Getting Started with DIY Mycology

Have you ever thought about foraging for mushrooms? There’s no better time to start!

As we all shelter-in-place together, millions of people have explored life-changing new activities–including mycology.

Biologist Merlin Sheldrake just published Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, a wide-ranging exploration of the world of mycology.

His passion for mushrooms could inspire anybody to go foraging.

“My childhood superheroes weren’t Marvel characters,” Merlin told author Robert Macfarlane in an interview.

“Lichens can crumble rocks into dust with terrifying acids. Fungi can exude massively powerful enzymes outside their bodies that dissolve soil. They’re the biggest organisms in the world and among the oldest. They’re world-makers and world-breakers. What’s more superhero than that?”

How To Get Started

We asked Sheldrake for advice about how a complete novice could try mycology during our quarantine. He had lots of tips for us.

But before we go any further, we want to share this important disclaimer about mushroom foraging from Amateur Mycology, a rule that all DIY mycologists must respect:  “It is the sole responsibility of visitors to this site to positively identify their own mushrooms. This website is entirely for informational purposes only.”

1. Start with a Kit

“In my opinion, mushroom grow kits provide the quickest and easiest way in. A range of delicious fungal species are available in grow kit form, and all you do is add water. Kits provide a good gateway experience: you get the thrill of watching the mushrooms grow within a matter of days, with no specialized skills or techniques required. From here it is easy to ramp up and start to cultivate fungi using more involved methods,” Sheldrake explained.

2. Try Online Mycology School

Sheldrake suggested another useful online resource for amateur mycologists: “For those interested in learning more about cultivation, the online mycology school Mycologos is an excellent place to look.” You can check out their Spawn Box subscription box or visit Myco-Uprrhizal for other kits.

Places To Learn More

Radical Mycology: A Treatise On Seeing & Working With Fungi by Peter McCoy (also check out the online Radical Mycology community)

Mushroom Mountain: “Mushroom Mountain is a company that focuses on the needs of the planet. We are developing innovative fungal solutions for world hunger, pest control, and disease.”

DIY Mushroom Cultivation by Willoughby Arevalo: “presenting proven, reliable, low-cost techniques for home-scale cultivation that eliminate the need for a clean-air lab space to grow various mushrooms and their mycelium.”

DIY fungi: “There are so many cool things you can do once you understand the basics about fungi, and I hope this blog will offer some inspiration for further mushroom adventures.”

 Bay Area Applied Mycology: “a collective of environmentally-minded mushroom enthusiasts who are seeking to enrich the environment and community through the cultivation & application of fungi, plants, and bacteria to problems facing the environment and humanity.”

Learn Your Land: “an advertisement-free media channel, helping you improve your nature skills one species at a time.  Special emphasis is placed on wild plant, tree, and mushroom identification.”

CoRenewal: “ a 501c-3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education and research in ecosystem restoration, health and healing, and sustainable community dynamics.”

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