Spore Power

So what exactly is a spore?

A spore is a very small single-celled asexual reproductive body produced by many flowering plants, fungi and some bacteria and protozoans that is capable of developing into a new individual without sexual fusion.  So what that means  is that a spore is just like a seed, but it does’nt require pollination to get formed like most other plants and flowers.  It is amazing how such a small microscopic bit of material can blossom into an infinite form of life that can grow and change entire ecosystems.

Then there is the popular game called SPORE

It is not that difficult to keep the two concepts seperated but some people do get them mixed up. If you were to type in the word “spore” in any search engine you will see the website for the game SPORE come up in first place.  This has nothing to do with actual spores from mushrooms and plant life other than the fact they are both related to spawning creation and beginning of life.  The game is very interesting and does pose a metaphor describing the potential power of a single spore.  If given the right combination of temperature, humdity, and nutrients a single spore can grow into a variety of life forms, then creating a food chain for entire species to feed off of. 

Did all life begin with a single spore?

There is some theories out there from scientists such as Hermann von Helmholtz in Germany, Lord Kelvin in England, and Svante Arrhenius in Sweden, who promoted the concept that all life was created on earth from sperms or spores or life floating around the universe waiting to take root in the right environment or a planet body with perfect conditions.  This idea is known as the Panspermia Hypothesis and suggests that spores of life existing on comets and meteors are wandering around and being pushed by solar radiation.  Could this be how life on earth was started?

The power of the spore…

So now you have a small taste of the infinite power of the spore.  Such a tiny little speck that we can’t even see with the naked eye holds amazing potential and power to start and in some cases end life.  Next time you see the mushrooms popping up in your yard in on the path you can think about how they reproduce.  Spreading the spores throughout the wind just like comets and meteors floating in space, you never know we just might be close relatives and all come from the same spore.

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Basic information about growing mushrooms

What you need to grow mushrooms from home
It may seem overwhelming at first when you see so many different things like substrates, and mushroom kits, pressure cookers and mycology supplies. It is a lot of stuff to manage.
This article should help put it all in perspective allowing you to get exactly what you need to start growing. If you have not already done so please quickly read “The Mushroom Life Cycle” so you have an understanding of how mushrooms reproduce. If you already know about spores, germination, and mycelium colonizing them you are good to go.
To grow mushrooms you need 3 basic things:  1) Mushroom spores / liquid culture, 2) Substrate / growing mediuim, and 3) an environment or chamber to control the light, temperature and humidity.
1) Mushroom spore / Liquid Culture.
First you need the spores or culture of the mushroom you want to grow. Most common is a mixture of spores and water in a syringe, this method is reliable and works well but can take some time.  A live culture, or liquid culture syringe will work much faster but is more complicated to create and manage.  Learn more about spore syringes – learn more about liquid and live cultures.
2) Substrates and Growing Mediums.
The next component for growing mushrooms is a substrate or actual growing medium.  This is like the soil for plants, it helps feed the mushroom mycelium and gives the mushrooms a main base to launch there growth from.  There is a wide variety of substrates to choose from in different formats such as jars or bags, the most common is rye grain as it works well with many different mushrooms.
Learn more about using substrates.
3) The Growing Chamber
The final and most important component is your actual growing environment.  This can range from a simple plastic tub to a fully automated system controlling humidity, light, and temperature settings.  As long as you can maintain the temp and humidity you are good to grow.
Learn more about building a grow chamber.
Bringing it all together – Inoculation
Now you need to bring them all together.  The first step is to produce mycelium from the spores or culture.  To do this you need to inject your spores or liquid culture syringe into the substrate and incubate it until the spores germinate and fully colonize the substrate to form a chunk of mycelium. For incubation you want to keep your substrate in a warm, dark place while keeping the correct incubation temp specific to your mushroom species. This incubation and colonization process can take anywere from 2-8 weeks depending on the species, strain and growing chamber used. 
Casing the mycelium, or fruit directly
After you have a fully colonized jar or bag of mycelium you can decide if you want to fruit direct, or break it up into casing.
Fruiting from Jars
With jars you would need to get the block of mycelium out of the glass / plastic jar and then place it in your grow chamber to begin fruiting. You can stack up the blocks of myclium to form a pyramid or just have the blocks placed inside your chamber. 
Fruiting a Grow Bag
With a grow bag you can actually fruit it directly inside the bag. All you need to do is add light and keep the FAE (fresh air exchange) flowing and mushrooms will grow filling up the bag.  Checkout our Monster Mushroom Compost Bags for more info and pictures.
Break it up into a Casing Layer
Another technique seperate from fruiting directly is to break the mycelium up and use in a casing. This method combines another step and layer of substrate to allow the mycelium to gather more strength and surface area thus creating much more mushrooms larger in size.  More about Casing.  And also you should consider the Mushbox Casing Kit for getting started in mushroom growing.
With either method you choose once you have a fully colonized substrate as a jar, grow bag, or even a casing layer you can begin the pinning process by exposing the mycelium to light and maintaining fruiting temperatures.  Within a couple weeks, sometimes much sooner depending on the strain of mushroom, you should start to see pinheads forming along the surface of the mycelium.  After seeing your first pinheads the mushrooms will be growing very fast and you should be ready to harvest your first flush very soon.  You will know when they are ready to pick when the caps are fully open and the veil is just about to break or has already broken.
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Spore, the Creature Creator Game

Back in 2008 a game was released on PC called SPORE.  This game was and still is a huge success winning several awards and creating an almost cult like following.  The game Spore is basically all about creating your own life and universe as you start off as a single cell life form.  From there you go through the 5 stages of evolution: Cell, Creature, Tribe, Civilization, and Space.  It is very unique since you don’t even have to go through all of that required process you can just stay on the planet and create endless combinations of vehicles, buildings, creatures, and spaceships with the amazing creator tools.

  • CREATE Your Universe from Microscopic to Macrocosmic – From tide pool amoebas to thriving civilizations to intergalactic starships, everything is in your hands.
  • EVOLVE Your Creature through Five Stages – It’s survival of the funnest as your choices reverberate through generations and ultimately decide the fate of your civilization.
  • EXPLORE your world and beyond – Will you rule, or will your beloved planet be blasted to smithereens by a superior alien race?
  • SHARE with the world – Everything you make is shared with other players and vice versa, providing tons of cool creatures to meet and new places to visit.

While Spore is a single player game, your creations and other players’ creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play within. The online system updates and shares the creations so you can compete and compare your lifeforms. All started from a single cell spore.

This game is an amazing example of how life could have formed exactly in this manner.  Who knows… maybe we are all just inside some amazing complex game being controlled by external beings just like in this SPORE game.  Sort of like the Matrix.  I guess we will never know.

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