Home gardeners looking for the next horizon may wish to try a mushroom growing kit. Growing your own mushrooms takes different skills than growing even prize-winning flowers and vegetables. But imagine impressing guests with a traditional full breakfast or a steak and mushroom pie that includes mushrooms you grew yourself. The challenge is worth it.
Home Mushroom Cultivation
Home growers take several approaches to growing mushrooms. A basic mushroom kit includes a substrate, some kind of greenhouse chamber, and mushroom spores. More advanced growers take a year at a time to grow mushrooms on sections of log in the garden. The kits they use include sections of dowel that are scored lengthwise to give the liquid culture of mushroom spawn a place to attach. Those dowels are driven into drilled holes in the log sections. The simplest home mushroom growing is done using toilet rolls as the growing medium.
Home mushroom kits make even exotic mushrooms affordable. Kits or spawn are available for growing shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, lion's mane mushrooms, and many other edible mushrooms. Mushroom spawn come suspended in liquid cultures injected into the growth media using syringe-like devices. Oyster mushroom cultures offered in liquid suspension include brown, golden, trumpet, pink, and king oyster mushrooms.
Containers, Growth Media, and Incubators
Mushroom kits include sterilised growing pots and growing media, such as vermiculite. The growth medium is injected with the mushroom spores. After several weeks, a network of fine white filaments, or mycelia, should grow throughout the growth substrate. In these kits, the pots fit into a growing tray that you can cover with a plastic greenhouse dome at this point. This creates a more humid environment that encourages the mycelia to shoot up mushrooms. Other kits use sterile mushroom grow bags. A pressure cooker is a good tool for sterilising these bags. Growth media include mushroom substrates made from many materials: brown rice flour, straw and horse manure, coconut coir, rye grain, and mushroom compost.
Tips About Spores and Substrates
When using toilet roll as a convenient substrate, use the unbleached kind. Otherwise, the mushrooms will contain toxic dioxins absorbed from the paper. Additionally, even when a mushroom growing kit comes complete with spores, you may wish to purchase fresh mushroom spores when you are ready to start the project. That way you can be sure to begin with the freshest spawn and obtain the best results.