When growing magic mushrooms at home, one of the most common problems you may face is side shoots. But what are they really? How can you get rid of them and prevent them from damaging your mushroom crop? Fortunately, you just need to follow a few simple steps and tips to avoid them.
When you grow magic mushrooms in the land, especially in a container, you run the risk of ending up with this problem. These shoots, also called pins, usually grow on the sides of the substrate when magic mushrooms start to fruit and can spoil the whole harvest. For this reason, preventing its occurrence is extremely important. Besides, it’s easier than you might think.
👾 What are magic mushroom side shoots?
Side shoots are magic mushrooms that grow on the side of the substrate. Hearing or reading its name, it is common to think that it refers to stems that grow with an odd shape and appearance around the crop. However, what you will see when they start appearing are mushrooms that are very similar to the ones you want to get.
The substrate is the food of the mushrooms. It is made of natural materials that promote its growth. Therefore, side shoots can be very damaging.
Their training is linked to the field in which they operate. Usually a small gap remains between the container and the substrate in which, under certain conditions, side shoots may appear.
The reason is that as the culture progresses the substrate tends to shrink. This process is responsible for creating the ideal microclimate for magic mushrooms, even in a small space, to grow in this direction.
But why is this a problem? In theory and composition, these sprouts are exactly the same as other magic mushrooms. However, they can be a big drawback for your crop. The main factor behind this problem is its location.
The area where they grow is very small, so the shoots grow, pressing against the walls of the container. In addition, it is also characterized by being very humid. Therefore, given the humidity and lack of space, these areas become a breeding ground for pathogens such as mold and bacteria.
Now that you know the conditions and things that promote side shoot growth, you need to ask yourself what to do to avoid them. There is the 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.
Pay attention to humidity levels.
One of the main things you can do to prevent side shoots from appearing is to control humidity levels. Make sure they are correct and that the substrate remains sufficiently moist. To do this, you can spray its surface with water at times when it needs more moisture.
You should also prevent the substrate from drying out. Keeping its surface moist encourages magic mushrooms to grow in that direction. This way you can optimize the microclimate in this area and prevent the fungi from drifting to one side.
Spray the substrate properly.
You cannot over-spray the substrate. The ideal way to do this is directly from above, placing the water tank at a distance that allows the droplets to fall lightly on the crop. This is the process known as “substrate spray“.
You can spray the surface liberally, but you need to make sure that too much water does not collect. Also, if you are using a grow kit, you can sometimes spray the sides of the bag as this method is much safer.
It is also advisable to control the air circulation in the area where you have the culture. The constant air flow will cause the substrate to dry out. Therefore, you should try to reduce its entry to allow the formation of water droplets on the surface.
Line the base and side of the substrate.
This option can be useful if you have a grow kit and are preparing your own substrate. In that case, you can line both the base and sides of the substrate to reduce shoot growth.
To do this, you can use a plastic bag. Just place it around the substrate, covering all sides so that if it shrinks, the coating does the same. This will make it impossible for the mushrooms to deviate to the sides, so they will continue to grow upwards.
Block the entry of the light.
The previous step has another purpose: to block the light that reaches the sides of the substrate. In addition to limiting the space where pins can grow, you need to block out the light that typically hits those areas.
However, a liner is not the only alternative to do this. In fact, if you use a transparent bag, you will not accomplish this task. Therefore, you need to adjust the light to where you have your crop or move the container to another location.
Light can promote shoot growth, but it is not a primary trigger, therefore, it is advisable to pay more attention to humidity and protection of the sides of the substrate.
📱 The side shoots have already grown, what should I do with them?
If you can already see side shoots of magic mushrooms in your growing medium, using a good coating and controlling humidity are no longer effective measures. So what if you get to this point? There is also a solution!
You can harvest them just like you would your magic mushrooms. Let them grow next to the shoots and harvest all the mushrooms at once when they are cooked. Ideally, when this happens, you pour water into the container to carefully lift the substrate. Then empty the container and put it back. It’s as simple as it sounds, but you have to comply with sterilization to avoid contamination.
Side shoots do not have a sickly appearance like other formations of this type. However, they are not as attractive as magic mushrooms that grow well on the surface. Does that mean they are completely unnecessary? In fact, they are not.
The magic mushrooms they create on the sides of the substrate have the same properties as those that grow upwards. Also, as long as there is no sign of mold or other pathogen, it is just as safe to consume. So would you turn down some magic mushrooms just because they look a little strange?
Alan Martínez Benito
CEO of Pev Grow, expert grower with over 20 years of experience.
In constant struggle for the regulation of cannabis, mainly in the medical field.
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