Wednesday, 25 May 2011


It seems like to fun to grow mushrooms at home or in the garden in order to get the freshest ingredients for your recipes. There are many varieties of mushrooms which can be grown at home including Oyster, Shiitake, Lions Mane, White Button and Portobello mushrooms.  They are popular due to their general taste and ease of growing.  Mushroom spawn for these varieties is readily available to purchase

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of mycelium, a fungus that grows underground. In nature mushrooms grow on the woodland floor or on lower parts of trees/rotting wood.  The fungus feeds on decomposing material and likes moist, shady conditions.  There are two ways of propagating mushrooms at home, either using mushroom spawn on a substrate or impregnated logs. It is important to keep the mushrooms as sterile as possible in order to prevent other bacteria infecting your crop.
These can be grown any time of year.  You can buy mushroom growing kits containing sterilised compost, a container for growing them in and mushroom spores.  Alternatively, you can buy spores to use on your own substrate and container.

Growing mushrooms on logs outside

Mushrooms can be grown in your garden on logs. Mushrooms spores can be purchased as plugs, which are small dowels of wood that have been impregnated. Select a log that is a few months old, and is a hardwood such as birch, beech or ash. Drill holes into the log and hammer in the plugs.  Water well and position the log in a shady area of your garden.  Keep well watered.  You may wish to cover the log in a mulch of wet leaves to help retain moisture. Mushrooms will be ready for harvesting in a few months time.

Growing mushrooms on a substrate indoors

Mushrooms can be grown in a plastic bag placed with a thick cardboard box or in a plastic tray with a lid. Fill the container with a suitable substrate such as wood chips, sawdust, compost or paper. Mix in mushroom spawn at manufacturers recommended rates and water.  Water as necessary to ensure mushrooms are kept moist.  Place the container in a cool, dark area such as a garage or basement. Mushrooms will be ready to crop in 2-3 months depending on variety.

Growing mushrooms on substrate outdoors

You can grow mushrooms outside in a shady area in your garden by introducing mycelium spores into your substrate. Bark mulch or leaf mould works very well. You may wish to start your mushrooms inside in sterile conditions and then transplant to your substrate outside.  You will need to ensure you keep the substrate is kept moist.

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