When you grow magic mushrooms at home, one of the most common problems you may face is side sprouts. But what are they really? How can you get rid of them and prevent them from harming your mushroom growing? Fortunately, you only need to follow a few simple steps and recommendations to avoid them.
When you grow magic mushrooms at home, especially if it is done in a container, you run the risk of facing them. These sprouts, also called pins, usually grow on the sides of the substrate when the magic mushrooms begin to bear fruit and can even spoil the entire crop. For that reason, preventing their appearance is extremely important. In addition, it’s easier than you think.
👾 What are magic mushroom side sprouts?
Side shoots are magic mushrooms that grow on the side of the substrate. When hearing or reading its name, it is common to think that it is referring to stems that grow with a strange shape and appearance around the crop. However, what you will see when they start to appear are fungi very similar to the ones you want to obtain.
The substrate is the sustenance of the mushrooms. It is made of natural materials that favor their growth. Therefore, side shoots can be very harmful.
Their formation is related to the area in which they are developed. Usually, between the container and the substrate there is a small space in which, under certain conditions, side shoots can appear.
The reason behind this is that, as the crop progresses, the substrate tends to contract. This process is responsible for creating the ideal microclimate for the magic mushrooms, even in a small space, to grow in that direction.
The area where they develop is very small, so the sprouts grow by pressing the walls of the container. In addition, it is also characterized by being very humid. Consequently, given the humidity and lack of space, these areas become a breeding ground for pathogens such as mold and bacteria.
🧐 Avoiding side sprouts of magic mushrooms: How to do it?
Now that you know the conditions and elements that favor the growth of side shoots, you must be wondering what to do to avoid them. There is a possibility of eliminating them once they emerge. But don’t you think it’s better to make sure they never appear? In this sense, here are some tips.
Take care of humidity levels.
One of the main measures you should take to prevent the growth of side shoots is to control the humidity levels. Make sure that these are correct and that the substrate is kept sufficiently humid. To do this, you can spray its surface with water at the moments when it needs more humidity.
You must also prevent the substrate from drying out. Keeping its surface moist will encourage the growth of the magic mushrooms in that direction. This way you can optimize the microclimate in this area and prevent the mushrooms from drifting to the side.
Spray the substrate properly.
You cannot spray the substrate too much. The ideal way to do this is directly from above, placing the water container at a distance that allows the droplets to fall lightly on the crop. This is the process known as “substrate spraying”.
It is also advisable that you control the air circulation in the area where you have the crop. The constant flow of air will cause the substrate to dry out. Therefore, you should try to reduce its entrance to allow the formation of water drops on the surface.
Line the base and side of the substrate.
This option can be useful for you if you have a cultivation kit and prepare your own substrate. In this case, you can line both the base and the sides of the substrate to decrease the growth of sprouts.
You can use a plastic bag for this purpose. You only have to place it around the substrate covering all its sides so that, if it contracts, so does the lining. This way, it will be impossible for the mushrooms to grow sideways, so they will continue to grow upwards.
Block light entry.
The previous step has another purpose: to block the light that reaches the sides of the substrate. Besides limiting the space where the pins can grow, you need to block the light that usually reaches these areas.
However, a lining is not the only alternative to do so. In fact, if you use a transparent bag, you would not be achieving this. Therefore, you must adjust the light where you have your crop or move the container to another location.
Light can encourage the growth of sprouts but is not a main trigger, so it is advisable to pay more attention to moisture and protection of the sides of the substrate.
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📱 Side shoots have already grown, what should I do with them?
If you can already see side shoots of magic mushrooms in the substrate of your crop, using a good lining and controlling humidity are no longer effective measures. So what do you do if you get to this stage? There is also a solution!
You can harvest them as you would do with your magic mushrooms. Let them grow next to the sprouts and harvest all the mushrooms at once when they are ready. Ideally, when this happens, pour water into the container to carefully lift the substrate. Then empty the container and put it back in. It is as simple as it seems, but you must perform the sterilization to avoid contamination.
Side shoots do not have an unhealthy appearance like some other formations of this type. However, they are not as attractive as the magic mushrooms that will grow properly on the surface. Does this mean that they are completely useless? Actually, they are not.
Magic mushrooms that grow on the sides of the substrate have the same properties as those that grow upwards. Furthermore, as long as there are no signs of mold or other pathogens, their use is just as safe. So, would you reject some magic mushrooms just because they look a bit odd?
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