedicinal mushroom tincturesin ourscompare. These tinctures can be useful if you want to try different types of mushrooms before choosing a type to grow, if you want to experiment with mixtures of several mushrooms other than the one you have chosen to grow, or if you don't want to grow your own mushrooms at all.

This blog post aims to help our friends who have expressed a desire to start their own cultivation of medicinal mushrooms at home to do so in the most efficient way using the monotube method. We hope to simplify the process so that everyone can feel comfortable and successful in their mushroom growing efforts, but if you have any questions or helpful tips that you think we should include, please feel free toplease let us know!

How to grow medicinal mushrooms at home using the Monotube method

Crop overview

The monotube method is not a new technique. On the contrary, many (if not most) professional indoor mushroom growers start with this method. The advantages of the single-tube configuration are numerous, but it is primarily appreciated for its relative simplicity for beginners and minimal space and equipment requirements. The one-tube method is designed to use readily available components, allowing anyone to start their own mushroom cultivation at home.

The single-tube technique is most commonly considered for manure-grown mushroom species, including psilocybin species. However, when changing the substrate, this method can also be used to grow other types of mushrooms that grow well on woody substrates. The single tub setup is ideal for a wide variety of mushroom species and is generally considered the easiest and cheapest choice, especially for beginners.

Breeding considerations

a type of mushroom

Fungi are interesting organisms. Surprisingly, fungi have much in common with animals and are often considered hybrid creatures: they are neither plants nor animals, but share characteristics with both. Growing mushrooms at home is not a difficult process, but it does require an understanding of mushroom biology, including not only how mushrooms grow, but also when and why they thrive under certain conditions. In most cases, these details will depend on the specific type of mushroom you intend to grow, so making that decision is a good first step. See our How to Grow Mushrooms post for a full explanation of the mushroom life cycle.

preferred growing medium

One of the differences between growing mushrooms and growing herbs, fruits and vegetables is the preferred growing medium. While you've likely discovered mushroom species growing in the ground, perhaps even in your own backyard, intentionally growing a full harvest of mushrooms usually involves growing manure or a wooden substrate, such as a chopped log, a bucket or container of sawdust, or substrate fertilizer. Different types of fungi thrive in different substrates.

Importance of sterile technique

Whatever method you choose, keep in mind the importance of working in as clean an environment as possible. Microscopic contamination is the biggest enemy of all mushroom growers because these various bacteria and molds can infect the mycelium and destroy the entire crop. This does not mean, however, that one should expect 100% elimination of pollutants, as this would be an impossible goal. However, we cannot overemphasize the importance of decontaminating not only your workplace, but ALL your tools, including yourself.

We recommend that you start by following the rules of personal hygiene. Take a shower, brush your teeth and put on freshly washed clothes. Vacuum all floors and disinfect and disinfect all surfaces. We like to use 70% isopropyl alcohol to sterilize all our work surfaces, tools and containers immediately before and after use. Additionally, 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) can also be a useful tool in sterilization.

Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and wear laboratory or surgical gloves made of latex or nitrile. For those who prefer full-length coverage of their forearms, agricultural insemination gloves are a popular and inexpensive option. Finally, wear a face mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dust and to protect the mushroom growing environment from particles in your own exhaust gas.

The direction of light for the origin of mushrooms

When installing the monocube, take into account the direction of the light entering the room. Although fungi do not use light for photosynthesis like plants, some types of fungi use light to direct growth. With these species, once the mushroom buds begin to set, you will notice that the needles will grow toward the light source.

How to install a monotube

Materials needed for monotubes

  • Fungal spores, agar cultures or liquid cultures (not necessary if you buy pre-inoculated cereal seeds)
  • Production of sterilized cereals(pre-vaccinated or with injection connection)
  • Sterile bulk medium (fertilizeror wood)
  • bigtub for growing mushrooms(or you can make your own using a large Tupperware container, a bag as an insert and punch holes in the lid for airflow)
  • traka za microspore
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • Two spray bottles
  • Latex gloves (or equivalent medical gloves) and a dust mask

Optional additional materials:

  • flow hood
  • air flow fan
  • Adhesive tape or similar for attaching the filter disc or microporous tape
  • cycle counter
  • Humidifier and humidity regulator
    • Maintaining optimal air humidity can significantly improve crop success. We recommend installing a humidifier with a flexible hose connected to a monopipe, as well as a humidity regulator (hygrostat) to ensure a constant level of humidity in the room. This is why Ink Bird is popular.
  • LED light strip
    • An LED light strip can be an extremely effective and practical option for lighting your workspace. The LED light strip is particularly suitable for installation with one pipe because it does not emit heat and does not raise the temperature, and it can be placed directly above the bathtub for easier fixation (for mushroom species that grow towards the light).

How to prepare a monotube for fertile mushrooms

Before the mushrooms begin to bear fruit, some preparatory steps must be taken to ensure successful mushroom growth.

How to grow mushrooms using the Monotube method - Organic farming (1)First step of preparation: spores or cultures

Before embarking on any mushroom cultivation method, the first step will be to obtain the spores (or cultures) to use for inoculation and settlementgrain spawn. Alternatively, you can buy pre-inoculated cereal seeds; in that case, you can continue with "Step Three: Buying or Preparing Substrate in Bulk".

When buying mushroom spores to grow at home, it's important to make sure you're buying from a reputable seller. If the spores are contaminated before you start, successful cultivation will not be possible no matter what you do right.

Reputable retailers provide a warranty on their products for a period of time from purchase, usually around thirty days. Upon receipt of a package of spore syringes or liquid cultures, spore prints, or pre-inoculated seed, inspect the package to ensure that it is free of contamination. If you see any signs of damage or contamination, contact your dealer for a replacement.

When starting to inoculate your own seeds, mistakes are expected. This means that you should order more spores than you think you will need to increase your chances of success. Everyone breaks at least a few syringes during their first harvest, so leave room for error. Having more spores than necessary means you can make at least a few mistakes.

Note that laws regarding the legality of certain types of mushrooms vary by state and region, with some species in some areas considered legal only for microscopic examination and not for cultivation. Before deciding which spores or culture to buy, check your local regulations carefully.

How to grow mushrooms using the Monotube method - Organic farming (2)Second preparatory step: Fully colonize your grain generation

You can choose to buy seeds from seeds that are already inoculated and fully colonized (in which case you don't need to buy spores or cultures) or you caninoculate and colonize your own seeds. The easiest way to colonize your own seed is to inject a spore or fungal culture into the seedinjection bag,which is a bag of sterilized grain equipped with a self-healing opening that is inoculated with a spore syringe. After spore inoculation, the cereal seeds will need to be fully colonized before they can be added to the sterile substrate (medium) in one tube.

Instructions for inoculating cereal grains with an injection bag

PREPARATION STEP 2a: Check materials / Sterilize work area / Inoculate spawn

If you decide to inoculate sterile cereal seeds with a syringe, follow the instructions that came with the bag. As always, sterile technique is critical to the success of these applications, so carefully inspect all bags, syringes, and other materials for signs of damage or contamination prior to use. Clean all surfaces, including the bag, syringe and gloves, with 70% isopropyl alcohol.

How to grow mushrooms using the Monotube method - Organic farming (3)Many mushroom growers recommend leaving bags or other purchased materials for a week or two before using. This gives time for any contamination to form mold, which should be visible upon inspection. If you have received a contaminated or damaged product, please contact the manufacturer for a replacement before proceeding.

If you are just starting out, we recommendbuying your seed. You can even buy fully colonized grain seed at the beginning to simplify the growing process while you get used to the rest of the monotube setup technique. But if you want to grow fungi that are less readily available in fully colonized seeds, you will eventually need to learn how to make and colonize your own cereal seeds. For this process, Shroomology provides an excellent guidemaking your own cereal seedsusing readily available ingredients such as wild bird seed and glass containers.

SETUP STEP 2b: Wait for alignment

If you are inoculating your own seeds, you will need to leave the bag or jar untouched for several weeks after introducing the spores or culture in order for them to colonize. Colonization does best in direct sunlight, in a cooler location, between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You will know your seed is starting to colonize when you see the mycelium begin to cover the seed.

When the mycelium has expanded three to six inches without opening or damaging the bag, carefully crush the mycelium-covered grain with your fingers and mix it with the rest of the uncolonized grain. This will spread the mycelium and speed up the colonization process. After a few more weeks, you will see that the contents of the bag (or bottle) are completely covered with fluffy white mycelium, which means that the colonization phase is over.

After making (or purchasing) fully inoculated grain seed, mix it with sterile medium in one test tube. This means that some time after inoculation, while the seed is colonizing (or while waiting to get fully colonized seed), it will be necessary to prepare the rest of the single-tube set and sterile bulk substrate.

How to grow mushrooms using the Monotube method - Organic farming (4)Preparation Step three: Buy or prepare bulk substrate

Depending on the type of mushroom you intend to grow, you will need wood chips or a manure-based substrate in a single tube. For starters, we recommendbuy sterile media in bulkat least until you get used to the rest of the monotube setup technique.

If you plan to grow a type of mushroom that likes fertilizer, thenBolsa Boom'ris an excellent option that will save you the hassle of sterilizing your own fertilizer. For fungi that prefer wood, sterilize your own wood chips or mulch. Instead of growing them indoors, you can also graft logs in the garden.

When you're ready, if you want a bit more of a challenge and it suits your application, you can opt to make your own sterile fertilizer-based substrate at home. Our friends at North Spore have presented a relatively simple method of creating your own.sterile bulk medium based on manurefrom horse manure and coconut fibers, which we have included at the end of this article. Making your own seeds and substrate can be very profitable in the long run, especially when you start growing more mushrooms, but if you're just starting out, sticking to buying prepared seeds and/or sterile substrate can be less frustrating.

Fruiting of mushrooms using the Monotube technique:

Okay, now that you have a fully colonized seed inoculation bag and sterilized media ready to use, it's time to grow mushrooms using the monotube method.

FIRST STEP – Buy a bathtub

We recommend buying onewhen already intended for growing mushrooms, such as MaxYield Binsor you can buy a large plastic tub similar to the Tupperware or Sterilite models.

If you decide to make your own, you'll need to line the tub and make holes for air flow.

If you buy yourmushroom growing boxOur tub is already tinted and has holes cut out for airflow, so you can skip to step 4 where you cover the holes with micropore tape or filter discs.

STEP TWO - Level the tub

*This step is only for people creating their own monotube!

Older manuals for the one-coat technique often instruct growers to use black spray paint to cover the bottom of pots (regardless of whether they are using a clear or clear tub). However, over time our friends at North Spore discovered that this step - usually done to block light and avoid lateral fixation - was not the best method. Instead, they recommend lining the tub with an opaque black trash bag, but folded so that it only reaches halfway up the sides of the tub. This is the best way to distract yourself from holding onto the tub walls.

STEP THREE - Make holes in the tub to allow air flow

*This step is only for those who build their own bathtub!

You need to provide air circulation in the tub, so drill holes around the outside of the tub using a hand drill fitted with a two-inch hole saw. You want at least one hole on each side of the tub, and no more than eight inches between the holes. Drill the holes directly above where the top of the large base and liner will be, or just above halfway up the sides of the tub.

STEP FOUR - Cover the holes with microporous tape to prevent contamination

Use microporous tape to cover the holes in the sides of the tub. This will protect the contents of the bowl from contamination while ensuring proper air flow. If necessary, you can protect the micropore tape by placing tape around the edges of the holes on the outside of the tub. Just be careful not to cover the holes completely as this will impede airflow.

STEP FIVE - Decontaminate all materials

Next, be sure to disinfect all work surfaces, including the entire individual tube, liner, cap, and all tools. We use 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean all surfaces and tools. For proper disinfection, it is important not to use more than 70 percent alcohol. Although 90 percent and 99 percent isopropyl alcohol are widely available, the low water content of these formulations means that the alcohol evaporates much more quickly from the surfaces being cleaned, leaving insufficient contact time for effective hygiene.

Fill one spray bottle with alcohol and the other with freshly disinfected water. Alcohol can break down plastics and other materials over time, so it pays to invest in an industrial-grade, chemical-safe alcohol spray bottle. Spray the inside and outside of the tub, all work surfaces and tools, and your gloves. Don't forget to disinfect the entire outside of the seed bags and the substrate, as well as the scissors you use to open them! Make sure the room you are working in has been vacuumed recently (but not too soon, as air turbulence created during vacuuming can introduce contaminants). Close all doors and windows and keep pets, children and visitors away from the sterile environment.


Delight yourself... It's finally time to add sterile medium to one tube and start inoculating with fully colonized seeds!

After sterilization, open the bulk substrate bag and fill one tube evenly so that the depth of substrate throughout the container is approximately 1 inch initially. Make sure the substrate is "field capacity", meaning that if you squeeze the clod with your fist, you'll only get a drop or two of water out of it. If the medium is too dry, add a small amount of sterile water to the mixture when placing it in the barrel.

Then sprinkle a thin layer of fully colonized seed on the bottom of the sterile medium. Then add another centimeter of substrate and cover with another thin layer of seeds. Repeat this process until you reach the desired base depth, usually about three to four inches across the tub.

The amount of substrate and seed needed will depend on the size of the pot, but in general:a three-pound bag of seedit can be expected to colonize one or two pipes combined with five kilossterilized substrate.

STEP SEVEN - "The Spawn Race"

For added protection against contaminants, spray rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and wipe the inside of the monotube over carpet and flooring. Clean the lid (or other inverted tub) and cover the tub.

Place one tube in a warm (but not hot) environment, out of direct sunlight, but not in total darkness - inoculation will occur faster with moderate exposure to ambient light. Try to keep the ambient temperature between 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit and do not disturb or examine the contents of one tube for any reason for at least six to ten full days, as this will allow carbon dioxide to escape from the tub, increasing colonization time and potentially introducing contaminants. The only reason to open the tub during this period is a very rancid or unpleasant smell coming from the tub.

After this initial period, you should start checking the container once a day, hoping to see white specks of mycelium sticking out of each bit of grain seed. Eventually, these spots will expand and coalesce to cover the entire surface of the loose medium, and small droplets of fungal secretions may appear on them, a sign of adequate hydration and successful colonization.

Manure-based substrate types require two to three weeks for the mycelium to migrate (or colonize) the entire substrate, while grain- and wood-based substrate types will vary. Around this time, you should start looking for the formation of hyphae - this is the so-called "attachment" of the fungus and will look like dense knots of white mycelium protruding vertically from the surface of the substrate. Hyphal nodes or "needles" are a sign that the medium is fully colonized and it's time to switch to monotube plating.

EIGHTH STEP - Packaging, fruiting and harvesting of Monotubes

Once the embryos start to appear, you can choose to coat the barrel, which means covering the entire substrate with a very thin layer of 100% coir. However, this step is completely optional. In addition, you can also remove the tub cover at this time.

Add a half-inch to one-inch layer of 100% coir to the tub, then spray this layer with disinfected water until the coir is completely wet.

Some mushroom growers use vermiculite instead of coir as a coating, but recent research has shown a link between vermiculite coating and asbestos contamination, so it is recommended to avoid vermiculite in favor of coir.

Check one tube daily, leaving the lid of the container slightly ajar to allow more oxygen to flow and reduce the CO2 inside the container. Spray the top of the housing, the sidewalls and the cover of the single tube with disinfected water one to three times a day. Approximately 7 to 14 days after coating, you should begin to notice hairs appearing in the coating layer. Allow minimal to moderate light in the tub to keep the needles growing in the right direction, but don't expose the tub to too much light or heat.

Eventually, you will notice that your hyphae will begin to produce fruit or turn into mushrooms ready for harvest. You can pick mushrooms however you like, but for most edible species with caps, the best time to harvest is just before the mushroom caps flatten.

Fruiting occurs only when certain environmental conditions are present. To get the best quality mushrooms, the temperature in the barrel should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, it is very important to check the monotube daily and keep it hydrated, because the reduction of CO2 levels and the evaporation of moisture from the surface of the substrate are crucial for fruiting conditions.

Collecting mushrooms and recording spores

As the mushrooms mature, they will begin to release spores from their caps (in the case of capped species). Mushroom caps have a veil under the cap that opens releasing spores, propagating the next generation of mushrooms. Most growers prefer to harvest their mushrooms just before or after the canopy bursts.

To minimize damage to the mushrooms when harvesting, grasp each one by the stem and gently but forcefully rotate in each direction until you feel them separate from the substrate and shell. Just picking mushrooms is not enough. Bring a flat container to place the mushrooms in, such as a clean plate or lid.

If you want to save a particular mushroom variety for future cultivation, you can "stamp" its spores after harvesting and then use them to grow more mushrooms of the same variety in the future. Spore prints can also be used to identify mushroom species or can be sprayed with fixative and displayed for their artistic value. If you plan to use for cultivation, it is extremely important to maintain a sterile procedure when taking spore prints to avoid contamination.

Taking spore prints

To take spore prints, begin by thoroughly decontaminating the entire work area, including all tools and yourself. Place the cap of a freshly harvested mushroom (stem removed with a sterile blade) gills down on a piece of black or white paper, sturdy plastic or aluminum foil. (Farmers often prefer aluminum foil because it is cheap and can be disinfected with alcohol.)

Place something on top of the mushroom cap to protect it from mess and contamination - sanitized glasses and bowls work well. Leave the lid on for six to twelve hours, then carefully remove the lid and mushroom cap from the foil (or paper). Place the lid back on the new spore print for another six to twelve hours to dry completely.

After the spore print is dry, remove the lid and carefully wrap the print in aluminum foil to protect the print. You can do this by folding the bottom half of the sheet and then folding each side to close the edges. Be sure to double fold the edges of the envelope and make neat, sharp creases to prevent the mites from reaching the spores inside. These envelopes are best stored in self-sealing bags with packets that absorb oxygen and moisture to prevent deterioration. However, if you want a successful crop, the spore prints should be consumed within a year or two at most.

Through our posts, we hope to encourage you to explore the wide variety of mushrooms that can be grown at home, including not only the many species prized for their culinary value, but also those historically associated with improved health and well-being. . If you have questions about a particular type of mushroom or an aspect of this technique, please send us a message.

*Growing Organic asks you to consult your local regulations regarding mushroom cultivation. We do not condone, support or encourage any illegal activity. *

Making your own sterile manure-based substrate

North Spore tips at

Instead of buying sterile compost in bulk, you can prepare your own sterile manure-based compost at home. For this you will need the following additional materials:

  • Coco Coco (sold at hydroponics or urban garden stores)
  • Horse manure (the best manure has been composted for at least six months)
    • baking foil
    • aluminum foil
    • bags with filter patches
    • pressure cooker (optional)

This recipe is for preparing a sterile medium for mushrooms that grow well in a manure-based medium. For species that like grains or wood, use sterilized grains or hardwoods such as oak or maple.

The simplest recipe for making your own sterile manure-based substrate is a combination of 50% coconut fiber and 50% horse manure. High-quality horse manure can be obtained from farms that breed horses or offer riding lessons. For best results, manure should be composted for at least six months before use.

First, mix the coconut with the manure to "field capacity", which means that when you squeeze a handful of the substrate as hard as you can, only a drop or two of moisture will come out. If the mixture is too dry, add a small amount of water, checking often until you reach the right level of hydration. If the mixture is too hydrated, add more coir until the field yield is reached.

After that, the manure will need to be pasteurized by cooking in an oven or steaming. If you want to use the oven method, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, place the base on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. After heating, bake the stock covered for at least two and a half hours.

If you prefer the steam pasteurization method, place the substrate in filter bags. Cook the bags in a pressure cooker or cook on the stove until it reaches 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Allow the pasteurized media to cool completely before handling.

We hope this has helped you on your mycological journey. As always, feel free to ask questions below in the comments and we'll do our best to help. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the fruits that mother nature gives us.


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