Whether enjoyed in a risotto, grilled on the barbecue, or added to a stir fry, mushrooms are incredibly versatile when it comes to cooking and are a great addition to your edible garden! As expert gardeners, we are big fans of growing mushrooms! In this guide, we explain the benefits of growing your own mushrooms and how to ensure your mushrooms are thriving and healthy.
When many people consider growing their own fruit and veggies at home, mushrooms aren’t always at the top of their list. However, there are so many benefits to growing mushrooms at home! Here are some of the reasons why you need to start harvesting your own mushrooms.
Mushrooms are low maintenance and very easy to grow at home. They are a great choice for beginner gardeners who are curious about growing their own edible produce. They don’t need much attention or specialised growing conditions, only a dark and cool spot and regular misting to begin growing. If you choose to grow using a mushroom kit, it’s even easier as the growth substrate is already optimised for your mushrooms.
Unlike other vegetable crops, mushrooms don’t require much space. They can grow in compact kits on a shelf, be grown vertically in a shed, or on a small log outside! You also won’t have to worry about them taking over the garden like other edible plants such as mint, as they’ll remain growing in their kit or container for a few harvests before dying off.
From enoki to shiitake, oyster to button, there are so many different varieties of mushrooms to choose from! This means you are sure to find the perfect mushroom variety for you, and you won’t ever get bored of growing the different types.
There’s nothing better than eating something you’ve grown yourself. You can eat your homegrown mushrooms in multiple dishes. Add your mushrooms to a pasta or use them as a meat substitute for a burger.
Now that you know all the benefits of growing mushrooms yourself, it’s time to get started on producing your own crop!
When it comes to mushroom growing, you’ve got two choices – use a mushroom kit or create your own DIY set up. There are benefits and disadvantages for both options, however if you are new to growing mushrooms then we recommend using a kit. A mushroom kit has the benefit of being ready to grow immediately, as well as clear instructions. This means that you are saved significant time and effort setting up your mushrooms and can expect a harvest quicker. It also ensures that your mushrooms have the best chance of survival as all you need to do is follow the instructions.
If you are an experienced mushroom grower or confident gardener, you may wish to create your own set up. A do it yourself approach is ideal if you are wanting to grow a larger amount of mushrooms, a more exotic variety or are growing on your own preferred substrate. Mushrooms grown on logs can take considerably longer to grow, taking up to one to two years before the first harvest. They do have the benefit of lasting considerably longer than kits and can continue producing mushroom harvests for six to seven years.
If you are using a mushroom kit, follow our steps below!
The first step to ensuring success for your mushroom harvest is to choose the right space for your kit. Ideally, you want your mushroom kit to be in an area with a stable temperature (avoiding drafts and air-conditioning vents), low light (no direct sunlight), and can be monitored easily so you can track the progress of your mushrooms.
Depending on your mushroom kit brand and variety, the requirements may vary so we recommend taking a close look at the instructions and following them accordingly.
To ensure your mushrooms can grow, you’ll need to keep the kit moist and humid. However, avoid overwatering! We recommend using a spray bottle to mist the surface, ideally it should feel like the surface of a wet sponge. You also never want your mushroom kit to dry out, so set regular reminders and keep an eye on your kit.
While it may depend on your specific mushroom kit, your mushrooms should be ready for harvesting within three to five weeks! Following this first harvest, your mushroom will crop every twelve weeks until production drops off and you will need to dispose of your kit.
Our steps below are for growing mushrooms without a kit, and instead using a log and sawdust spawn.
To grow mushrooms out of a log, you need to choose the right choice or wood. We recommend using oak or hardwood as they are rather dense and can sustain mushroom populations for much longer than other poplars or softwood types. You also need a log which has enough moisture to sustain the mushrooms, and has minimal bark damage and no signs of bacteria or fungal infections.
To grow your mushrooms in the log, you need to ‘plant’ the spawn. This is the living fungal culture, also known as mycelium, and will grow onto a substrate which is what produces your mushrooms. You can think of the spawn as the equivalent of seeds. To plant the spawn into the log, you need to drill holes into the wood. We recommend drilling holes one inch deep and six inches apart in a row. Then rotate the log two inches before starting the new row. Your rows should be offset, creating a diamond pattern. Following this, fill the holes with your mushroom sawdust spawn.
After you’ve drilled the hole and planted the spawn, you then need to wax over them to seal the area. This will ensure that the area is moist and secure for the mushrooms to grow in the sawdust spawn. You can use cheese, candle or beeswax to seal the area. Simply melt the wax and then apply the wax using a wax dauber, cotton ball or small brush.
It’s best to stack the logs in a shaded area, without direct sunlight. Monitor your logs regularly to ensure that moisture is maintained. If there is limited rainfall, water the logs every two to three weeks by soaking the logs for extended periods of time (at least three hours).
After growing on your log for a year or so, mushroom production should begin. As soon as your mushrooms grow on the log, we recommend harvesting them! Otherwise, leaving them for too long can result in them becoming woody and too tough to eat. It also exposes them to greater risk of being eaten by insects and other pests.
If you’d like to learn more about growing mushrooms and other edible plants in your garden, you can get in touch with the expert gardeners at Jim’s Mowing! We can provide you with exceptional gardening services and advice tailored directly to your garden’s unique needs. Receive a FREE quote today!
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