I had written a pretty lengthy article about growing mushrooms sometime ago, but I thought this subject requires additional articles (see links below—more will be added in due course) to be put on the site.
Now, have you ever considered growing mushrooms during the winter months inside your warm snuggie house or apartment?
You can raise your own mushroom crop outdoors or indoors but I prefer indoors. Now we are not discussing wild mushrooms here but ones that you grow and are safe to consume like shiitake, oyster, or portabella.
The reason I prefer growing mushrooms indoors is the very fact of insects and diseases that exist in an outdoor situation. For example mushrooms are one of the favorites of slugs.
The best way I feel is raising mushrooms indoors especially in the beginning and you may graduate to the outdoors with experience. You can become a mycologist by studying the different species so that if you graduate to the outdoors, you can easily identify if poisonous wild mushrooms have invaded your patch of cultivated fungi.
Incidentally a mycologist is one who makes a study of fungi. Shiitake mushroom a favorite among growing mushrooms. As far I am concerned here, we are going to cover just the raising of mushrooms indoors. There are two methods of doing this inside your cozy walls.
The first method is the purchase of spawn or germinated mushroom spores and using a growing medium such as compost, sawdust, or newspaper you then start your own homegrown mushrooms.
You can purchase spawn from numerous websites selling mushrooms and are accompanied by complete instructions. Never purchase in this method if instructions or other helpful information or supplies are not available.
A Better Approach to Growing Mushrooms—Buy a Kit
The growing mushroom kit arrives just as pictured above and is completely designed to allow you to proceed with homegrown mushrooms. The kits contain all the necessary ingredients to grow several crops of mushrooms over an eight to twelve week period.
All that is necessary for you is to follow the instructions and you will have weeks of fun as you harvest your home grown mushrooms. There are different types of mushrooms kits available.
The oyster kits are usually a huge amount of white sticky mycelium (The mass of fine branching tubes (known as hyphae) that forms the main growing structure of a fungus). Visible structures like mushrooms are reproductive structures produced by the mycelium.
This is about as technical as I would like to get here. This mycelium is fully colonized on a small tower of wheat or oat straw and arrives in a perforated bag. If you keep it moist and humid, the tower will produce at least two harvests. The picture above is a pearl oyster kit.
The shiitake mushroom arrives in a sterilized block of sawdust because the large surface area between sawdust particles allows easy opportunities for colonization. The growing of mushrooms as you may note has a lingo all of its own.
It would be wise to add some of these words to your vocabulary repertoire. The interesting aspect of shiitake mushrooms is how they are cultivated outdoors.
You purchase plugs of spawn which are sometimes encased in a wooden dowel, and then get yourself a forty inch long piece of oak or other dense hardwood that is approximately four to six inches in diameter.
Then using a drill you make one inch deep holes about five to six inches apart and if you have purchased the spawn in dowels, you tap the dowels into the wood with a hammer.
You then close the hole by covering with a thin coat of melted wax to prevent drying and seal out any contamination and then you need to crisscross the logs in a shady spot and water heavily twice week.
You can also purchase a kit like the one pictured above which is already for raising mushrooms. However if you desire to become a true mycologist then the log method is the way to go.
Now you know why shiitake mushrooms bring a good price in your local markets if grown in this fashion. I would believe most commercial production is done with a log and plugs of spawn or they raise their own spawn. The picture here is a view of shiitake production in oak logs.
The last kit I am going to cover is the popular portabella growing mushroom kit. This is by far my most favorite mushroom. It’s fun and allows you to enjoy organically grown mushrooms either the criminis (baby portabella) or the full size ones.
A good kit will yield its first crop in about three weeks just follow the instructions as with all of the kits. It should continue to provide you with growing mushrooms for about eight weeks.
Here is a little tip. When the kit has finished its course, use the spent compost to enrich your organic garden. You see my web page on organic gardening at organic gardening and learn how to plant a garden with no chemicals.
Let’s get started and have a good fall or winter project by growing mushrooms in your home or apartment. I believe you should look into this shortly since there is a limited time to purchase these kits.
Let me know how you made out by contacting me using this contact form link.