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Growing Mushrooms In A Bag

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Growing Mushrooms In A Bag

Mushrooming Growth Has Surprising Start

Mushroom Growth Is All Fun-gi For This Local Man

Interest in mushroom growing has turned into a passion for Justin Bergman, who has enjoyed much success growing a variety of oyster mushrooms not in a factory or a greenhouse, but in a bag. He has produced gorgeous elm oysters, pink oysters, king oysters and blue oysters with such success that he is currently beginning to grow reishi, lions mane, shiitake, maitake and cordyceps.

Justin’s interest in agriculture began on his family tobacco and ginseng farm. When his family retired from farming, he continued to grow his own vegetables and spices. When he thought of adding mushrooms to his garden, he became fascinated with how these eco-friendly, nutrient dense fungi could be grown in small spaces.

The advantages of growing mushrooms in a bag, which include time-efficiency, harvest yields and nutrient dense discard which can be reused for green plants, have paid off for Bergman.

He explains that the bag ingredients are simple: sawdust, optional added nutrient, and water.

Although the ingredients are simple, the growth process is more involved. To ensure mycelium grows properly throughout the bag and to eliminate competition from bacteria and mold, the bag must be sterilized. After that, mycelium is added to the bag, which has a filtre patch on it for gas exchange. From there, the grow room must be set to optimum conditions, which include high humidity and constant air exchange, because, unlike their green garden counterparts, mushrooms breath oxygen and produce carbon dioxide.

Bergman learned much of his information from credible mycologists, and suggests seeking them out because there is a great deal of misinformation online regarding mushroom growing. “Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms” by Paul stamets is Bergman’s suggested reading.

He also advises educating yourself on the “actual science” for maximized creativity and efficiency. “Growing mushrooms is not linear.” adds Bergman, “There are many ways you can do things to achieve the same goals. What works for other people might not work for you.”

When he is not growing mushrooms, Bergman pursues his other two passions: sports and music. He can be found cheering for the Leafs, Manchester United, Canadian tennis players, and the Calgary Stampeders (the team for which his brother played). If Bergman isn’t listening to music himself, he can oft be found jamming with his band, called Easy As Pi.

Bergman is hoping growing mushrooms will afford him the opportunity to sustain a living doing something about which he is passionate. He hopes this will translate into educating as many people as possible about the health benefits of certain medicinal mushrooms. “There have been many studies showing the power behind these mushrooms having a wide variety of medical benefits” says Bergman, adding that they are either eaten or used in teas and tinctures.

Bergman says that growing mushrooms in a bag does take willingness to experiment and patience, but he loves seeing the results of each step of the mushroom growing process. He notes that, especially with the faster growing mushrooms, each morning he can wake to find major difference in the size of the mushrooms. He adds that, in addition to the wonder of the growth process, the end result is a different kind of fabulous: “I am able to eat delicious mushrooms in a dish.” 


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