In this article you will see how to grow mushrooms at home and you will see how different it is from growing typically plants that require seeds. You see mushrooms don’t have seeds…they have spores.
These spores then need to be injected into a substance designed to be an ecosystem to support mushroom growth. This ecosystem should be thriving with mycelium (looks like white mold that grows on food when you leave it in the fridge too long).
So let’s talk about mushrooms and how to grow mushrooms at home. Find out why it is a great idea to grow them at home for your own consumption. It can even be a great way to earn money on the side if you decide to scale up.
How to Grow Mushrooms at Home the Easy Way
In order to grow mushrooms indoors the easy (and right) way, we need to do it step-by-step. This way, you won’t have to worry about encountering any problems as you go along. Let’s start.
Step 1 – Choose Your Species of Mushroom
There are a good number of edible mushrooms you can grow at home. It really depends on what you want. For your first one, it is best to pick a mushroom for your farm that is easy to grow and requires very little care and/or attention. There are three popular types of mushrooms you can grow at home:
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Oyster Mushrooms
- White Button Mushrooms
Step 2 – Buy your Spores/Spawns
Those three mentioned above are popular because they are in demand and require little to no experience in growing. After you pick out the mushroom you want, you can go and buy spores or spawns from a dealer (there are lots online).
Spores are like seeds while spawns act like seedlings. Following that train of thought, it’s easier to grow mushroom spawns than spores.
Step 3 – Pick your Cultivation Growing Medium
Remember when I told you that different “mushrooms” are different types of fungi? This also means you will have different cultivation mediums or substrates to choose from. Depending on the person you talk to, they will prefer different types of mediums. For beginners, here are some of the more common mediums you can choose from.
- Straw – This is the cheapest and arguably most effective medium from the lot. If you don’t mind how many you can harvest then this is a good starter medium. Word of caution though, straw can be super messy.
- Hardwood Sawdust, Wood Chips or Logs – Another simple option for cultivation mediums for mushrooms is hardwood logs. They serve the purpose of real logs in nature for mushrooms. Depending on the type of mushroom you want to grow, you will have to pic the right log.
Here’s a simple guideline for you:
- Manure – A lot of mushroom growers swear by the power of manure but beginners should stay away from it because they can be a pain to prepare and manage.
- Coffee Grounds and More – More and more mediums are being discovered by different mushroom farmers everyday. One of their goals is to use agricultural waste like coffee grounds or banana leaves as substrate.
One thing to remember when choosing a substrate is that they will take some preparation to make. This can be either through pasteurization or sterilization. So if you don’t have much time then this can be a challenge and you may want to consider a mushroom growing kit.
Step 4 – Inoculation
The process of planting the spores or spawns on your substrate is called inoculating. If you want a higher yield, it is best if you do this on a sterile environment. This is because the growing conditions you are putting your mushrooms in are also good for moss which can cause problems for your mushrooms.
Step 5 – Incubation
Now that you have inoculated the substrate (or simply, planted the mushrooms), you will then move to the incubation phase. Incubation is the process where you put the inoculated substrate in a warm and dark location for a few weeks or months. This is to encourage the growth of mushroom mycelium. If the mushroom is the fruiting appendage, the mycelium are the trunks and branches.
Step 6 – Fruiting the Mushrooms
After the mycelium is growing and has colonized the substrate, you should then encourage the colony to bear fruits. This means exposing your substrate to fresh air and then misting it throughout the day to keep it moist.
After a few days, you should see primordia or what we call pinheads. These pinheads will grow into mushrooms within a few days.
Step 7 – Harvesting the Mushrooms
Harvesting is the easiest part of the growing process. You will know that the mushroom caps are ready for harvesting just as they are fully uncurled.
Step 8 – Rinse & Repeat
You will remove the mushrooms at the base near the ground and it’s time to eat. Before you eat the mushroom though be sure to clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt, bugs, etc. Then you can repeat this process for as many more mushroom you want to have.
Why Should You Grow Mushrooms?
Now that you understand how to grow the mushrooms at home lets talk about why you should bother yourself with mushrooms in the first place.
To those who are new to this field, mushrooms are not plants. The often umbrella like protrusions we see that we call “mushrooms” are actually the spore-bearing bodies of a type of fungus. So different types of fungus have different types of “mushrooms” so to speak.
Due to the sheer number of types of mushrooms, you can get a whole lot of benefits from them. Here are some of the health benefits of mushrooms that you might not know.
- Mushrooms help fight cancer.
- Mushrooms can help boost your immune system.
- They can help you manage your cholesterol levels.
- Mushrooms are chock full of B and D vitamins.
This is not to mention how mushrooms make any type of food extra special as they are laced with flavor enhancers.
Growing mushrooms for personal or commercial purposes makes so much sense from both a health and economic standpoints. Year after year, there is an increase in the demand of specific types of mushrooms as people slowly see their benefits.
If you like mushrooms, it’s better to grow your own stash so you will always have something ready when you want them. In the commercial setting, it’s a great way to earn cash while offering a commodity that is healthy and poses no real health risk to the buying public.
If you’ve reached this point then congratulations on your journey as beginner mushroom grower. Sure, there are a couple of steps involved and you might have hurt yourself at one point but it’s worth it. If you are not sure which mushrooms to start growing you could use the easiest one (the Oyster mushroom) or pick medicinal mushroom with many health benefits.
However, we understand that not everybody has the time and expertise to do all the steps mentioned above. After all, a lot of us just want mushrooms for our dishes – not to pasteurize a whole bag of straw.
That’s why there are a number of mushroom cultivation kits available online. These kits remove majority of the hard steps (like choosing a medium, prepping it, and inoculating it) so you can grow your mushrooms easily without having to worry about anything else.
Now that you understand how to grow mushrooms at home you can go out and start purchasing your supplies or you can by ready made mushroom kits. You can also purchase these mushrooms fresh, dried or in supplement form if you think growing them is too much work. You can also choose to harvest them in your backyard if you think that would be better.
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