How To Grow Mushrooms

20131122- NRCS- LSC-0055Photo by USDAgov

There are many people who wonder if it’s possible to grow mushrooms at their homes. Mushrooms are usually grown indoors rather than in the garden, but it’s definitely possible to grow them at home. You can set up your own area for growing mushrooms, or you can purchase mushroom growing kits. In this article we will show you how to grow mushrooms.

Types of mushrooms

Before you start growing mushrooms at home, you need to choose the kind of mushroom you’ll be growing. White button mushrooms (agricus bisporus), oyster mushrooms (pleurotus ostreatus), and shiitake mushrooms (lentinula edodes) are some popular choices when growing mushrooms at home.

You’ll have to buy spawn or spore of your chosen mushroom from a reputable dealer. You can think of spawn as seedlings and spores as seeds for the purposes of mushroom growing at home. However, spawn is easier to handle and grow mushrooms at home. Each type of mushrooms has different growing mediums. Oyster mushrooms are usually grown on straw, shitake mushrooms on hardwoods or hardwood sawdust and white button mushrooms on composted manure.

Where to grow

Mushrooms prefer, moist, cool, dark, and humid growing environments. A basement is usually ideal, but a small place under the sink may be all you need. Most mushrooms grow best in temperatures around 60 degrees F, away from direct heat, drying and drafts. For this reason, test the proposed location to check the temperature.

During summer, many basements are too warm to grow mushrooms, therefore, you might consider growing them as a winter project. The spot you pick should stay in low light or relatively dark, even though mushrooms can tolerate some light. Some types of mushrooms grow outdoors in prepared logs or ground. However, this process takes much longer than in controlled environments inside.

Growing mushrooms

You have a couple of options for materials, if you’re growing mushrooms in your home. There are mushroom kits available to buy, which are already packed with a growing medium that is inoculated with mushroom spawn. If you are growing mushrooms for the first time, buying a kit is a good way to begin. On the other hand, if you start without a kit, the substrate you grow the mushrooms on is determined by the type of mushroom you choose. Research the needs of each mushroom type.

One of the easiest types to grow are button mushrooms. Use trays (14×16-inch) about six inches deep which resemble seed flats, and fill them with the compost material and inoculate with spawn.
In order to raise the soil temperature to about 70 degrees F, use a heating pad. Do this for about 3 weeks or until you see the tiny, threadlike roots – or mycelium. Now, drop the temperature to about 60 degrees F. Use an inch or so of potting soil to cover the spawn.

Keep the soil moist. Do this by spritzing it with water and covering the soil with a damp cloth which you can spritz with water as it dries. After 3 to 4 weeks, button mushrooms should appear. You should harvest button mushrooms when the caps open and the stalk can be cut with a knife from the stem. Try to avoid pulling up the mushrooms, because you may damage surrounding fungi which are still developing. You can harvest every day and you should have crop for about 6 months.

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