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Growing edible mushrooms at home has become a popular trend, as people find themselves with more time on their hands to explore food preparation methods. Unlike some produce, mushrooms are easy to grow, thanks to the availability of easy-to-use grow kits. Have you ever wondered how to start growing mushrooms at home?
Before you hit that checkout button on your new kit, here’s what you need to know.
Mushroom growing kits are complete packages that just need moisture and a dark spot to get started. Popular edible varieties include oyster, shitake, and morel mushrooms. Each kit includes a growing medium already embedded with spores or spawn. Depending on the type of mushroom, the growing medium could be sawdust, a log, or some other nutrient-rich base for the fungi to grow on. This is perfect of you want to try some DIY mycology!
Regardless of type, the kits all work on the same basic principle of recreating what happens in nature. The ground gets wet, the temperature drops at night, and the mushrooms begin to grow.
To get the best results from your fungi growing attempts, there are a few things to keep in mind. The type of water you use is important-you want to avoid anything with chlorine in it, including most municipal tap water. If this can’t be avoided, let the water sit for a day before using it. This will give the chlorine a chance to evaporate.
Once soaked, keep your mushroom kit out of direct sunlight. A dark or shady spot is ideal.
Keep an eye on the temperature. Mushrooms like to be kept at between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for ideal growth. Anything too far outside of this range and your mushrooms will either grow slowly or not at all.
Mushrooms reproduce by spreading spores, similar to the way flowers spread seeds. Those spores then develop into mycelium, which is the vegetative growth of fungi. When placed onto a growing medium, such as a hardwood log used in some shitake mushroom kits, this mycelium becomes spawn. When the environmental conditions are just right, with the proper levels of moisture, light, and temperature, mushrooms begin to grow.
Now that you know how to start growing mushrooms, all that’s left is to decide what type of mushroom you’d like to harvest before you get growing.