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I've read elsewhere that I can grow shiitake mushrooms by soaking logs/branches, drilling holes in them and inserting spores into the holes.

Since I already have some white button mushrooms from the supermarket, I'm wondering whether using spores from those would work, using a similar technique. I don't want to buy a mushroom growing kit because unless I understand the principles involved I'd probably need to keep buying new kits, which is neither economical nor sustainable.

If a wood based medium is not the best, then is there something else easily obtainable I can use instead? eg Would any of the following work, if spores were added and they were buried (in a damp but not boggy area):

  • prunings
  • grass clippings (dry or wet)
  • kitchen scraps
  • wood chips

If a bucket in a garden shed is better than burial, then that would be fine too.

I can sterilise small volumes of material by boiling, which in some case I understand is important.

In any case, I'm unlikely to use a volume of material that's more than 2-3 buckets in size, due to space constraints. I don't know whether this would affect the viability of any methods.

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According to this, you want to use composted manure and the spawn may be somewhat sensitive to initial temperature. They suggest using a heating pad to get things started.

Trying to take the technology requirements down a bit, I would suggest buying composted manure at the gardening supply store or from a local farmer, and you could either move the buckets of manure from one area to another once they have started or try to take advantage of seasonal temperature changes (starting in early fall for example). Once you have the culture started, it may be possible to divide it and mix in new manure to keep it going. This could be used to start more buckets to give to friends and family (lots of jokes are possible here) or just to rotate fresh manure through (old stuff can go on the garden).

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  • I have access to horse manure (from a nearby paddock), though probably wouldn't get enough to get it to heat up while composting. Would that be likely to matter? Feb 5, 2013 at 5:02
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    I think the big issue with it not heating up while composting is just that it might take longer to compost to the point where the fungus might thrive. Manure tends to have significant anti-fungal activity (and is used in folk medicine to treat fungal infections in many parts of the world, no I am not joking). Feb 5, 2013 at 6:51

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