Growing Mushrooms

by Brooke Tolman
(last updated May 7, 2013)

Two of the best reasons to garden are to grow things you would otherwise have to pay too dearly for at the supermarket and to grow great-tasting things you cannot buy at any price. Mushrooms often fill both those requirements. The easiest way to grow mushrooms is to purchase a mushroom growing kit. These include everything you need to start your own mushroom garden. Depending on which kit you buy, you can grow a variety of mushrooms or choose the ones you love best and just grow those ones.

Mushroom kits are generally a cardboard box that has been pre-inoculated to grow mushrooms. Buttons, portabella and shiitake mushrooms are some of the edible varieties that can be ordered in a kit. Usually, all that is required of the grower is to water the container then place in a cool, dark area. Some kits, however, come with a "humidity tent" to keep the mushrooms damp. No matter what type of mushroom kit you order instructions will be included to guide you through growing the delicious edibles. Kits can be ordered in various sizes, sometimes, with choices like standard size or giant size mushrooms. The kits, after watered and sheltered from light, can produce mushrooms for up to 15 weeks, depending upon the variety. Some mushroom kits can produce five pounds of mushrooms over weeks. The kits can cost $25 and up, but most kits remain under $50. That's a deal compared with the money you'd be spending buying them at the grocery store each week or the medical bill you'd be paying if you tried to hunt down your own in nature and ended up picking the poisonous type.

If you don't want to buy the whole kit, you can just buy the spore and grow them using supplies you have at home. Once you have the spore of the mushroom type you want to grow, you need to find out what type of growing medium it uses. For example, Shitake mushrooms are normally grown on hardwoods or hardwood sawdust, oyster mushrooms on straw and white button mushrooms on composted manure. Place the appropriate growing medium in a pan and raise the temperature to around 70F. You can do this by raising the whole room temperature or with the use of a heating pad. Once it is heated, go ahead and place the spore on top, and place the whole pan in a dark place such as a cupboard or basement. In about 3 weeks you'll start to see growth and the spore will have rooted into the medium. Once this occurs, drop the temperature to 55F to 60F and cover the spawn with an inch or so of potting soil. Then cover the soil and pan with a damp cloth. Make sure to spray the cloth every so often to keep it wet, and spray the soil too if it ever starts to dry out. In 3-4 weeks, small mushrooms should start to appear. They are ready to harvest and use when the cap has fully developed and separated from the stem.

Now all that is left to do is to eat and enjoy!

Author Bio

Brooke Tolman

Brooke is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise Science. She currently resides in Seattle where she works as a freelance data analyst and personal trainer. She hopes to spend her life camping and traveling the world. ...


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