(Making your very own mushroom garden in your house)
Do you like mushrooms? Many of us, probably gardeners might be wondering if it is possible to grow mushrooms in the safety of your home, right? Well, the answer is a big yes.
These curious but tasty fungi are typically grown indoors rather than in the garden. You can purchase mushroom growing kits, but it is also possible to set up your own area for growing mushrooms.
But do you also know that you can grow a lot of high-value mushrooms in un-used spaces, and that it can be quite quick to learn?
If not, then let me tell you a bit about it. Growing mushrooms at home is a task that any gardener interested in growing their own food should attempt.
Mushrooms are a healthy addition to any diet, as they are low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and contain high amounts of potassium and selenium.
Mushrooms are best grown indoors where the temperature and light conditions can be more readily managed. Learning how to grow mushrooms indoors is a matter of managing their growing conditions carefully.
(Where do Mushrooms usually grow?)
Mushrooms can be found thriving on the mossy bark of trees and the shady soil beneath the umbrage of plants, preferring the dark and damp areas of the wild. Mushrooms prefer dark, cool, moist, and humid growing environments.
In a house, a basement is often ideal you can put some plant shelves in it, but a spot under the sink may be all you’ll ever need.
In contrary to many green plants that go through the process of photosynthesis (converting sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into food), mushrooms receive their energy and nutrients completely from metabolizing dead or decaying organic matter or by absorbing nutrients from the roots of a living plant.
If this is your first attempt in trying to grow a mushroom, then you may want to purchase a kit to become better acquainted with the basics of fungi culture.
Check the temperature of the room that you’re going to use. Most mushrooms grow best in temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees F, away from drying, direct heat, sunlight and drafts (or instead use a lean-to greenhouse, just like this one at gardensonata.com.au).
Many basements are too warm in the summer to grow mushrooms, so you might want to reconsider growing mushrooms as your winter project.
Mushrooms can tolerate some light, but the spot you choose should stay relatively dark or in low light.
Some mushroom types grow outdoors in prepared ground or logs, a process that takes much longer (six months to three years) than in controlled environments inside.
(Types of Mushrooms and some of its Facts.)
Is Mushroom a plant or fungi?
Well... All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms. It is very similar to the flowering or fruiting in plants. These mature mushrooms produce microscopic spores that are similar to pollen and seeds.
There are many kinds of mushrooms. One of the beauties of growing your own mushroom instead of wild-harvesting them is that you can be sure you're not picking and going to eat a poisonous mushroom.
Before you start growing mushrooms inside your house, decide first what kind of mushroom you’ll be growing.
There are three popular types of mushroom that are commonly grown in houses.
And these are:
Buy a spore or spawn of your chosen mushroom from a reputable dealer (Which of them can be found online).
For the purposes of mushroom growing at home, think of spores as seeds and spawn as seedlings. Spawn is easier to handle and grow mushrooms at home.
Shiitake mushrooms have been a popular food source in Asia, for almost a hundred of years.
They’re the second most popular and the third most widely cultivated edible mushrooms in the world.
Today, this kind of mushroom can be found in most grocery stores because of their meaty and versatile flavor, but did you know?
Shiitakes are packed with B vitamins and have the power to fight cancer cells, cardiovascular disease and infections. That’s just a few of shiitake mushroom nutrition benefits.
Oyster mushrooms may sound more like something you'd find in the ocean than on land.
Oysters are one of the most versatile mushrooms. They are easy to cultivate and common all over the world. They are also very beautiful, coming in a broad spectrum of colors.
It is a saprotroph, meaning it feeds on dead and decaying matter (mainly wood), and they have a unique scent that is often described as sweet like anise or licorice.
Oysters naturally produce compounds called statins. Statin drugs reduce "bad cholesterol" (LDL) by stimulating receptors in the liver to clear the cholesterol from the body.
White Button Mushroom is one of the most commonly grown mushrooms throughout the world.
It's eaten by millions of people every day.
They're relatively inexpensive, easy to find, have a great taste, and they're harder to mangle in a recipe than the delicate chanterelle or delicious morel.
These mushrooms are also rich in vitamin B, selenium, potassium, and other important vitamins and minerals. They're also high in protein, around 20 - 30% by dry weight, White Button Mushroom along with many other edible mushrooms; contain a few poisonous or irritating compounds.
These include hydrazine, a group of carcinogenic chemicals.
These different substrates reflect the different nutritional needs of each species; however, each of these three species can be grown readily enough in sawdust or straw.
Make sure that if you use sawdust it is from untreated wood. Choosing a type of mushroom to grow is a matter of taste. You should grow the type you most want to eat.
If you want to grow mushrooms in your home, then there are a couple of options for materials that you can use to help you in growing your mushrooms.
You can purchase a mushroom kit that are already packed with a growing medium and is inoculated with mushroom spawn.
Mushroom spawn is sawdust permeated with mushroom mycelia — essentially the root structure of the fungus. It is used much like a plant seedlings to facilitate growth.
You can also purchase high-quality mushroom spawn from several online retailers, some gardening supply stores, or some specialty organic living stores.
Just make sure to buy a spawn rather than spores. Some retailers will also sell spores, which are more akin to the seeds of plants (rather than seedlings).
Growing mushrooms from spores takes more time and practice, and is best suited for a seasoned mushroom grower. Visit Mushroom Farming at Home for more ideas.
For first-time growers, growing mushrooms from a ready-made kit can be a fun, easy option for producing your own mushrooms.
These kits usually consist of plastic bags filled with sterilized, inoculated straw or soil. All you need to do keep the bag in the correct conditions and put it in plant hangers or in some plant shelves.
In seven to 10 days you'll have homegrown mushrooms.
Kits will usually cost between $20 and $30 and can be used to grow most of the common mushroom varieties such as white button, crimini, portobello, lion's mane, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms.
Your mushrooms will begin to sprout after a week or 10 days the most, but you can expect to see two or three flushes of growth over a three month period.
The great thing about these kits is that after they have finished producing mushrooms, you can bury them outdoors under bark mulch or in your compost pile. Then, depending on weather conditions, mushrooms may start to pop up in that spot again.
If you are growing mushrooms in a straw or sawdust, it is also necessary to sterilize these growing mediums before inoculating with the spawn.
This process is made to kill micro-organisms that can compete with mycelia. You can do it by placing it in a microwave safe bowl with enough water to make the straw or sawdust damp, heat on until the water boils. Heat the substrate so that the mycelia will spread.
The mycelia in your mushroom spawn need to spread into the substrate thoroughly before producing mushrooms, and a warm temperature encourages this growth.
Leave it in a dark environment like a cabinet for about three weeks. This will allow the mushroom mycelia to permeate the substrate.
Check it after two weeks if it has been fully colonized. In about three weeks, you should see small mushrooms appearing.
Continue to keep their environment moist, cool, and dark to encourage their growth. When you see that their mushroom caps have already separated fully from their stems, they are now ready to harvest.
You can pluck the mushrooms out with your fingers, but the risk of damaging the newly developing fungi beneath the surface is great.
Instead, use a sharp knife to cut the mushrooms at the base of the stem.It is best to rinse the mushrooms before cooking or eating. You can store harvested mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.
(How to properly store fresh and newly harvested Mushrooms)
Freshly picked mushrooms will stay good for days if stored right. Store fresh mushrooms the right way, and they'll stay good for up to a week.
It's easy. Just place the whole, unwashed mushrooms in a brown paper bag and fold the top of the bag over to seal it. Then stick the bag in the main compartment of your refrigerator.
This works because the bag absorbs excess moisture from the mushrooms so they don't get soggy or moldy. Mushrooms also freeze well, but it's best to get them in the freezer as soon as you can.
Don't wait for your mushrooms to start deteriorating in the fridge before you decide to freeze some.
Avoid placing mushrooms near foods with strong odors or flavors because they'll absorb them like a sponge.
If you have a large mushroom haul, be careful about setting some aside for eating right away and others for eating later. Try to be realistic on how many you'll eat in the next week so you can freeze the rest before they get saggy.
Mushrooms need to be cooked before they're frozen. This will stop the enzyme action, thereby preserving their quality, so it's important not to skip this step.
See also: How to Grow Your Own Herbs in Your Own Kitchen Garden
Mushroom care is a very easy but requires a lot of patience until you get the right one. The following list is some of the useful tips that might benefit you and the crop while growing mushrooms at home.
After harvesting your mushrooms store it in a refrigerator for a week using a paper bag. Using a paper bag will keep the mushrooms fresh.
Maintain the best-growing temperature i.e. 65-75 F for mushrooms at home indoors.
Do not over water mushrooms as it can easily absorb the water and damages the growth.
Do not soak mushrooms in water as there may be the chance of absorbing moisture levels.
Brush off any dust or peat moss present on mushrooms with your fingers or using a damp towel.
While harvesting mushrooms, wear gloves and use a sharp knife, shears or cutters cut the mushrooms properly
Make sure you only buy the mushroom spawn and not the spores. Growing mushrooms from spores can take much more time, practice and is much suitable for seasonable crop growing.