You love your mushrooms! Don’t we all?
But picking them in the wild can be risky, especially if you don’t have any experience on how to differentiate between the safe, poisonous, and psychoactive varieties. Many people have ended up in the ER of hospitals because they picked the wrong mushroom.
Fortunately, you don’t need to go hunting mushrooms to eat these tasty fungi all year round. You also don’t need to spend your money buying mushrooms of questionable freshness from the grocery store, as there is an even more affordable and convenient way to have your own mushrooms.
Get mushroom seeds! Well, technically not seeds — but rather, mushroom spores.
Printing Mushroom Spores
So the first step to start a mushroom garden — whether outdoors or indoors — is to obtain some good quality mushroom spores. There is an easy way to do this, which I will explain in a minute, but if you have some experience with mushrooms, you can get your spores from mature mushrooms. This process is called taking a spore print.
To take a spore print,
- Get the cap of a mushroom with gills on the underside.
- Place the mushroom cap with the gills face down onto a paper
- Put a glass over the mushroom.
- Leave the mushroom under the glass for 24 hours.
- Gently remove the glass and gently lift the mushroom. The spores will be on the paper.
Once you have collected your spores, you will need to inject them into a growing medium (called (called a substrate) that that particular mushroom species will grow well in. For example, many mushrooms grow on wood, so sawdust is often used as a growing substrate. This combination of mushroom spores and substrate is called mushroom spawn.
Buying Mushroom Spawn
Fortunately, mushroom spawn makes the mushroom growing process much easier. You can buy pre-made mushroom spawn for several different types of mushrooms. Again, the spawn is a combination of spores and growing medium, so will be different for every type of mushroom. For some times of mushrooms, all you will have to do is punch a few holes in the bag containing the mushroom spawn, spray it with water and keep it in a moist room like a bathroom.
Choosing Your Mushroom Seeds (Spores)
Choosing your spores depends upon two things:
1: Which mushrooms you prefer.
2: Which mushrooms are easy to grow.
If you’re finding it a bit challenging to pick one, here’s a short list of mushrooms that are considered easy to grow.
Recommended Store-Bought Mushroom Growing Kits
There are probably more mushroom spore varieties on the market than anyone can count! Some are very easy to grow, and others can be difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. Here are three mushroom types that are good for beginners to start with.
1. Oyster Mushroom Growing Kit
If you are a beginning mushroom grower, then the best species for you to try your hand at is oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are probably the easiest and fastest mushrooms to grow.
Consider getting a certified organic oyster growing kit. All you need to do is follow the instructions. One note, some people have had issues due to the content of their tap water. Too much chlorine can inhibit the growth of mycelium (mushroom root system), and other minerals can cause problems as well. If this happens, consider using bottled water for your mushrooms.
Also, if you live in a cold climate, or buy the kit during winter, remember to keep an eye on the overall humidity inside the bag so that the substrate does not get too dry.
You should get excellent results within 5 to 7 days. And the best part? You may get a second and even a third flush (harvest) if you stick to the instructions!
Forest Origins Pink and Brown Oyster Mushroom Kit: this kit is simple and it comes with good instructions. Follow the instructions and you’ll have a crop of delicious oyster mushrooms within a week or so.
Back to the Roots Organic Mini Mushroom Growing Kit is another great choice for growing oyster mushrooms. This kit is highly recommended if you don’t have time for learning the nitty-gritty details or science of growing mushrooms at home.
2. Morel Mushroom Seeds
Morels are generally considered to be wild mushrooms, but these earthy, chewy honeycomb mushrooms are so delicious that some foodies have found a way to grow them at home.
You will need to grow them outdoors, and the process can take quite a bit longer than oyster mushrooms, but if you are patient you can have a nice flush of morels each spring.
The Morel Habitat Backyard Morel Mushroom Growing Kit by GMHP is an excellent choice for growing morels. Many users have found that it exceeds their expectations.
See my Complete Guide for Growing Morel Mushrooms at Home at home for more advice on how to grow morels.
3. Reishi Mushroom Kit
Okay, these are not your typical edible fungi, but hey, we could all use some medicinal mushrooms once in a while.
Reishi mushrooms are used to make teas and extracts that are reputed to have medicinal qualities. See my article Ten Healthy Reasons to Add Reishi to Your Diet for more details about these amazing mushrooms.
Gallboys’ Reishi Mushroom Kit is one of the best out there. You will be pleased with your crop yield, which can be made into a tincture to get the many health benefits of Reishi.
Other Types of Mushrooms to Grow
For a rundown on some other mushroom growing kits that I recommend, see my article The Best 8 Mushroom Grow Kits to Grow on Your Own. In it, I cover some kits for growing shiitake mushrooms, cordyceps, and portobellos.
In-Depth Information on Mushroom Growing
If you have grown a few flushes of oyster mushrooms or had luck with some other types, you have find yourself interested in growing mushrooms at a larger scale. I often post about mushroom entrepreneurs who make a living by growing mushrooms in their basements on the Mushroomsite Facebook page.
If you are interested in becoming an organic mushroom farmer, or even if you are interested in making some extra money on the side, then a great source of information for growing mushrooms is Mushroom Growing for You. This package covers everything from sourcing mushroom spores to growing enough mushrooms to sell to local restaurants and farmer’s markets.
Mushroom Growing for You comes with some extra information on organic gardening and a 60-day guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the product.
Are you intimidated by the idea of starting your own mushroom farm? Don’t be. Cultivating mushrooms at home is not as complex as most people think. You don’t need a science lab to do it!
Check out my step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about growing mushrooms, even if you are a complete beginner.
Collecting mushroom seeds or printing spores may not be an activity that every foodie wants to engage in. but growing kits make it easy because you don’t have to worry about mixing seeds and substrates to get spawns. Everything you need to grow your favorite mushroom is contained in the kit.
Simply follow the product instructions, and you’re good to go.
Take your interest in mushrooms to the next level by growing them on your own. Apart from providing a steady source of delicious fungi, it is a fun hobby that comes with nutritional benefits!
If you’re interested in learning more about foraging for mushrooms, check out our article Mushroom Foraging — The Ultimate Guide.
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