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 and edible types, and the 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. And although buying from grocery stores is an option, it may not be convenient to do so every time you need to use mushrooms for whatever reasons. Besides, the cost starts to add up soon.
Thankfully, there’s a 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
It is an excellent idea to begin your first mushroom farm by growing 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 strictly while making sure you do not use tap water during the process. Tap water contains chemicals such as chlorine that can inhibit the growth of mycelium (mushroom root system). Distilled water is a great choice.
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!
Another great choice for growing oysters is the Back to the Roots Organic Mini Mushroom Growing Kit. 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.
Backyard Morel Mushroom Growing Kit is an excellent choice for growing your morels. Many users have found that it exceed their expectations.
See my complete guide for growing morel mushrooms 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.
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. Growing kits are convenient 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!
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