Mushroom Farm Experiment

Posted: September 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


   A while back I helped a friend of mine grow mushrooms here in Albania. The single most costly issue was having enough spawn to get the process going. Shipping to Albania is very expensive and many will not ship here. I found a place to ship small quantities to me and we made do. At the early stage it really didn’t matter, we had enough at 180 grams.

  The top pictures are the first habitat that we tried and while we grew mushrooms it was small, and didn’t allow for enough light for our species to grow to their full potential. At this stage we recorded our moisture both in the substrate and the air everyday. We learned a lot.

   My partner in crime Nik decided that we should convert his wood shed. So we did. We covered the walls with insulation and plastic on the inside. Made the top portion of the Southeast wall clear to allow enough light in. We had large bushes diffusing any direct light before it hit our windows so it worked out perfectly. We used blankets soaked in water as a humidity control, but soon found that with the concrete floor after getting the humidity up to about 90% we only needed to wet the floor every other day to maintain at least 85%. It worked out perfectly.

    Unfortunately Nik discovered that this business would take too much time away from his primary business of his restaurant. So after having success with growing our second batch of test mushrooms  he decided that he could not pursue this further.

   I agreed to carry on the experiment in the hopes that someone else would be interested in taking our lessons learned and my new batch of locally cultivated spores that were becoming spawn to the next level. Commercial production of mushrooms in Albania. I was successful growing a third batch of mushrooms from the spawn I produced. I also experimented with Shitake, Lions Head, Wine and King Mushrooms. I was successful with those except for the Shitake, though my yield of the wine mushrooms was not great, but I am sure I could have improved it over time.

  I offered our experiments and lessons to three people here and while everyone was hot to trot to start, once they realized farming mushrooms isn’t quite as easy as they think they backed out. Now to be honest one just couldn’t find a space to make it happen and was probably the best choice of the three, but he was space poor. I told him if he is ever interested again I would help him get it started.

   So in summary:

   Phase one: Grow Oyster Mushrooms consistently in a straw substrate. Accomplished.

   Phase two: Cultivate and collect spores to reproduce in commercial quantities. Accomplished.

   Phase three: Begin growing commercial quantities year round. Not accomplished

   Phase four: Expand other Mushroom experiments for commercial runs. Not accomplished.


   It was a great experiment for me as I didn’t know anything about growing mushrooms and still have tons to learn.  The entire experiment lasted from September 2015 to April of 2016. I did cultivate, inoculate, spawn  and grow oyster mushrooms from spores. I was very happy with the results. It can be done inexpensively in Albania. It would have created at least 5 jobs and a whole new industry of recycling the waste stream for either compost or animal feed.

    So Albania has to rely on imported mushrooms until some other Albanian entrepreneur takes it up. We learned a lot and had few laughs along the way.

   Back to the Forge!











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