Growing your own mushroom fungi is not only amazing, but will save you the stress of foraging for them in the wild.
You only need just a few tools, mushroom spawn plugs, and following through its growth requirements while you await a bountiful harvest of your mushrooms.
If finding a particular type of mushroom to add to meals is very cumbersome, then you should consider growing your own colony.
MUSHROOMS ARE EVERYWHERE
There are millions of species of mushrooms growing in our world today. Some of which include: shiitake, oyster, turkey tail, reishi, lion’s mane, chanterelle, chicken of the woods and many others.
Mushrooms exist in the edible and poisonous species. The edible is known to provide various benefits, while the poisonous is so dangerous for human consumption.
Foraging for mushrooms although a dangerous sport is exciting and at the end satisfying because you’d eventually lay your hands on some to take home. In England, it is a common sport engaged in by many.
If you find some group of persons going for a hike, it is probable that they are also planning on foraging for mushrooms. They can be found growing in tall trees or at the base of the trunks, or along the perimeter of a perfect swimming hole.
However, you shouldn’t get carried away by the fun of mushroom hunting so as to not unknowingly hunt for the poisonous species. As such, it is very important that you always carry your identification book along to examine if the mushroom you are hunting for is poisonous or not.
There are many edible-looking mushrooms out there, but extremely dangerous to the extent of causing nausea, seizures, hallucinations and even death.
For example, there is the chanterelle, a well-known and used mushroom all over the world, that bears a striking resemblance to the Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca species, but very poisonous. You can easily mistake the real thing for the false one, and end up preparing it for dinner!
Therefore, it is advisable that you go along with your identification book, or a friend who is familiar with mushrooms so as to not confuse the edible for the poisonous ones.
To completely avoid such risk or confusion, it is better to grow your own mushrooms in your backyard, watch them grow and enjoy after harvesting!
WHY RISK IT? GROW A MUSHROOM AT HOME INSTEAD!
You can grow your own mushroom farm and save yourself the risk! Here’s how:
First of all look out for a company that sells the species of mushroom you intend to cultivate.
The company and vendor you’re purchasing the mushroom, mushroom spawn or plugs, must have a good reputation that can provide you with all the necessary information and material you need to effectively grow your own mushroom.
If you are new to growing your own mushroom, it is advisable to start with the species with less stress to cultivate. I’d advise you to go for oysters. This species of mushroom thrives and flourishes effortlessly in many different temperature ranges and climates, so it shouldn’t give you much trouble.
Shiitakes are another easy-to-grow species of mushrooms.
After selecting the mushroom you want to cultivate, the next thing to do is to gather tools and supplies that will be needed to cultivate them. They include:
- Mushroom plugs
- Freshly cut stump, or logs cut 3-4 feet in length
- 5/16th steel drill bit
- Rubber mallet
- Soy wax
- Small foam paintbrush
MUSHROOM PLUGS AND WOOD: A PERFECT MATCH
It is important to note that in nature, certain mushrooms grow better on a certain type of wood.
While some prefer to grow on hardwoods such as oak, maple, or elm. Others prefer softwood like spruce, fir, or pine.
After determining the species of mushroom you want to grow, also find out what kind of wood they thrive best on or in.
The logs you intend to grow your mushrooms must be cut from healthy trees showing no signs of deterioration. A good wood to grow on means healthy growth for the mushroom.
Recently cut logs should be left to age at least 2 to 3 weeks before growing mushrooms on them. Logs keeps more than six months cannot be used as they already have lichen and fungus growing in them.
Freshly cut logs, makes it easy for the mushrooms to settle and colonize.
LET’S DO THIS
Now that you have gotten a freshly cut stump, you can begin drilling holes all around the tops and sides for the plugs to fit in.
Drill about 1 ¼’’ into the stump to create enough space for each plug to fit in comfortable. A stump can hold up to fifty plugs.
If you are going for logs, drill holes all along the length of the logs in rows spaced inch apart. You can also fit in about fifty plugs into a 3 to 4 foot log.
HAMMER THEM IN
This process is known as inoculation.
Open up your bag of mushroom spawn plugs. Grab your mallet and gently put the tip of each plug into the drilled hole and hammer them in.
Whichever medium you choose to grow your mushroom whether stumps or logs, these mushrooms are healthy and ready to grow on them. That is after hammering in the plugs in the log or sum.
The dowels of the plugs are soft and may squish when hammering them in. as long as they all fit into the hole, it will work just perfectly.
SEAL THE DEAL
The next thing to do after hammering the spawn plugs into the drilled holes, is to cover the holes with wax. Wax helps to keep the mycelium safe, clean, and protected.
The wax must be first of all heated in a double boiler on a stove or in the microwave. Using a small foam or paintbrush, cover the holes with hot wax.
STACK IT UP
If you are using logs, ensure to stack them up against a wall or something, somewhere where they can get enough ventilation and absorb moisture.
Do not place your logs in a spot that is always too sunny as it will cause your mushrooms to dry out too quickly.
THE POWER OF WATER WHEN GROWING MUSHROOMS
At the initial stage of the mushroom growth, which is the phase when the spawn is getting to colonize its new home (the log), water is very important.
You need to constantly water the log for the first few weeks until you’re sure they have absorbed enough water.
That done, allow the wood to seek its moisture. However, if you stay in a hot climate area with low humidity, ensure water every week.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GROW A MUSHROOM?
Mushrooms generally take a long time to grow to maturity. Depending on the species you decide to plant, they can take as little as six months or as long as two years.
Indoor cultivation is usually faster than planting outdoors because then you have to replicate natural growing conditions for the spawn.
Although it is a slow process, the wait is worth it!
After successfully cultivating your first batch of mushrooms, you may want to grow more by experimenting with other species and different growing mediums.
The most effective growing medium is using stumps or logs.
Other mediums include: using hardwood chips or hardwood sawdust, burlap bags or plastic bags with holes punched in them which allows the mushroom to grow through it.
HOMEGROWN MUSHROOM ON DEMAND
Edible mushrooms exist in a large variety of species, from shiitake to porcini, and reishi to blue chanterelle. Find out what type you like to eat and procedures to grow them in your backyard!