Tinned mushrooms just don’t taste anywhere as nice as fresh ones, so if you’re interested in having edible fungii available to you year round, you may need to grow them. When it comes to how to, growing mushrooms at home is a much searched topic. However, it’s seldom actually done, because it can seem so complicated. I’m here to tell you that it’s really not as scary as it might seem, though there are some hurdles to overcome.
First, you should understand how mushrooms grow. The mushroom itself is basically the fruit of the plant, designed to release spores for survival. These spores grow into new mushrooms and you can usually buy either spores, or the spawn, which are essentially seedling mushrooms. You’ll find it much easier to start with spawn, but it’s certainly not the only way to go.
Second, make sure that any growing medium you use is sterilized to prevent anything else from growing. This is easily done by takeing whatever medium you wish to use and mixing it with water until it is as damp as a regular kitchen sponge. Then you can microwave on High for 2-3 minuts. Be sure to let it cool before planting the mushrooms.
How to Grow Mushrooms from Mushrooms
This method is not the most certain, so you’ll need to be patient if you opt for it. It may require a few tries before you manage to see success.
First, make sure you pick organic mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms tend to be easiest to grow, but you can also do button mushrooms or another type. Since it is very difficult to get spores from store-bought mushrooms, it’s usually simplest to work with the stems of the mushrooms you have on hand. These will already have the mycelium, a thin cotton-like substance that grows into the mushroom itself. In fact, if you look for the mushrooms that already have the white mold-looking stuff mycelium on them, you’ll have an easier time of it.
Next, you need a growing medium. We suggest using coffee grounds, which is described in detail below.
Separate the tops of the mushrooms from the ends and then carefully cut the ends into tiny pieces, no bigger than a quarter inch across. Place your growing medium in your chosen container (a box, bin, or paper bag) and ensure it’s moist. Then add the mushroom pieces, sprinkled across it. Add more medium, and another layer of mushroom pieces. Continue this for several layers, ending with the growing medium.
It’s important to keep the mushrooms moist, but not soaked. You should cover the top of the container with a lid or piece of plastic with holes poked in it and check from time to time. If the medium gets dry, spritz with a little water. It will take roughly 2-4 weeks for the mushrooms to start growing and from there, you can expect to harvest within another 2-3 weeks.
Mushrooms love the dark, so a basement or closet will be idea. You should also aim to keep it at 65-75° at all times.
How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms
Who doesn’t love oyster mushrooms? Unfortunately, they can be a bit expensive if you’re buying them in the store. That’s why more and more people are opting to grow mushrooms at home so they have a steady supply at any time. These mushrooms will grow well in damp straw or shredded newspapers and you can either grow them in a bag or in a bucket with holds cut in the sides.
An oyster mushroom kit is the best way to start out. Many will come with everything you need to grow your mushrooms, usually including the growing medium. Others include the plugs, which you can plant yourself.
To plant your oyster mushrooms, you will follow the instructions on the kit. However, if you’ve purchased spores alone, you will need to place damp straw (or coffee grounds) and then mix the spores throughout. Once innoculated, the straw can be placed into your container, preferably covered with plastic wrap. Keep the mushrooms in a dark area that is between 55-75° for a few weeks until the mushrooms begin to pop up.
Once you see the mushrooms growing, take the cover away and let the mushrooms sit in an area where there is daylight at least 6 hours a day. You’ll need to spritze daily to ensure they stay damp enough to keep growing. Harvest once you’re ready to eat them.
How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms prefer to grow on logs. While it is possible to grow them in other mediums, your best bet for success is to try with a log first. Oak logs are best, but you may also use maple, beech, or birch if you don’t have access to oak. Look for wood that is seasoned, but not left on the ground. You don’t want any other typ’es of fungi to grow on its own.
Use a drill to add small holes over the log, roughly 8 inches apart. These should be as deep as the mushroom pieces you receive. Add the spawn to the holes and carefully melt some beeswax or paraffin to cover the the holes and protect the spawn.
Once your log is innoculated, you can stand them against a wall or post and simply water them on a regular basis. They will grow faster if the area is shaded most of the day. It can take up to a year for the mushrooms to appear, but once they do, you can expect them to produce for 5-8 years.
If this sounds like way too much work, you can buy logs that are already innoculated for you.
How to Grow Mushrooms in Coffee Grounds
As mentioned above in the article, it’s possible to grow just about any type of mushroom in used coffee grounds. It’s also very simple to do.
You’ll want to collect at least 5 lbs of used coffee grounds. Chances are, you don’t drink enough to provide that amount in a short time, but talk to friends or even coffee shops to see if you can get some of their coffee waste. The coffee grounds have already been pasteurized when brewed, so this means you shouldn’t have to worry about contaminants. Be sure to only use fresh grounds.
Get a 1 gallon freezer bag and clean it very thoroughly. Cut quarter inch holes into the bag (four per side) and then mix at least 500 grams of spawn into the coffee grounds, using very clean hands and arms. Put the mixture into your bag and close it.
Your mushroom bag will need to be kept in a dark place that is 65-75°. After 2-4 weeks, you’ll notice that the entire bag is completely white. From there, you can lay the bag in an area that is shaded, but light and cut a 2inch square hole in the middle of the upside. This is where you should spritz water every day. The mushrooms will begin to grow faster and faster over the next week or so.
Have you tried growing mushrooms before? Will you now?