How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in 2020

How to Grow Mushrooms at Home: A Guide for Home Gardeners

Mushrooms are a great source of nutrients and they are consumed in many different ways, be it as a pizza topping or grilled outdoors with just a pinch of mozzarella melting in the caps over the fire. Mushrooms have a high content of fibers, are rich in antioxidants, contain copper and potassium, and have plenty of B vitamins. But when it comes to growing them, what are some of the things that you should know beforehand?

Mushroom Growth FAQ

Can You Regrow Mushrooms?

Yes, you can, but the process is considered to be rather difficult. It takes about 10 to 15 days to do so and, if you’re interested in doing it, you will have to save some mushroom stems for that. You can then transfer them to moist soil, but there are high chances that they will rot.

What Conditions are Needed for a Mushroom to Grow?

First of all, mushrooms need a moist environment to thrive, but the percentage level needed varies from one type of mushroom to another. As for the temperature, that also depends on the mushroom variety (shiitake mushroom need temperatures between 72 and 78° F. Another requirement for mushroom growth is a proper combination of organic matter that contains nitrogen, protein, fats, starch, lignin, and sugar.

oyster mushrooms growing outdoors in bags of peat

How Long Does It Take to Grow Mushrooms?

Again, it’s important to note that different times of mushroom take different periods of time to grow. For example, truffles can grow in 10 years, while oyster mushrooms are ready for harvest in 10 days. You can also purchase mushroom growth kits and have mushrooms that grow in 10 days.

Is it Hard to Grow Mushrooms?

This fully depends on the mushrooms you want to grow and where you want to grow them. The easiest way to grow mushrooms is to buy a mushroom kit that basically comes with instructions and everything you need to get mushrooms whilst putting in a minimum amount of effort. Mushrooms grown on logs, for example, have a much more complicated process, so it’s usually more of a challenge for non-expert gardeners.

How to Grow Mushrooms

Because there are many different ways to grow mushrooms, we are going to divide this chapter in order to show you the multiple ways and steps in which you can have your own mushroom harvest.

#1: Indoor Growth with Mushroom Kits

  • Mushroom growing kits come with an already-inoculated and incubated substrate so that you can start growing them the moment you receive your kit.
  • These kits typically require that you cut a hole in the bad and add water/mist to your kit every day. In about a week, you should be able to see mushrooms emerging. They should reach full maturity in about two weeks.
  • Mushroom kits come with instructions that will guide you through the growth process.
  • Using a mushroom kit is actually a great way to get mushrooms if you are a beginner gardener or you simply want to harvest them faster. They can also help you understand more about the life cycle of fungi.

oyster mushrooms grown from a kit

#2: Growing Button Mushrooms

  • These are some of the most common types of mushrooms that people like to eat. They are likely the ones that you’re used to buying from markets and stores and cooking at home.
  • To start growing your own button mushrooms, you will need trays filled with composted manure which then needs to be inoculated with button mushroom spawn.
  • Because the soil needs to constantly be at around 70° F, you can place a heating pad underneath the tray. Keep the heating pad there to provide the soil with constant heat for about three weeks (or until you notice mycelium).
  • Once you start to notice these threadlike roots emerging from the soil, cover them with an inch of potting soil, and reduce the temperature to 55 or 60° F.
  • During this entire time, you will have to spray the soil with water to make sure it stays moist. You might also need to cover the soil with a damp cloth for better results. If you add a cloth on top, make sure you spray that as well; mushrooms need all the moisture they can get.
  • Button mushrooms reach maturity in about a month (maybe even less). When they are ready for harvest, you can pick them by using a sharp knife to cut the base of the stem.

button mushrooms on a cutting board

#3: Growing Mushrooms Outdoors on Logs

  • A lot of people are skeptical about growing mushrooms indoors, even if there is no evidence that this could attract any problems. However, it is also understandable if you want to grow your mushrooms outdoors, and you can grow them on logs or in special mushroom beds.
  • Mushrooms that grow outside often thrive on hardwood logs. Shiitake mushrooms are the best example of that. The first step for log mushroom growth is to determine the number of spawn plugs you need. For example, a log measuring 4 feet will require between 30 to 50 plugs for complete coverage.
  • Drill holes that are spaced 6 inches apart.
  • Insert the plug spawn dowels by gently hitting them with a hammer. The plugs should be below the bark’s surface.
  • The next step requires you to seal the plugged holes. Wax is the best way to do so (with cheese wax being the most common). You will need to heat up the wax and melt it and then use a wax dauber to apply wax to the holes. Make sure that you cover all the plugs to seal them and protect your mycelium.

edible mushrooms growing on log outdoors

  • Once all these steps have been completed, you can leave your logs in a shady place. Keep in mind that you want your logs to benefit from good air circulation, but also have them maintain a proper humidity level.
  • You can use a hose to water the logs once or twice a week. Never leave the logs to dry out completely or the mycelium will die.
  • You can also shock your logs if you want to speed up the growth process. The method implies soaking the logs in cold water for a full day.
  • The majority of shrooms grown on logs can be harvested once or twice per year, typically in spring and fall. Since there are different factors that contribute to how fast or slow your shrooms will grow, make sure you check on your logs frequently. It is not uncommon for shrooms to pop up out of nowhere and be ready for harvest.
  • Never leave the mushroom on the logs for two long. After three weeks of reaching maturity, they become too tough to be edible. Plus, they will now be exposed to all sorts of pests and diseases.

#4: Growing Mushrooms Outdoors in Beds

mushrooms growing in beds outdoors

  • You can also plant mushrooms in a mushroom garden bed, but you will have to make sure it’s placed outside in a shady spot.
  • It is up to you if you want to grow your mushrooms in a regular garden bed or you want to make a raised bed, like the one that’s used for growing other types of vegetables. A lot of people like to make raised beds out of inoculated logs so that they can grow more mushroom varieties.
  • Unlike vegetable beds, mushroom beds generally require about 6 inches of substrate.
  • The rules for growing mushrooms outdoors in a mushroom bed will vary depending on the type of mushrooms that you’re looking to grow. Some spawns, for example, have different temperature requirements than others, so it’s important to you read the information about your specific spawn.
  • If you are a beginner gardener or have never grown mushrooms before, wine caps are a really good variety to start with. Experts recommend avoiding growing button mushroom outdoors as there are several other poisonous varieties that look a lot like button shrooms in their early stages of growth.

Conclusion

Unlike other things people grow in their garden, mushrooms are very distinct and rather pretentious when it comes to the growth process. The good news is that you have many different options when it comes to how you want to grow your shrooms, but some of these methods are really complex and not the most suitable for beginners.

If you are interested in growing your own mushrooms, buying a mushroom kit is a great idea for starters. It will teach you more about the way in which mushrooms grow and as you begin to understand their growth cycle, you will be able to tackle more difficult mushroom growth challenges.

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