Growing mushrooms at home used to be a fairly complex procedure, one in which it was very much “hit or miss” as to whether the crop would ever be harvested or not. Thanks largely to the kits available to buy in garden centres and online now, however, the procedure is fairly straightforward and more than likely to be successful.
There are a great many different species of mushroom but essentially only two distinct types. There are those that grow in soil or on animal manure and those which grow in or on rotting wood. Let us consider each in turn.
The four most common types of mushroom which we eat and cook with are essentially all of the same species, simply cultivated at different stages of their growth. Commonly known as button mushrooms, closed cup mushrooms, open cupped mushrooms and flat – or even “breakfast” – mushrooms, they are all mushrooms of the Agaricus Bisporus variety.
In order to grow mushrooms of this variety, all we need is a large trough, or even bucket, filled with compost and ideally a bit of horse or cow manure and one of the special mushroom growing kits.
We simply spread the seed or grain from the kit thickly across the surface of the soil, water it thoroughly and leave it in a cool, dry place, though not too cool should it be a cold Winter in your locale. This should give you two or three decent mushroom crops of up to two pounds each time, depending upon at which stage you harvest them.
Mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms are of the wood growing variety. Growing these at home will require that we obtain a large, fairly freshly felled log and locate it at a secluded point on our land. Alternatively, if you have a tree stump in your garden which is technically still alive, this is an even better option in which to grow these types of mushroom.
We will have to drill holes in the log or stump as the mushroom growing kit comes in the form of “spores” which we have to insert in to the core of the wood. This is a lengthy process, however, and do not expect to see any results for at least several months. The plus side is that we can conceivably be harvesting mushrooms from this source for years to come.
It can perhaps therefore be seen that growing mushrooms at home is by no means a complicated procedure in modern times but it is a time consuming one in comparison to growing other fruits or vegetables, in terms of how long we have to wait to see any results. By all means give it a try but know that if you are a big fan of mushrooms, you will have to make many visits to the supermarket or grocery store before you can look at harvesting your home grown variety.