Mushroom growing…DIY…an expanding practice for those who 1) want to know where their mushrooms are coming from and 2) truly appreciate the powerful benefits of mushrooms.
You can always go and purchase them from your local grocery store or supermarket. However, you don’t really know where those mushrooms came from or what chemicals were used to grow them. Have you ever wondered what is done to make them so perfect? Additionally, many of the best mushrooms are not easily available.
You could try foraging through forests for the perfect mushrooms. While this can be a lot of fun and very satisfying, it, of course, requires a lot of research and preparation to minimize the risks of picking up the wrong mushroom.
This may be the perfect opportunity to tap into the “grow your own food” movement and learn to grow your own mushrooms. This step by step guide will help you get started with the basics of mushroom farming for beginners.
Choose a Type of Mushroom
When deciding on a type of mushroom to grow, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you want to grow a mushroom that you find delectable, especially if you like to cook. Second, it is highly recommended that beginners start by growing specific mushrooms that have proven to be easier to cultivate.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we will focus on growing oyster mushrooms since they are generally considered to be the easiest to grow. Many of the following growing techniques can be transferable between other beginner mushrooms.
Obtain the Spawn
Since growing your own mushroom spawn is an extremely difficult and labor-intensive process, we recommend purchasing your spawn from a retailer. You can procure mushroom spawn from many online retailers as well as local garden centers.
As you learn more about the process you may choose to grow your own spawn, starting from a spore. This is much more difficult and involves taking a “spore print” from an existing mushroom. I find it fascinating, however, for newbies to mushroom cultivation, consider starting from spawn and expand later.
Choose Your Substrate – What the Mushroom Grows On or In
Now that you have chosen to grow oyster mushrooms and have obtained oyster mushroom spawn, you will need a substrate in which to grow your mushrooms. Every mushroom will have a different type of substrate that they thrive in.
Oyster mushrooms are great for beginners because they are relatively adaptable and can grow in many different types of substrate. Consider using straw, sawdust, corn husks, wood shavings, or cardboard as your substrate for oyster mushrooms.
Whatever substrate you choose, you will need to treat it prior to cultivation. Options for treating substrate include stovetop pasteurization, lime baths, and cold fermentation.
“Plant” Your Spawn
To inoculate your mushroom spawn, you will want to mix the moist substrate with the spawn inside plastic bags with air holes.
Next, place your bags of substrate and mushroom spawn in a dark, warm room. Make sure that the temperature is around 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The mushrooms spawn should colonize in the substrate in 10 to 14 days. You will know this first phase of growth is complete when the bag has turned largely white.
Fruit the Mushrooms
Once your mushroom spores have colonized, it is time for the fruiting phase.
You first cut a small slit in the side of the bag to increase airflow.
Place your bags in a location with indirect light, at a temperature of anywhere between 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to keep your colony moist and with a fresh air supply for optimal growing conditions.
You should notice your mushrooms beginning to fruit within about one week. Once you notice the mushrooms caps begin to flatten out, you can begin harvesting.
Growing your own mushrooms can be challenging, but by starting slowly and with the right variety, you can work your way up to more difficult species.
Remember to always keep an eye out for pests or mold throughout this process. If you notice any mold growing, discard that bag of mushrooms.
Mushroom Kits may be a great way to get started with growing your own mushrooms. We’ll soon be looking at mushroom growing kits and provide resources and product comparisons.