How to grow mushrooms
If you’re interested in growing your food or if you’ve been maintaining a home garden for some time, then you surely have wondered about growing mushrooms. They aren’t your typical backyard garden plant and usually are grown indoors or in containers. However, raising them for food is an excellent option as they are low in calories and fat, high in potassium and are also very fibrous.
So, how do you go about growing your mushrooms? With the right tips and appropriate conditions, it isn’t a tough task at all. Just follow this guide and you’ll be growing mushrooms in no time!
Pick your mushroom(s):
Before you start growing, you need to decide which mushrooms you want to grow. Base this decision on taste and which you’d like to eat more or prefer the taste of. Some of the most common home garden mushrooms are Shiitake, White Button, Oyster, Enoki, Portobello, etc.
The kind of mushroom you choose will dictate the conditions that are required. For example, Oyster mushrooms grow on straw, White Button on composted manure and Shiitake on hardwood sawdust or wood.
Mushroom Spore or Spawn?
Unlike other plants, mushrooms aren’t grown from regular seeds. Instead, you have the choice of growing them from either spores (which are like microscopic seeds) or spawns (which can be compared to seedlings). Growing mushrooms with spawn are considered easier and quicker. You can buy either at a reputed online retail store or a gardening supply store. If you’re a beginner, then it’s best to stick to spawn for now.
The perfect conditions for mushroom cultivation:
Now that you’ve got your spawn, it’s time to get the conditions ready for growth. If you’re growing spawn in sawdust, then you will need to sterilize the growing medium before you start. But don’t worry, it’s easy! All you need to do is take your sawdust in a container with water and heat it in a microwave for about two minutes. This will kill off any microorganisms in the medium.
Once that is done, spread the sawdust in a baking pan that can be heated quickly. Once that is done, spread the mushroom spawn evenly throughout. Then, place this on a heating pad set to approximately 21°C as warm temperatures encourage growth. Finally, keep this entire set up in the dark environment, like a cupboard for about three weeks. This is when your mushrooms will begin to ‘germinate’.
Mushroom cultivation after three weeks:
It’s time to properly ‘sow’ your mushrooms by now placing the tray in a cold and dark environment; that’s at about 13°C. A basement or a cabinet usually works for this. Once there, place some potting soil on top of this mixture and spray with enough water to get the entire medium moderately moist and damp. Ensure that the mixture remains cool as the mushrooms grow.
In about three weeks, you’ll begin to see small mushrooms growing, keep the area damp to encourage this growth. Once the caps separate from the stems, then your mushrooms are ready! Just cut them at the base of the stem and rinse properly before eating.
This should get you, your very own harvest of beautiful homegrown mushrooms!