Growing mushrooms can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, learning how to grow mushrooms can open up a whole new world of possibilities in your home or garden. To successfully grow mushrooms, there are a few key factors to consider. In this week’s blog, we’re here to teach you everything there is to learn about growing your very own mushrooms at home!
Growing Medium For Growing Mushrooms
First and foremost, you will need the right growing medium. This can include materials such as straw, wood chips, or sawdust that provide the necessary nutrients for the mushrooms to thrive.
Unlike plants, mushrooms don't rely on soil and sunlight for their nourishment. Instead, they flourish by breaking down organic matter and extracting nutrients from it. This organic matter, also called substrate, is crucial in mushroom cultivation. The choice of substrate used in growing mushrooms greatly impacts the yield, growth rate, and overall well-being of the mushrooms. Let's delve into some of the commonly utilized substrates in mushroom cultivation together.
Organic Wheat Bran & Hardwood Sawdust - Hardwood sawdust combines organic wheat bran and hardwood sawdust in a balanced blend. This carefully crafted mix is designed to meet the specific growth needs of Lion's Mane mushrooms. The organic wheat bran provides a nourishing array of nutrients, while the hardwood sawdust creates a dense and fibrous structure for the mycelium to flourish and colonize.
Manure - Particularly horse manure, is highly valued by gourmet and medicinal mushroom enthusiasts due to its rich nutrients. It contains organic matter that mushrooms thrive on. However, it's crucial to prioritize safety when using manure. Make sure it has been properly composted and doesn't contain any pesticides or harmful chemicals. Fresh manure can also introduce unwanted microbes, so proper care must be taken.
Coco coir - Which is made from coconut husks, is a wonderful choice for growing mushrooms because it's sustainable and renewable. It has the amazing ability to retain water and is often used in conjunction with other substances. Although, when used by itself, coco coir may not provide enough nutrients for certain types of mushrooms. Therefore, it's recommended to use it as a supplement rather than the sole substrate.
Moisture for Growing Mushrooms
Next, it's important to create the ideal growing environment. Mushrooms prefer cool and dark conditions with high humidity levels. You may need to invest in a grow tent or create a designated space where you can control temperature and humidity levels, like an aquarium.
Another crucial aspect of mushroom cultivation is choosing the right mushroom variety for your desired outcome. There are countless types of edible and medicinal mushrooms available, each with their own specific growth requirements and flavours.
Once you have prepared your growing medium, created the optimal environment, and selected your desired mushroom variety, it's time to inoculate your substrate with mushroom spawn. This involves introducing mycelium (the vegetative part of the fungus) into the growing medium to kickstart the growth process.
Throughout the growth cycle, it's important to monitor temperature and humidity levels regularly. Mushrooms require consistent care and attention to ensure successful growth. Depending on the variety you choose, it may take several weeks or even months before you can harvest your first crop.
Oyster Mushrooms - For the best results, oyster mushrooms thrive in a humidity level ranging from 75% to 95%. Why is this important? Maintaining this higher level of humidity is crucial as it keeps the oyster mushrooms wonderfully moist and prevents them from becoming dry. By ensuring a consistent humidity within this range, you can enjoy plump and succulent oyster mushrooms with an absolutely delightful texture.
Lion’s Mane - Lion's Mane mushrooms prefer a slightly higher humidity range compared to oyster mushrooms, typically between 85% to 95%. Creating the right humidity level is crucial for the successful growth of Lion's Mane mushrooms. While it may not be as forgiving as growing oyster mushrooms, it is still relatively straightforward. By using a humidity tent with airflow holes, you can maintain the ideal moisture level needed for cultivating Lion's Mane. The higher humidity promotes the development of its distinctive long and spiky tendrils, which contribute to its unique appearance and texture.
Lighting for Growing Mushrooms
Although mushrooms differ from plants in their photosynthetic capabilities, light still holds great significance in their growth and development. While plants rely on light for energy, mushrooms utilize it as a means to determine their growth direction and initiate the fruiting process.
Artificial Lighting - In the process of cultivating mushrooms, using a 6500K light is crucial as it mimics the spectrum of natural daylight. These types of lights can be set on a timer to simulate a natural day-night cycle for your mushrooms. This way, they can receive adequate light without being exposed to too much brightness. This nurturing spectrum plays a vital role in promoting healthy mushroom growth, ensuring their upward development and overall proper formation.
Avoid Direct Sunlight - Mushrooms truly flourish in ambient light, preferring the gentle glow that filters through curtains or the soft illumination found in shaded areas. It's important to protect them from direct sunlight, as this can dry them out and impede their growth. Ensuring they receive indirect light will help them thrive while keeping them shielded from harmful sun exposure.
Fresh Air for Mushroom Growing
Mushrooms, just like any living organisms, need a careful balance of essential elements to grow successfully. One of these crucial factors is fresh air, which includes the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide known as Fresh Air Exchange (FAE). For mushrooms to carry out their metabolic functions, they require oxygen. Having a consistent supply of fresh oxygen ensures that the mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus, stays strong and vibrant.
When mushrooms grow, they naturally produce carbon dioxide (CO2) as a by-product. However, excessive levels of CO2 can actually impede their growth, resulting in elongated stems and undersized caps. By providing proper Fresh Air Exchange (FAE), the concentration of CO2 can be reduced, allowing mushrooms to develop healthily and thrive.
Fresh Air at Home
In most homes, there is usually a decent amount of fresh air exchange (FAE) happening naturally. This happens through everyday activities like opening doors and windows, as well as the general movement of air. So, there's no need to worry too much about ensuring enough FAE in these environments. However, when it comes to maintaining the right humidity levels, things can get a bit more challenging. It's important to keep an eye on the humidity and make necessary adjustments to prevent the substrate from drying out. This will help create a comfortable and healthy living environment for everyone in your home. A few ways to improve the balance of FAE and moisture are:
Remove any Tents - Try removing the tent for a short period every day. This simple act can infuse the mushrooms with a much-needed breath of fresh air, supplying them with the oxygen they require to thrive.
Exhaust Fans - If you're using grow tents, it's highly recommended to set up an exhaust fan that pulls air outside. This way, you can maintain a consistent supply of fresh air, effectively managing CO2 levels for optimal plant growth.
Cutting Holes - One effective way to enhance the humidity and FAE levels inside a tent is by creating small openings to allow for natural airflow. This technique not only promotes better moisture retention but also helps in maintaining optimal humidity levels.
If collecting all the materials required for growing your own mushrooms at home sounds overwhelming, we highly suggest starting your mushroom growing journey with one of our easy to use Mushroom Growing Kits. Not only do they come ready to use, but they’re a great way to dip your toes in without over spending. Check out our great selection below to get started.
White Oyster Mushroom - White oyster mushrooms possess an exquisite appearance with their fan-shaped cap and white gills. When it comes to taste, they offer a delightful combination of mild, nutty flavors reminiscent of cashews or almonds, with just a hint of seafood-like essence. Their soft and velvety texture adds to the overall sensory experience, while the delicate earthy aroma creates an inviting ambiance.
Blue Oyster Mushroom - Blue oyster mushrooms are truly unique with their blue-gray cap and delicate white gills. When it comes to taste, they offer a mild and savory flavor, with delightful hints of seafood and anise. Their soft and chewy texture gives them a meaty feel that is truly satisfying.
Black Oyster Mushroom - Black oyster mushrooms, a delightful hybrid variety, boast a captivating marbled cap and a sturdy stem. Their flavor profile is truly remarkable, blending sweetness, umami, and a hint of pepperiness for an extraordinary taste experience. With their hearty and chewy texture, these mushrooms lend themselves brilliantly to soups, stews, stir-fries, and even as meat substitutes.
Lion's Mane Mushroom - Lion's mane mushrooms are truly unique with their white, fluffy spines. When cooked, they offer a delightful combination of sweetness and nuttiness that resembles the flavor of seafood. What's more, their tender yet slightly chewy texture makes them incredibly versatile in various culinary creations.
Pink Oyster Mushroom - Pink oyster mushrooms are truly delightful with their distinct pink color and unique fan-shaped cap. When cooked, they offer a delightful sweet and nutty flavor that carries a subtle hint of seafood. Not only that, but their tender and chewy texture also makes them versatile for use in a wide variety of dishes.
Remember that patience is key when it comes to growing mushrooms. It is a process that requires time and dedication but can be incredibly rewarding when you see those first tiny caps emerge from your carefully cultivated substrate.
Whether you're interested in cultivating gourmet culinary mushrooms or exploring the world of medicinal fungi, learning how to grow mushrooms opens up endless possibilities for culinary creations or natural remedies. So roll up your sleeves and embark on this exciting journey of mushroom cultivation – who knows what delicious surprises await!