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How to Grow Mushrooms at Home – Beginner to Advanced

How To Grow Mushrooms At Home

How to grow mushrooms at home, indoors or outdoors requires the same understanding of the stages of a mushroom’s life cycle and what it needs to grow.

Growing mushrooms at home can be as ‘easy or difficult’, or as ‘cheap or expensive’ as you want it to be.  It will really depends on how far you want to take it.

It can be as simple as:

coffee grounds

1)  Grabbing some spent coffee grounds from the coffee you brewed that morning.

2)  Putting the coffee grounds in a cup.

3)  Cutting a small piece of an oyster mushroom and putting it into the coffee grounds (use the inside of the mushroom).

4)  Wait for a few weeks for your mushrooms to grow (1-2 weeks in a dark cabinet then take it out).

It could literally be that easy!  How cool is that?

WAIT!  You Didn’t Mention Being Sterile?

In the previous example I can hear people yelling from the back of the room saying, “It’s NOT that easy!!! You need to make sure everything is sterile!“.

LOL…Let me ask you this…

When mushrooms grow in the wild, does the mycelium first wait for someone to come in and sterilize the forest floor?  I know this seems like a silly question, but you can see how it is relevant.

Mycelium is actually very strong and resistant to many bacteria and other fungi and does a pretty good job of fighting it off all on it’s own.

In the previous example though, let’s look at how sterile we really were…

The coffee grounds were fresh because you just used them that morning which means they were sterilized in the brewing process.  As long as you wash your hands, use a clean glass and a clean knife to cut the inside of the mushroom…

Heck…That is pretty darn clean and I think your chances of contamination are pretty low.  Although, you could wipe everything with a 70% alcohol solution just to be extra safe (Check further down for more details on sterilization).

Now, in regards to ‘how to grow mushrooms at home’, let’s take a deeper look at what a mushroom needs to grow so you can gain a deeper knowledge on the topic…


7 Stages of Growing Mushrooms

Now that we have discussed how simple it can be, let’s see what the actual process looks like…

I know I just talked about mycelium being very resistant and all… but during all of the stages listed below you will want to be using a very sterile environment to prevent as much contamination as possible (I will get into more about this later).

Stage 1 – Choosing Mushroom Source

spore print vs mycelium

When choosing your mushroom source you will have to decide between the following:

  1. Spores
  2. Mycelium

Spores:

With spores you will be dealing with a spore print or a spore syringe.

Mycelium:

With mycelium you will be dealing with agar plates, liquid cultures and grain spawn.

I have written a separate article that goes into detail on the topic as well as how to use, source and prepare each method:

how to grow mushrooms from spores

There are some really cool how to videos in that article as well 🙂


Stage 2 – Choosing a Substrate

Now that you have decided on the mushroom you want to use and have sourced your spores or mycelium, you will need to decide on the substrate (growing medium) you want to use.

This stage is important because every mushroom likes to grow on different things while all mushrooms enjoy eating the following:

  1. Lignin
  2. Cellulose
  3. Hemicellulose

The top 13 substrates to use are as follows:

  1. Supplemented Hardwood Sawdust
  2. Psilocybe Fanaticus Technique (PF-Tek)
  3. Straw
  4. Coffee Grounds
  5. Rye Grain
  6. Manure
  7. Masters Mix
  8. Logs
  9. Straw with Coffee Grounds
  10. Straw with Coffee Grounds & Sawdust
  11. Coco Coir with Vermiculite
  12. Cardboard
  13. Popcorn Grain

I have written a completely separate article explaining these substrates in detail to include how to prepare them, ingredients source, and how to videos:

best mushroom growing substrates


Stage 3 – Substrate Micro Environment

Once you have your substrate you will need to decide what type of environment you want to put it into…

1)  Sealed Plastic bags: Mushroom/Unicorn bag or zip lock bag.  Mushroom bags will have a filter patch on them (only allows filtered air to enter the bag).  Zip lock bags would need you to poke a hole and tape it with some micropore membrane tape.

unicorn bag  micropore membrane tape    zip lock bag

2)  Column bags or lay flat tubing (items used in large air conditioning systems): Cut the layflat tubing to size (3 feet long).  Normally you could buy a roll of 250 gauge (2.5 mm) that is approximately 250 mm wide (10 inch) which becomes 160 mm (6 inch) when filled.  Tie the ends with zip tiesThese bags will be cheaper than mushroom bags.

layflat tubing

3)  Monotub:  Use a clear tote and poke holes in the lid (or sides) for air (put some micropore membrane tape over the holes or stuff poly stuffing in them).  Just put your substrate in the bottom of the tote.  Optional to spray paint the bottom black to discourage pinning from the bottom (see the video below for an example).

Another option would be to ‘deck it out’ by doing the following:

  1. Run a reptile humidifier (or reptifogger) hose into the clear tote.
  2. Mount a computer fan so that it blows out the old air (even plug it into a cycle timer so that it comes on for 1 minutes every 10 minutes).

You can also get the boomer bag they used in the video here:

4)  Unsealed Plastic Bag:  Put your substrate into a bowl and have that bowl on top of a plate and put water in the plate.  Then get a plastic bag and poke small holes throughout it and drape it over the substrate, bowl and plate so that it create a humid environment dome.

5)  Jars:  Use mushroom jars with a hole in the lid.  Then either use a filter disc or stuff the hole with poly stuffing. Bore a hole in the middle of the substrate using the end of a wooden spoon.  You will then use this hole later to fill with grain spawn.

6)  Anything You Want: The list above gives you some ideas of things most commonly used.  However, feel free to be creative and come up with your own ideas.


Stage 4 – Inoculate the Mushroom Substrate

Now that we have our mushroom source and our substrate its time to combine them together…

The steps you take here will be based on which steps you chose to do in the 1st two stages above.

If you chose to use mushroom spores or cultures then you will be injecting those into your substrate.  Typically this substrate would be the rye grain so that you could basically make your mushroom spawn to later add to a bulk substrate (a bigger substrate).

It kinda works in a couple stages typically:

  1. Inoculate a small bag or jar of rye grain (called mushroom spawn).  Do this my injecting your spores or cultures into the self healing injection port in the bag after first making your syringe needle red hot with your flame alcohol lamp or using a lighter.

2.  You could put a small sample (3 small square chunks) from your agar plate into the the substrate in front of you laminar flow hood.

3. Take the small bag of rye grain covered in white mycelium and sprinkle it into a much larger substrate (normally around 10% added spawn in comparison to the amount of substrate).  Or you could just fruit the rye grain but you wont have as good of yields (amount and size of mushrooms that grow).

Think of it like you make a little bit of mycelium that you can use to add to a bigger substrate source later.

This is not always the case though.  You can skip creating the rye grain mushroom spawn and add your cultures or spores directly to a bulk substrate.  Most people don’t like to do this because they want to get the mycelium really strong and growing healthy before putting it into a larger substrate.  It just makes for faster inoculation, a better chance of success and less chance of contamination in the end (which could save you time and money).

However, when people grow cordyceps they pour liquid cultures directly into their bulk substrate of 3 part brown rice and 1 part white wheat.  Then mix 1.6 kg of substrate with 1 litre of broth (15.5g malt extract, 4.5g gypsum, 3.5g nutritional yeast, 10g potato starch, 1 litre of filtered water).  There bulk substrate though is pretty small.

The point is when they make cordyceps they never make spawn and grow straight from culture.

As with everything up to this point you will want to be as sterile as possible when transferring  your sterile mushroom source to your sterile substrate.  Check below for more details on being sterile.

Lazanya Method with Mushroom Spawn:  For this you will put an inch or so thick layer of substrate then sprinkle some grain spawn… then put another layer of substrate and sprinkle another layer of spawn.  Continue doing this until you use up your substrate and spawn. – The growing mushrooms in a bucket video above shows the layer method –


Stage 5 – Incubation

At this point we have our mushroom substrate that has been inoculated with a mushroom source and it is time to give the mycelium the conditions it needs to start colonizing the substrate.  The goal is to have the entire substrate to look fully white before going on to the next stage.

Normally this will just involve putting the substrate into a warm and dark place (around 68 to 75 degree Fahrenheit).  If it is too hot you might get other fungi to start growing.  If it is too cold it may cause the mycelium to be really slow to start growing.

You don’t want to expose them to light during this stage because light is a signal for the mycelium growing to start pinning (growing the fruiting body mushroom).  We want the whole block to be fully colonized before it starts to fruit.

You don’t have to worry too much about the Co2 levels at this point because fresh oxygen is also a sign for the mushrooms to grow which we don’t want yet.

However, mushrooms do breath in oxygen and exhale Co2 (like humans) so we do need to give them some fresh air (maybe open the container once or twice a day (and wave the lid) to let fresh air in).

Depending on your substrate and mushroom this could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 year (for logs).


Stage 6 – Mushroom Fruiting

oyster mushroom

At this stage we want to take our fully colonized substrate and move it into a different environment.  In this environment we typically want the following:

1)  Light:  Light on (normally 12 hours on followed by 12 hours off just like the sun rising and falling). You don’t want it in direct sunlight though because could dry it out.

2)  Humidity:  High levels of humidity (normally between 80% to 95% relative humidity (RH)).  Mushrooms are 90% water so without high humidity they will dry out and not grow.

  • You may find a hygrometer useful to test the humidity and temperature levels.

3)  Carbon Dioxide (Co2):  Co2 levels normally lower than 1,000 part per million (PPM).  This means you want to flush out the air multiple times an hour if in a sealed space.

4)  Temperature:  Temperature will vary based on your strain.  Cold weather strains are 53 – 68 degree Fahrenheit and warm weather strains are 64 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are automating a lot of these tasks you will find a cycle timer very useful.

This stage will typically take between 1 to 2 weeks.  However, if you are using logs you need to keep an eye on them daily if you are expecting them to fruit because they can go from no fruit to fully grown within a couple of days.


Stage 7 – Harvesting

Now it is time to enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Once the mushroom is developed as much as you want it to you will cut the stem with a knife as close to the substrate as possible.  It is not recommended to pull them off because you will remove a chunk of the mycelium block with it and we do not want to damage our mycelium block yet because we want to get more flushes (future crops) out of it.

Typically you can get between 1 and 3 flushes out of  your substrate before they stop producing quality mushrooms.  With some mushrooms you can just leave the substrate right where it is and just wait for it to continue fruiting while others you will need to give it a break first.

With some mushrooms you will let them rest for 1 – 2 weeks and then soak them in water for 12 – 18 hours before they will start fruiting again (also give it a few good slaps to simulate a falling tree).  Maitake and shiitake require this but oyster mushrooms don’t… so it depends on your mushroom.

When talking about one of the easiest way on how to grow mushrooms at home would be with a grow kit so let’s look at the now…


Using a Grow Kit

north spores oyster mushroom grow kit

Another option you have is to order a mushroom grow kit in which they will send you a mushroom block in the mail that has already been fully colonized with the mushroom mycelium of your choosing.

Check out North Spores Grow Kits to see which one you want to grow:

1)  Easy Grow Kits (Lion’s Mane and Oyster mushrooms) – Use promo code ‘ CURATIVEMUSH ‘ for a 20% discount at checkout.

2)  Advanced Grow Kits (Shiitake, Reishi, King Trumpets, Chestnut, Nameko & Pioppino mushrooms) – Use promo code ‘ CURATIVEMUSH ‘ for a 20% discount at checkout.

For this you have a couple of options:

  1. You could follow the directions and make a cut in the bag and leave on the counter for 1 – 2 weeks until it starts fruiting (spraying with water a couple times a day).

how to grow mushrooms at home

2.  Remove your  mushroom block from it’s plastic bag and put into a shotgun fruiting chamber so you can control the humidity that way instead of having to spray it multiple times a day (still wont hurt to keep spraying it).

For a shotgun fruiting chamber you will need:

  1. Clear tote (with holes drilled in every couple of inches with a 1/4 inch drill bit).
  2. Perilite soaked in water.

Then you fill the perilite in the bottom of the tote.  The purpose of the perilite is to create a humid environment for the mycelium to fruit the mushrooms.  Then just open the top a couple times a day to allow more fresh air in.

Another option is to add a reptifogger and fan like we did with the monotub above.

Let’s move on to how to grow mushrooms at home indoors…


Types of Mushrooms to Grow Indoors

There are over 14,000 species of mushrooms known today and technically you could grow any of them at home.  However, there are really only a handful of edible mushrooms that are worth growing if your purpose is to eat them for their taste or medicinal benefits.

Another thing to consider is how you want to grow mushrooms at home and what your purpose for growing them is.

If you want to use a substrate other then logs (because logs take between 9 months and 5 years to fruit) then you may want to grow a mushroom that other people have already figured out how to cultivate without logs.

For example, Chaga can only be cultivated on living birch trees.  This means you have to find a living birch tree, drill a hole and stick some chaga spawn in that hole and cover it with wax and then wait 5 years for it to fruit.

While it is generally the same process to grow all mushrooms, each mushroom can have little differences in the conditions they need to grow, how long you need to incubate them and the types of substrate they like to grow on.

That being said we decided to have an individual article explaining what each mushroom needs to grow.

Here is a list of some common mushrooms that are cultivated on non-log substrates which means you can harvest them within a few months:

1)  Reishi Mushroom

reishi medicinal mushrooms

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

2)  Lion’s Mane Mushroom

lions mane medicinal mushroom

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

3)  Cordyceps Mushroom

cordyceps

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

4)  Shiitake Mushroom

how to grow mushrooms at home

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

5)  Oyster Mushroom

how to grow mushrooms at home

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

6)  Psilocybe Cubensis Mushroom

Psilocybe Cubensis

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

7)  Portobello/Button/Cremeni Mushroom

portobello

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

8)  Turkey Tail Mushroom

turkey tail mushroom

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

9)  Enoki Mushroom

enoki

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

10)  Maitake Mushroom

maitake

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

Now let’s talk about how to grow mushrooms at home on logs and the types of mushrooms that you can grow on logs…


Types of Mushrooms to Grow On Logs

This interesting thing is many of the same mushrooms we just talked about for growing indoors can also be grown on logs as well.

Maybe you don’t mind waiting a long time for the mushrooms to grow and you want to inoculate a tree to duplicate their natural environment.  In that case, we have decided to write an entire article on the process of finding the right tree log, inoculating it and how to store it during incubation and fruiting:

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

The following types of mushrooms will be discussed in that article:

  1. Reishi Mushroom
  2. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  3. Shiitake Mushroom
  4. Oyster Mushroom
  5. Turkey Tail Mushroom
  6. Enoki Mushroom
  7. Maitake Mushroom

Now let’s talk about how to grow mushrooms at home outdoors in the ground…


How To Grow Mushrooms At Home Outdoors

Maybe you don’t want to grow your mushrooms indoors and you prefer to grow your mushrooms in a garden outside…

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

In this article we will also show you how to make a spore slurry to grow Morel mushrooms outdoors.

Now let’s talk about how to grow mushrooms at home for profit…


Growing Mushrooms For Profit

If you are thinking to make money from growing mushrooms then there will be some additional things to consider, such as:

  1. How to setup your utility space
  2. How to setup your incubation room
  3. How to setup your fruiting room
  4. What type of mushroom you should sell
  5. How to sell the mushrooms you grow
  6. How to keep everything sterile through the whole process

We decided to write an individual article to cover everything you will need to know to sell mushroom for profit…

We will show you how to do this if you only live in a small flat apartment all the way to having separate rooms outside or in a building:

– Article on how to grow it coming soon –

Now let’s talk about how to create a sterile work environment to avoid contamination…


Creating a Sterile Environment

wipe table

I started this article off by making it sound like you don’t need to worry about having a sterile environment, so now I will clarify on that topic…

The reason at the beginning of the article I didn’t worry about contamination was because you were just using coffee grounds that you were going to throw away anyway and a small piece of mushroom that wouldn’t cost you anything if you already had the mushroom to eat anyway.  So if it did get contaminated…’oh well‘.

However, if you don’t worry about being sterile and you plan to grow mushrooms often then you should invest in some specific things to lower your chance of contamination from over 50% down to 0% – 5%.

I have written a completely separate article on sterilization in include:

  1. How to make your own laminar flow hood (as well as a link to a pre-made one at fungi perfecti).
  2. How to make a still air box.
  3. Essential disposable items you should purchase.
  4. Hot and cold water pasteurization techniques.
  5. Times to set your Pressure sterilizer for.

Additionally, you will see links to purchase the items you need and really cool how to videos:

sterilization for mushroom cultivation

Now that we have discussed everything you need to know about growing mushrooms, let’s go ahead and wrap it up…


Wrapping Up

The purpose of this article was to give you a high level ‘birds eye view’ of the mushroom growing process and growing conditions.  From here you can click the other articles linked through out to go more in depth on the type of mushroom that you want to grow.

The biggest thing that I want you to understand is that there really isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do it.  You can mix and match the different things I have mention here to make your own way of doing things.

The most important things to understand is what conditions and environment that your mushroom needs to grow in.  Here are some quick key bullets to remember:

  1. Always be sterile to prevent contamination.
  2. Pick the right mushroom and substrate you want to grow it in.
  3. Inoculate the substrate with the mushroom and store in a warm dark place until its fully colonized.
  4. When it’s time to fruit:  Expose it to fresh air and light while keeping the humidity as high as possible to make the mushrooms grow.
  5. Harvest and enjoy!

Even if all the conditions aren’t 100% perfect the mushrooms could still grow but might be slower or not produce perfect looking fruiting bodies.  Not only that, but every strain of mushroom is a little bit different which means that you never know what your gonna get.

Those are the main important things but depending how far you want to go with it you can read my other articles on creating a mushroom farm for profit or turning your small apartment into a mushroom farm with a hydroponics tent.

If you want to take things even further you could also consider taking a course on growing mushrooms:

how to grow mushrooms at home course

I hope this article was beneficial to you.  Please share if you liked it!  Thanks.

Like This Article?  Pin It on Pinterest!

how to grow mushrooms at home


Link Attribution for Image and Videos:

The following presentations contain images/videos that were used under a Creative Commons License. Click the links below to see the full list of images/videos and attributions:

Podcast Video:

https://link.attribute.to/cc/1334177

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________________________________

FDA DISCLAIMER

Curative Mushrooms has to post the standard FDA Disclaimer…The statements made regarding medicinal mushrooms have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. Curative Mushrooms is not making claims intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before consuming the medicinal mushrooms. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Curative Mushrooms nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

_________________________________

Oliver

Oliver

Always looking for ways to improve the health of myself and my family led me to the discovery of medicinal mushrooms and the numerous health benefits they have on the body. My mission is to spread this knowledge and help as many people as possible.

This Post Has 6 Comments

    1. Hello and thanks for commenting. I currently don’t have any training on that but I will add it to my list of articles to write.

    1. Hi James,

      Magic Truffles fall into certain loop holes in certain countries but in the United States they would fall under the same legal requirements of magic mushrooms because they contain the illegal drug of psilocybin.

      Their potency will vary depend on the mushroom that you choose but can tend to be around the same potency as the actual fruiting body mushroom.

      I hope that helps!

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