A mushroom is a body of fungi that produces fruit, and these are easy to grow on logs or in damp soil. There are several edible mushrooms along with poisonous varieties. Edible mushrooms include buttons and oyster mushrooms that are widely used in food.
Ganoderma and Lingzhi are largely employed in medications and dietary supplements for the treatment of various diseases. Mushrooms have the potential to absorb toxins from the soil and even air; therefore, it is important to only use organic mushrooms.
However, you can grow your own mushrooms easily. There are a few tips and tricks to help you grow your own mushrooms:
Decide on the Type of Mushroom
Three types of mushrooms are easy to grow at home, being shiitake, white button, and oyster. You have to provide an ideal growing medium for each type of mushroom.
Oyster mushrooms can grow best in the same substrate as shiitakes, which is straw and hardwood sawdust. Meanwhile, button mushrooms require composted manure for better growth. These growing mediums reflect the nutritional needs of each species of mushroom, though each of these three species can grow in straw or sawdust. You can select whichever mushroom is more to your taste.
Purchase Mushroom Spawn
Mushroom spawn is permeated sawdust with mycelia that are an essential root structure of the fungus. It is used just like seedlings of plants to facilitate growth. You can purchase good quality spawn from online retailers or gardening supply store. If you can visit organic stores, it will be an even better choice or you.
Buying spawn instead of spores can be beneficial; some retailers sell spores, which are akin to the seeds of particular plants, instead of seedlings. It may require more practice and time to grow mushrooms from spores and it is recommended for seasonal mushrooms growers.
Sterilize Your Growing Medium
If you want to use sawdust or straw as growing medium for mushrooms, it is necessary to sterilize these mediums before inoculating the spawn. To sterilize your growing medium, put it in any microwave-safe bowl and add water to damp sawdust or straw.
Put this bowl in your microwave and heat it for two minutes on high heat or until the water starts boiling. It will help you to kill any microorganisms, and you will get a safe growing medium for your mushroom mycelia. You will have to work in small batches to sterilize large quantities of sawdust or straw.
Heat Growing Medium to Spread Mycelia
Mycelia in mushroom spawn need to spread in the growing medium completely before they can begin producing your favorite mushrooms. You need to provide warm temperatures to encourage the growth of mycelia.
After selecting an appropriate medium according to your mushroom species, you have to put a handful of this medium in a baking pan. The shallow pan will offer a large area to your mushrooms to grow.
Carefully mix spawn in your growing medium with the help of your fingers. Put the baking pan on a heating pad set to around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). This temperature is perfect to encourage growth.
Arrange this setup in a dark environment, such as a cabinet, for nearly three weeks. This procedure will help you to infuse the mushroom mycelia in the growing medium.
Put Your Growing Medium in a Suitable Environment
After three weeks, you have to put this pan in a cool and dark environment of around 55 degrees F (13 degrees C). Your basement will work well for this purpose, but the drawer or cabinet of an unheated room can be a good choice in the winter season.
You have to cover your growing medium with one handful of potting soil and spray the whole mixture with sufficient water to dampen it thoroughly. You can place a damp towel on the pan to avoid any moisture loss. You should keep this mixture fresh and moist to provide a suitable growing environment for your mushrooms. Check it frequently and spray with water as necessary.
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Harvest Your Fully Grown Mushrooms
At around three weeks, you will notice small mushrooms in your growing medium. You will need to continue managing the huminity of the environment and keep it dark and cool to encourage these mushrooms to grow larger.
Once the mushroom caps grow completely and become separate from their stems, they are ready to harvest. You can pluck these mushrooms with your fingers, but this may damage the newly developed fungi under the surface. You can use a sharp knife instead to cut these mushrooms from the base of the stem.
It would be good to rinse these mushrooms properly before eating or cooking. You can store surplus mushrooms in a paper bag; they should keep in your refrigerator for about a week.
Alternate Growth Method
For initial growers, ready-made growing kits are available. These are easy and fun options to grow mushrooms. These kits have plastic bags filled with pasteurized and inoculated soil or straw. You have to keep your plastic bag in the right conditions; after 7- 10 days, you will get homegrown organic mushrooms.
This ready-to-use kit can cost between $20 and $30. You can use them to grow lots of common varieties of mushrooms, such as lion’s mane, Portobello, crimini, white button, oyster and shiitake mushrooms.
- To start the growing procedure, open the bag and put it in any brightly-lit location for direct sunlight, such as a windowsill. This kit can be kept at a normal temperature, but you should mist it with water on a regular basis to maintain its humidity levels.
- The mushrooms may start to shoot after 7 – 10 days, but you can expect 2 or 3 flushes of growth during three months.
- The great thing about these kits is that after finishing producing mushrooms, you can bury them under any bark mulch or mix in the compost pile. Even more mushrooms may pop up in this spot if the weather conditions are compatible.
Coffee Grinds to Grow Mushrooms
You can grow mushrooms in coffee grounds, which can be a fun project. Coffee grounds offer an amazing growing medium for oyster mushrooms and other particular species. This medium is already sterilized because of how coffee is brewed, and is filled with nutrients.
For around 500 grams mushroom spawn, you can use 2.5 kilograms of fresh coffee grounds. The best way to get this particular amount of coffee is to visit a café and nicely ask coffee grounds. They will often be happy to give it to you.
- You will need a container to grow your mushrooms, and the best thing is the use of a mesh patch growing bag. You can purchase one along with mushroom spawn. You can also use one large sealable bag or a cleansed ice-cream tub or milk carton with four small holes in the sides.
- Carefully wash your hands with some anti-bacterial soap and mix your mushroom spawn in with the coffee grounds. Break them with your hands to ensure that they are equally distributed. Put the inoculated grinds of coffee in a container or plastic bag and seal securely.
- Place your container or bag in a dark and warm location between 64 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 25 Celsius), similar to your airing cupboard or under your sink. Leave it for around three weeks or until it turns completely white, which is caused by mycelia colonizing the coffee grinds.
- Once the content of container of coffee bag turns white, you can move it to a shaded area. Cut one 2” by 2” hole at its top. Spray the content of your container with water two times a day to prevent drying, as mushrooms will not grow in situations that are too dry.
- In the next 5 to 7 days, tiny mushrooms will start to sprout. Continue to spray them with water and they will be double in size in time. Once the caps of these mushrooms turn upward, you can harvest them.
- Once the mushrooms have stopped sprouting, you can plant the coffee grinds in compost or under the mulch of bark to develop more mushrooms, depending on the weather.
Develop Mushrooms on a Tree
Another unusual method to grow particular types of mushrooms, such as Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Reishi, and Phoenix Oyster is by using trees.
You have to inoculate hardwood logs with the help of birch plugs that are fully colonized by the mycelium of mushrooms. These plugs are easy to buy online and from specialist suppliers of mushroom spores.
Initially, you have to find a suitable log to grow mushrooms. These logs may cut from hardwood and non-aromatic trees such as oak, poplar, elm, and maple. You should get a log that’s 4 feet (1.2 meters) in length and 14 inches in diameter. Make sure to get a log that has been harvested around two weeks in the past, as this seasoned wood will have natural anti-fungal properties.
If you want to colonize a four-foot log, you should have around 50 plugs. These plugs are easy to insert in the log with the use of 5/16 inch drill bit.
You have to make 2” deep holes with this drill in a diamond pattern along the entire log. The holes should have 4 inches space between them. Put one birch plug in one hole and tap it with your hammer to completely insert in the log. Replicate his process with the other plugs.
If you want to leave this log outdoors, you will have to seal the holes with beeswax or cheese wax to protect your plugs from harsh weather and insects. If you want to keep this log indoors, such as in the basement or the garage, you can avoid the use of wax.
With the passage of time, the mushroom mycelium will spread from plugs throughout the whole log. This process continues until the entire piece of wood has been successfully colonized.
Once it is colonized, the mushroom will start to sprout from the cracks in the log. It will take almost 9 to 12 months of proper humidity and temperature conditions, but it will continue to produce mushrooms on an annual basis.
After harvesting mushrooms, you can secure them for later use. These mushrooms are good to use in soups, stews, salads, and pizzas. There are a few preservation methods:
If you want to consume mushrooms as soon as possible, you can keep them in the refrigerator. You should use a paper bag because plastic can cause mold to grow. Fresh mushrooms are stronger than dried mushrooms, but it is difficult to measure them. Fresh mushroom will have a unique taste depending on their strain and their growing conditions.
The best way to protect your mushrooms is by drying them as soon as you can after picking. It is essential to dry them away from heat or chemicals. You can put mushrooms in an airtight container with some desiccant. You can buy a drying kit from a specialty provider that has the required materials.
Another method to dry mushrooms makes use of the help of moving air. Put them in front of a fan, but keep them away from heat. Moving air will dry them in about a week. You can also use a food dehydrator; if the dehydrator doesn’t have a switch to turn off the heat, you will have to remove the heating elements yourself.
Be aware that air-drying may not dry all moisture from your mushrooms. To accelerate the speed of air-drying, you can cut mushrooms laterally into quarters and halves, which will increase their surface area.
To get maximum advantage of the air-drying method, first, dry them in the air and then put them in your drying kit to remove every remaining bit of moisture in the mushrooms.
Your mushrooms should become brittle and dry. If you feel any flexibility in them, it means you’re your mushrooms are not completely dry. You can repeat the drying process and store dried mushrooms in any sealed container with desiccant packs.
Keep your mushrooms away from light and heat. For long term storage, it will be good to use the Hygrolid drying system.
Tips and Tricks to Increase Mushroom Growth
- Inoculation is an important part of the growing process. You should inoculate the area to clean it and reduce air movement near mushrooms. You should turn off any nearby A/C units and fans.
- Before using the syringe needle, sterilize it with one light for only a few seconds before injecting your spores. Shake the full syringe to mix the microscopic spores.
- If you are using jars for mushroom growth, you have to incubate jars at almost 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It will increase the speed of growth, and the first sign of growth can be noticed within 4 to 9 days.
- Indirect light for the growth of mushrooms is necessary, and you can use room light or daylight for this purpose. If you are growing mushrooms in the basement, you can use hand lights to see the growth of mushrooms.
- When your mushrooms are ready to harvest, they will have a particular size and texture. You can carefully check the size of your mushrooms and use a sharp knife or scissor to cut the mushrooms from their stems.
- You will find mushrooms and spore spawn from various retailers and online vendors. Your selected mushroom spawn should have sawdust with essential mycelia. Keep it in mind that mycelia are an important part of root structure for fungus, and it helps your root in its growth. You can facilitate the indoor growth of mushrooms with the aid of this mixture.
- Once your mushrooms are ready, you shouldn’t pluck or twist them. These can stop the future growth of mushrooms. If you want to support the growth of mushrooms in the future, cut them from the base of their stems. The mushrooms will grow again in the next growing period. After completing their growing limit, you can mix them in your compost or under a tree trunk. You may get another batch of mushrooms if environmental conditions are ideal.
- If you want to grow mushrooms on wooden logs, always select healthy trees to cut wood logs. Cut wood logs during the dormant season (between the end of autumn and the beginning of spring). You should cut them around 2 – 4 feet long and 4 inches wide. You should led these logs age around two weeks, but you shouldn’t let it dry out. It should have enough moisture to inoculate the mushroom spawn. A decaying log will feed mushrooms for almost 4 to 6 years, but you should inoculate your log at least once.
Carefully secure these mushrooms or sell them at your local farmer’s market for profit. You can use them in soups, stews, broth, and pizzas. With the help of this method, you can grow any rare variety that is not available on the market.
Mushrooms have lots of healthy benefits, but you should keep them away from toxic chemicals and other materials.
Our Top Pick For Growing Mushrooms
For food or entertainment, grow the best mushrooms you can!