Grow Your Own Delicious Mushrooms

Photo by Harshal S. Hirve

Store bought mushrooms just aren’t quite the same as fresh ones right out of your yard. However, just like most gardening, growing mushrooms takes a bit of know how that many people don’t have. Learn how you, too, can grow fresh and delicious mushrooms for yourself.

Pick One

Start by educating yourself on your different types of mushrooms. What goal do you have in mind? Do you like them for salads or soups? Do you want to steam them and eat them salted or stuffed? Different mushrooms will yield different results for you to decide. White button mushrooms are hardy and plentiful, and are great for salads and soups. Oyster mushrooms are more mild, and have a wonderful flavor that’s great for stir-fries and soups. Shiitake mushrooms are a more substantial mushroom, its smoky flavor makes it a great substitute for meat, which makes this one a vegan favorite.

Get Your Substrate

To grow mushrooms, you’ll need what’s called, “substrate” which is essentially a growing environment for the mushroom which you will inject with the mushroom spawn. Each type of mushroom has a different substrate. The easiest way to determine what you need is to purchase a mushroom growing kit, which comes with the substrate pre-mixed and ready to grow. The kit will come with a syringe and spawn, as well. Once you inject your substrate with your mushroom spawn, you’ll want to keep it warm, at about 70 degrees, for 2 weeks. Beyond that, drop the temperature and keep the mushroom in a cooler setting for the remainder of its growth.

Select Your Environment

Unlike other plants you’ll grow, mushrooms require dark, damp places. Find some good shade that stays generally moist. Your target temperature will be around 60 degrees, which means in some places they can be grown year round. Mushrooms also need lots of moisture. If you can plant them next to a stream or where there’s plenty of humidity, do it, as your crop will yield better results.

Keep it Covered for a While

Now that your mushroom has formed roots and you’ve found a great environment for it to grow in that meets the temperature, shade and moisture requirements, you’ll want to plant the mushroom underground and cover it with about an inch of soil. From there, cover the soil with a layer of newspaper or peat moss, something that will keep it moist but protect it from the elements or direct contact with water (like rain). Spritz the newspaper layer several times daily for at least 10 days. After 10 days, remove the paper. Continue misting the soil daily until you see your mushrooms begin to pop up.

Pick It

Once your mushroom has grown to the size of your liking, pick it, wash it, and enjoy! What’s great is that most spawns will re-grow for more crops, meaning that you’ll yield twice what you grow each year.

Growing mushrooms isn’t complicated, it just requires a little research and a specific environment. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll have fresh mushrooms the use in your cooking in no time!