5 Things you need To Know about Growing Mushrooms

I grow a lot of our vegetables.

We eat a lot of mushrooms, but it never occurred to me that I could grow them myself.

Years ago when I was installing a computer system at a Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis (my story at the Nankin) I was given a tour of the basements / cellars under the restaurant. They grew their own mushrooms.

To be honest it was a dark, dank, creepy place and I promptly forgot about it until I was asked if I was interested in this post.

Well…. Yes, I am.

I might be able to set something up in the barn. Could be fun!

I’d love to be able to grow morels as they are rare and expensive.

5 Things you need To Know about Growing Mushrooms for the First Time

Mushrooms are highly nutritious and have a yummy taste. In fact, they have a natural aroma that resembles that of beef and has an earthy scent. They contain high amounts of potassium and fiber but have low levels of cholesterol. Besides that, they are also expensive which is why many consider them to be a delicacy. Ordering for a plate of mushrooms at your local restaurant can give you a run for your money. Fortunately, you can grow mushrooms in the comfort of your own home for domestic consumption and sell the surplus at a local farmer’s market. As a matter of fact, there is usually high demand for mushrooms, which means that you will always have a market for your produce. However, many people that try planting this crop in their garden end up failing miserably, simply because there are some things that they did not know before they started their endeavor. Here is a list of the things that you should be aware of when growing morels for the first time.

Image by bethL from Pixabay

1. There are Three Species

There are basically three species of mushrooms that can be grown. They include shiitakes, white button and oyster. If you want to grow white button mushrooms, it’s advisable that you get compost manure because it offers an ideal environment for them to grow well. But, if you prefer to grow shiitakes, you are better of planting them in sawdust, specifically obtained from hardwood timber. Oyster mushrooms do well growing in coffee grounds.

2. They are Labor Intensive

Tending to mushrooms is not for the fainthearted. For a start, you will need to take care of them round the clock the same way you would do with a kid. Since they can’t be planted directly on any soil, you will need to get a substrate from your local saw or coffee mill. And that’s not all. You will need to sterilize the substrate and the pan that will accommodate it. This helps in killing any bacteria and pest that be present in the substrate. You will also need to sterilize yourself when entering their shelter to avoid bringing diseases or pests from outside that can kill them before they are ready for harvesting.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

3. They Need protection against Sunlight

Mushrooms can’t survive when they are exposed to direct sunlight. This is because they require a cool and dry environment to grow well. That’s why it’s necessary to put up a shed before getting started with the process of planting them. When the sun is too hot, you are supposed to pour water on the grass shed to help in reducing the temperature that has accumulated inside. Some farmers even use a thermometer to know when the temperature is too high or low. During winter, it’s advisable you put a stove inside the shelter as it helps in keeping the mushrooms warm.

4. They can be grown in Small Spaces

Most people imagine that mushrooms can only be grown in big farms. On the contrary, it’s possible to grow mushrooms in a tiny space such as the backyard or the garage. All you have to do is get some straw or sacks for accommodating them on a substrate. In fact, you can get a bumper harvest by just growing them in the backyard. You therefore don’t have an excuse for planting them in your home.

Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

5. They Mature in 3 Weeks

Although mushrooms involve a lot of labor, they usually mature in three weeks. You can tell when your mushrooms are ready for harvesting by just observing the crown of every individual plant. The crowns of such mushroom normally spread outwards to isolate themselves from the stem. Harvesting mushrooms is pretty simple. Just grab the base of the stem with your bare hands and pull it upwards. Alternatively, you can use a sharp knife to chop off the crown at the bottom of its stem.

6 thoughts on “5 Things you need To Know about Growing Mushrooms”

  1. A basement is the perfect area to grow them in. Usually dark, a little bit humid…you can even grow morels but they’re more labor intensive than the three mentioned. They sell kits for all of these, including the morels, online. I love them, but I don’t know that I want to grow them.

    We have morel season here in Michigan. I always have to laugh at the people who post “does anyone know where I can pick morels?” because they’re only slightly less prized than truffles and no one in their right mind is going to give up their picking spot.

    • I know there are morels around here, but, like you say, no one is going to tell me where… It could be interesting trying to grow them. I’ll have to look for kits at the garden stores.

  2. Many times over I have seen mushroom growing kit boxes in Australia so you get a cardboard carton full of soil and mushroom spores…great for children…or any fungi lover

  3. Like most primary produce, it’s not worth me growing my own, since I have easy access to at least three mushroom producers. The Loire Valley is famous for its cave grown mushrooms, but I also know a Chinese guy growing them in a former military depot. Plus of course forests full of ceps in the autumn. None of these feeble supermarket mass produced pumped full of water things for me 🙂 Morels sometimes come up in my veggie garden, but as a French friend said to me, ‘elles sont infideles’ ie unreliable.

    • I don’t know of any growers close by, but there are probably some closer to Sarlat – lots of river caves in that area, too. We have a good green grocer near us that will have to do. Only get the bad ones in my potager.

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