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hardwood pellets for mushroom growing

Growing Mushrooms On Hardwood Fuel Pellets (HWFP)

Hardwood pellets for mushroom growing

Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust and wood shavings. They are made by specialized ammunition-making machines which process the wood products with high heat and pressure, dehydrating and, in some cases, naturally pasteurizing the wood.

Is Growing Mushrooms ON Hardwood pellets safe?

Wood pellets are generally considered safe for mushroom cultivation but may not always be guaranteed. It is best to consult with the producers of wood pellets to ensure they are not made with contaminated wood products. It’s likely safe to grow mushrooms on hardwood pellets when the shots come from an all-natural source.

What does the term hwfp stand for in mushroom growing?

HWFP stands for Hardwood Fuel Pellets and is the term used for pellets made from specific types of wood, most notably Oak. These pellets are generally used for fuel in specialized stoves but are the most valued for growing mushrooms.

How much do hardwood pellets cost?

When you buy hardwood fuel pellets locally, you can expect to pay between $10 – $30 per 20lb bag. These bulky bags, so you should clear some space in the car and be prepared for spillage by placing a tarp down or loading the pellets into totes before travel.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to do all that, you can purchase hardwood fuel pellets online, save time and energy finding them, and bring them home yourself. For most, this is the best option when sourcing wood pellets for mushroom cultivation.

If you are looking for a cheaper source of wood pellets, you may want to consider not using them. Instead, you might consider just using hardwood sawdust. You could find this at a local lumber mill or a woodworking shop, which will likely cost $0. Most shops are happy for you to take away their waste for free.

The only downside is that you might not know precisely what is in the sawdust. So speak with the business owner or employees and see if you can determine the purity of the sawdust.

hardwood for growing mushrooms

Where can I buy pellets?

As I stated earlier, you can usually buy hardwood fuel pellets at your local hardware store. The bags weigh 20 lbs each and are pretty bulky, so if you choose this option, be prepared to have some extra space in the car that day.

Another place you can buy hardwood pellets is online. This is generally easier because bringing the shots to your door saves time and money.

Can You Use Softwood or Pine Pellets?

Contrary to popular belief many growers actually have success with Pine pellets. The results can vary and may not be as effective as hardwood fuel pellets. In some cases, growers report having greater results with pine pellets over hardwood fuel pellets! This can be a good option where HWFP is inaccessible or economically unsustainable.

How Do You Grow Mushrooms On Hardwood Pellets?

There are many different ways to grow mushrooms on hardwood pellets, which is often considered the easiest way to grow mushrooms. Since bullets are usually pasteurized in pellet-making, they may not require excessive processing. They also contain very little moisture, making it possible to hydrate them to the perfect moisture level without draining them. Below are three strategies for growing mushrooms on wood pellets.

  • Pressure Cooker Method – Place the dry pellets into mushroom grow bags. Hydrate the hardwood pellets with 60% water by weight using a digital scale,  and a measuring cup.
  • Rehydration With Boiling Water – Rehydrate the pellets in a 5-gallon bucket or closable container with a 1:1 ratio of boiling water to pellets. After cooled and hydrated you can inoculate the resulting sawdust with the mushroom spawn of your choice.
  • Vinegar Method – Hydrate 20lbs of pellets with 20lbs of water + 150ml of vinegar. After hydrating for 4-5 hours the substrate is ready for inoculation!
  • Hydrating With Lime Water – Simply add 2g of hydrated lime to every liter of water and hydrate pellets with a 1:1 ratio. Wear gloves when handling the substrate and inoculate with mushroom spawn! Easy peasy!

What Mushrooms Can You Grow On Wood Pellets?

Oysters, Enoki, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and all the wood-loving mushrooms can be grown on hardwood pellets. This makes it an excellent option in regions where woody substrates are hard to get. Mushrooms that cannot be grown on wood pellets are compost-loving species like White Button Mushrooms, Portobello, and Cordyceps.

What About Paper-Based Pellets?

It would be best to ask producers about paper pellets’ quality and possible contamination. Since they are often made with byproducts or recycled materials, they may not be the best for mushroom cultivation.

How to hydrate hardwood pellets?

When hydrating your hardwood pellets for growing mushrooms, you must measure the water to ensure an adequate moisture content in each hardwood block. Generally, you want to shoot for 61-64% final moisture content.

Automatic water controller

If you’re like I was starting, you can do this by hand with a measuring cup and digital scale. But now that I’m preparing many blocks, it’s become more crucial to improving accuracy while saving time. For this, I like to use the Digital Automatic Water Flow Meter.

The reason I use it is not only because it’s more accurate, but it’s about 43 times faster than measuring the water with a cup and scale. Every minute you run a business counts, so this upgrade is a no-brainer for any size mushroom farm, large or small.

How to supplement with wheat bran

It’s a good practice when growing mushrooms on wood pellets to supplement with wheat bran, as the wood pellets don’t contain much nutrition. Although you can grow mushrooms on strictly wood pellets alone, it’s possible to get higher yields with supplementation.

Adding wheat bran at a ratio of 20% of your dry weight will get you a higher yield of mushrooms than just using the pellets. If you are adding 1000g of wood pellets to your mushroom grow bag, you must add 200g of wheat bran to supplement appropriately.

It should be noted that more is not always better. A higher ratio of wheat bran, like 30% or more, can stunt and deform the mushroom fruiting bodies and is not a surefire way to get higher yields with hardwood fuel pellets.

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