Do you love mushrooms as much as we do? We stocked up this fall and have frozen a good deal of mushrooms for future soups and stews. However, fresh mushrooms are just as delicious and, after binging Youtube again, I learned can be grown in your own home. If you’re wondering why in the world someone would go through the trouble of growing their own mushrooms, well, consider it another form of gardening where you’ll know exactly the method used to grow your food. For some folks, this knowledge offers a sense of security, especially when nowadays organic food has been mislabeled left and right. The food industry isn’t perfect, mind you, but I’ve decided that because I hate being so worried about what I’m putting in my body, I’d much rather just watch my mushrooms grow in the comfort of my own home.
There are many ways to grow mushrooms but I’ve gone ahead and selected 3 of my preferred methods of obtaining these yummy fungi. I’ll be providing links to tutorials or other web pages to help you begin researching your preferred method. Remember, always do your own research and pick what fits you and your personal lifestyle.
Buy a Mushroom Grow Kit
Probably the easiest way to grow mushrooms, these kits already come prepared with actively growing mycelium that will later grow into mushrooms. All the hard work of sterilization, inoculation, and watching for any nasty molds is already done for you with these kits. Depending on the company, the kits can come as a huge brick of mycelium wrapped in a plastic bag; or, the kits can be a reusable plastic dome with the mycelium growing at the bottom of the container.
Picking the type of kit that you want will depend on you. For example, if you wish to grow mushrooms as an experiment, you can purchase a small oyster grow kit from Back to the Roots and watch the mushrooms explode from an already open slot in the kit box. The Back to the Roots kit is also easy for kids to set up and use. Homeschool project anyone? If you’re wanting to grow a large number of mushrooms then consider purchasing larger grow kits, preferably the bagged mycelium bricks to potentially increase your yield. These bags can grow a good amount of mushrooms since there is so much more mycelium to work with rather than the limited kid’s kits.
Want to learn more? Check out Wholesome Root’s brief thoughts over their Lion’s Mane Mushroom Block!
WARNING: DO NOT CONSUME ANY FORAGED MUSHROOMS WITHOUT IDENTIFYING THEM PROPERLY AND ENSURING THEY ARE SAFE TO EAT. IF YOU’RE NOT SURE, DO NOT EAT IT!
Alright, so it’s not really a growing method but hey, mushrooms do grow naturally in forests, off park trails, even in some backyards. Foraging for mushrooms will require extensive research on your part in order to ensure that the fungi you picked are safe to eat. Remember that a good amount of wild mushrooms are toxic and can kill you if eaten. Even so, there are also some mushrooms that are safe to eat and are prolific to forage. These mushrooms can include:
Interested in foraging? Learn how to identify these yummy fungi with the Wild Mushroom Hunter on Youtube! Make sure to check your local foraging laws and resources to ensure your safety while you’re sniffing these out!
Grow Mushrooms at Home
Did you know you can grow mushrooms under your sink? Heck yeah you can! Even I, a useless millennial, learned how to grow oyster mushrooms in my cabinets. Now, I’m going to be really honest with you: inoculating your own mushrooms is a lot more complicated than using a mushroom grow kit. Recall that the kits have ready to produce mycelium which lives in a perfect humid environment provided by its plastic bag. When you’re growing your own mushrooms without a kit, you will not have this luxury.
Growing mushrooms starts from the very beginning of the mushroom cycle: the mushroom spore. Mushrooms spores can be ordered online, such as through Sporeworks, and can be sold either in a syringe or as a spore print. Like plant seeds, spores require an ideal environment to start spreading and growing across its substrate, or growing solution. However, because the spores require a warm, humid environment to grow, this also brings about nasty molds that could easily kill your mycelium and make any mushrooms that do grow dangerous to eat. This is why it is very important that you follow well-written, well-researched, properly honed DIY mushroom grow guides to the letter. If you skip any steps, like I did last week, you end up with mason jars filled with a scary assortment of molds.
I can’t tell you which method is best for growing mushrooms at home. Some folks use a Brown Rice Tek method that involves a sterile environment to inoculate the spores. Others have attempted growing mushrooms in coolers filled with horse manure. There are some methods that work to establish a mushroom colony in your garden that will fruit or spawn mushrooms overtime, much like plants that reseed themselves or come back every year. Also, different mushrooms require different substrates and depending on what you want to grow, you might have to use brown rice flour or hay or manures or who knows what else!
I’m currently trying to grow oyster mushrooms using the Brown Rice Flour TEK. Since my last batch failed epically due to skipped steps, I went ahead and reinoculated my mason jars, this time following the linked tutorial step by step. Do some research on what mushrooms you’d want to grow, what grow technique would be best for your lifestyle and mushroom choice and compare prices of spores from multiple online shops. Growing your own mushrooms opens up a large variety of fungi you can eat without depending on your area’s weather.
Well, I’m off to get my jars off the stove. Do some research and figure out which of these methods would best work for your mushroom needs. As always, continue to be kind and tender to one another.