table of contents


Growing mushrooms in straw has become a popular method among both hobbyists and professional cultivators due to its numerous advantages. In this guide, we delve into the step-by-step process of growing mushrooms on straw, explaining the preparation, maintenance, and harvesting stages to help you achieve a fruitful yield.

Why Choose Straw for Mushroom Cultivation

Straw is a sought-after choice for mushroom cultivation due to a few notable reasons. Firstly, it's cost-effective and easily accessible. Unlike other substrates, straw is commonly available, making it a practical choice for many growers.

Secondly, the fibrous nature of straw makes it an excellent substrate for mycelial growth. The spaces between the straw fibers allow mycelium to spread easily, providing a solid foundation for mushrooms to thrive. This fibrous structure also aids in moisture retention, a critical aspect of mushroom cultivation.

Lastly, straw's ability to retain moisture creates a conducive environment for mushroom growth. It keeps the mycelium hydrated, which is essential for healthy growth. Moreover, straw tends to decompose slowly, providing a longer time frame for mushrooms to grow.

Preparing Straw for Mushroom Growth

Preparation is key when it comes to growing mushrooms in straw. The first step is to cut the straw into shorter pieces, which makes it easier for the mycelium to colonize the substrate. A standard size is about 1 to 3 inches in length.

Pasteurization follows next and is a crucial step in preparing straw for mushroom growth. This process helps to kill off unwanted microorganisms that could compete with your mushrooms for nutrients. To pasteurize straw, you'll need to soak it in hot water at a temperature of around 160 to 175°F for about 1 to 2 hours.

After pasteurization, it's essential to drain the straw to remove excess water. The goal is to retain enough moisture for the mycelium to thrive without making the straw waterlogged. A well-drained, pasteurized straw is now ready to be used as a substrate for growing mushrooms.

Selecting Suitable Mushroom Varieties

The type of mushrooms you choose to grow will impact your cultivation experience. While many varieties can be grown on straw, straw mushrooms and psilocybe cubensis are particularly well-suited for this medium.

Straw mushrooms, as the name suggests, thrive on straw substrate. They are relatively easy to grow and yield a substantial harvest. On the other hand, growing psilocybe cubensis on straw can also yield good results, although it may require a bit more attention to detail regarding environmental conditions.

Besides these two, there are other mushroom varieties that also do well on straw. It's advisable to do some research and even experiment with different varieties to find what works best for you. Your choice might also be influenced by the climate of your region, as some mushrooms prefer warmer or cooler conditions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Mushrooms on Straw

  1. Straw Preparation: Acquire straw and cut it into short pieces. Subsequently, pasteurize the straw to rid it of any potential contaminants.
  2. Spawning: Once your straw is prepared, it's time to introduce mushroom spawn to the substrate. Mix the spawn thoroughly with the straw to ensure even colonization.
  3. Incubation: Place the straw and spawn mixture in a warm, dark place to allow the mycelium to colonize the straw fully.
  4. Maintaining Conditions: Ensure the straw remains moist and the area well-ventilated to promote healthy mushroom growth.
  5. Harvesting: Once the mushrooms have fully developed, it's time to harvest. Gently twist and pull the mushrooms from the straw, ensuring not to damage the mycelium for future flushes.

Optimizing Conditions for Growth

Creating the right conditions is vital for successful mushroom growth. Maintain a consistent temperature, ensure good air exchange, and keep the straw moist but not waterlogged. Monitoring and adjusting the conditions as necessary will support healthy mushroom development.

Harvesting and Storing Your Straw-Grown Mushrooms

Harvesting should be done once the mushrooms have fully matured but before their caps fully uncurl. After harvesting, store your mushrooms in a cool, dry place to preserve their freshness and flavor.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

You may encounter issues such as pests or mold during your mushroom growing venture. It's essential to address any problems promptly to prevent them from escalating. Maintaining cleanliness and monitoring your setup regularly can help in early identification and resolution of common growing problems.

Beyond Straw: Other Mediums for Mushroom Growing

While straw is a fantastic medium for growing mushrooms, there are other substrates like wood chips or compost that also work well for mushroom cultivation. Exploring different mediums can be a good way to find what works best for your mushroom growing endeavors.


Growing mushrooms in straw is a straightforward and cost-effective method for both beginners and seasoned cultivators. With the right preparation, maintenance, and conditions, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, home-grown mushrooms. Whether you stick with straw or venture into other substrates, the knowledge and experience gained from growing mushrooms on straw will undoubtedly serve you well in all your mushroom cultivation projects.