Mushroom cultivation covers the life cycle of mushrooms, from germination and mating, to expansion, to fructification and spore collection.

During the whole process mycelium can expand greatly, spores from one mushroom can make tens of agar plates, then hundreds of grain spawn jars, to inoculate tons of bulk substrate and produce tons of mushroom caps. Mushroom culture is composed of three steps :
Steps of mushroom cultivation: agar, grain and bulk substrate
Steps of mushroom cultivation: agar, grain and bulk substrate

  1. Obtaining master culture on agar from spores or mushroom tissue
  2. Spawn production on grain from agar and from grain
  3. Fructification on bulk substrate from spawn
Master and spawn production require sterile techniques (e.g. sterilized workspace, pressure sterilization of agar and grain), later steps only require a partial sterilization of bulk substrate.

As a beginner you may want to start from bulk substrate fructification then with experience learn spawn production, then agar culture. You may also skip the first and last step, as in BRF (Brown Rice Floor) technique, and directly inoculate grain jar with spores that you directly fructify.