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Love mushrooms? Would you like to grow your own? Learning how to grow mushrooms at home could be a fun experience for the whole family.
Mushrooms can be found growing on mossy bark of trees, as well as the shady soil under some trees. They prefer damp and dark areas.
Unlike other green plants that make their own food through the process of photosynthesis, mushrooms get nutrients and energy from metabolizing dead and decaying organic matter, or by simply absorbing nutrients from living plant roots.
The typical lifecycle of a mushroom begins with mycelium, a fungal colony that has white spider web-like fibers that can easily be found in soil and also other substrates. It spreads in search of both nutrients and water when an adequate environment is sourced from where small sizes of pinheads emerge above the ground.
How to Grow Mushrooms at Home
Before you decide to grow mushrooms at home, you must, first of all, choose the type of mushroom you intend to grow. Some of the popular mushroom types you can choose from include:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- White button mushrooms
You’ll need to buy spawn or spores of the mushroom type you want to grow from a well-reputed dealer.
There are different growing mediums that can be used in the growing of mushrooms at home. For example:
- shitake mushrooms require hardwood sawdust
- white button mushrooms need composted manure
- oyster mushrooms prefer straw
Step by step guide to making your own mushroom growing kit
The easiest way of growing mushrooms at home is to simply buy a mushroom kit or even make your own using the following steps:
- Get a shallow 8- gallon container that is made of plastic. Make some air holes on all sides of the container using a power drill. Make one hole at the end of the container. Follow the same level while creating others, and leave a two-inch space or gap between holes. After finishing one side of the container, turn it to the other side and repeat the same process.
- Wash the container using 1 part bleach, 1 part water solution to sterilize the entire growing area and also kill any pests or bacteria that can be a threat to your mushrooms.
- Fill the container using a 3-inch layer that consists of equal proportions of peat moss, potting soil, and sterile organic compost. Then smooth the top of this to make a flat and even surface.
- Remove all stems from the mushrooms that you purchased at the store and place the caps with their gills down on a wax paper that is clean. Wait 24 hours for these caps to release spores that will be used for growing.
- Add the soil mix to a sealable envelope. With a lot of care, transfer all the mushroom spores collected to the sealable envelope for storage.
- Use a clear plastic wrap to cover the top of the container to be used for growing the mushrooms. Drill some holes in the plastic wrap to add air inlets. Finalize the growing kit with a water spray bottle you’ll use for misting the soil and also the growing instructions.
Planting the mushrooms
Now that you have your own kit, the next thing is to know how to plant the mushrooms. Here’s how:
- remove the plastic wrap that you placed on top of the container
- mist the top surface of the soil mixture until it becomes moist
- spread the collected spores evenly across the growing container
- mist the spores lightly using the spray bottle
- place the plastic wrap back on top of the growing container
- take the container to a low light area that has a temperature of approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the areas where one can take the container is under the kitchen sink.
- mist the soil lightly after two days to keep the soil damp
- the white thread-like fibers also called mycelium should start appearing after 14 days of spore transplant. The mushrooms will start to sprout about a week or so later.
- when the mushrooms mature, start harvesting them. This leaves space for others to sprout easily.
- keep the soil moist for other mushrooms to sprout
- fill the gaps left with compost to ensure that the mushrooms can be pulled out with the roots easily
Why should you eat mushrooms
While dense in nutrients, some mushrooms are low in calories.
They are excellent sources of B vitamins, like niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.
When mushrooms are exposed to sunlight, they become enriched with large amounts of vitamin D. According to some studies, they are also good sources of selenium, potassium, ergothioneine, and copper.
Mushrooms have many benefits:
- boosting immune system function
- promoting good heart health
- fighting dangerous diseases such as cancer
In conclusion, you will find that to grow mushrooms at home isn’t difficult in any way provided you follow the above-mentioned steps. The process is fun too.
Mushrooms grown at home are often tastier and also have a higher nutritional value than those bought in stores. And since you will perform most of the tasks required on your own, it will save you money.
You can grow mushrooms at home at any time of the year since its cultivation requires no special knowledge. Have fun growing mushroom at home.
Author Bio: Ella Wilson, founder of TinyPlantation.com is passionate about growing fruits and vegetables.