Growing mushrooms at home is a great addition to any gardening activities: it’s easy and the mushrooms grow very quickly so you get to see the results much faster than in growing plants.
Grown indoors on a year-round cycle, mushrooms are harvested in a 16-35 day cycle.
Boxlapse has made mushroom growing time lapses to show how quickly they grow if you use a ready made mushroom kit.
All mushrooms are easy to grow, but if you are planing to grow them indoors probably the substrate makes the difference:
Oyster mushrooms for example grow on straw, which seems like a good choice for indoor growing, white button mushrooms on composted manure which might smell funny and Shiitake mushrooms grow on wood which again is harder for indoor growing. As you will see, mushrooms can even be grown on toilet paper, spent coffee grounds and sawdust.
What are the DIY steps to grow mushrooms at home
If you are just starting up or want to see if you got what it takes to start growing mushroom at home, my advice would be to start with a ready made mushroom growing kit. You just need to open the bag, soak the bag over night then spray water on it for the next 6 days. Just keep in mind that mushrooms need to be grown in shade, 15-20 Celsius and with a good amount of humidity. A barn, garage, garage or cellar work best. If you get these conditions right and have success with the mushroom growing kits you can start your own DIY methods.
If you want to experiment with DIY methods, you need at least 2 items: a growing medium and a starter.
Choosing the right substrate to grow mushrooms
Depending on the mushrooms you want to grow there are more substrates that can be used. If you live countryside look no further than hay and wood logs. If you are more like an urban farmer you can go for coco choir and vermiculite. There are plenty of options, it has to be organic and contain cellulose.
FreshCap Mushrooms explains most of the options available, with an emphasis on the need to pasteurize or sanitize the substrate.
Choosing the right mushroom starter
To start mushrooms there are multiple choices as well. You can clone store bought mushrooms, but this might be more complicated and less successful than buying ready made spawn.
Cloning store bought mushrooms
If you want to go the cloning path, there are 2 ways: making your own spawn, then inoculate the growing substrate or you might even try cloning without a separate step for spawning.
Fungumelos grows mushrooms at home without special equipment, no sterilization, no grain spawn: just a bucket with hay and chopped mushrooms:
OmVed Gardens makes her own spawn, using cardboard. It seems to have a greater chance of success, but it’s an additional step:
Using ready made spawn (grain or liquid)
If you want to make sure you’ll get results, the easier way is to purchase spawn from a commercial provider. It can be grain spawn or liquid and it’s very easy to use.
Giray Mycelium goes through the entire process of growing your own mushrooms in in a cheesecake box starting from grawin spawn:
If you find liquid culture easier to buy, you can start your own grain spawn from liquid culture as well
If you are not yet convinced that growing mushrooms at home is a wonderful experience you should watch 20 of the time-lapses in the documentary “Fantastic Fungi” were created by Australian fungi photographer Stephen Axford. They feature stunning and sometimes rare mushrooms from the ‘land downunder’.