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Basic Mushroom Farming at Home
How to grow seriously tasty mushrooms
Mushrooms are amazing and so easy to grow. Most types can be grown all year around if provided with the correct growing conditions. They need a moderate temperatures (around 20 to 25 degrees celcius), humidity, and ventilation. The best bit is contary to popular belief, total darkness is not required and a cupboard, garage, bathroom or laundry can all be good places for growing mushrooms.
How do you make mushroom compost?
You’ll need “mushroom compost” called substrate, this is what mushrooms are grown in. One of the most popular commercial blends of mushroom substrate is a mix of straw, gypsum, and horse or chicken manure. Other ingredients can be used, but these are some of the most common.
Sterilization and pasteurization are the most essential components in making a quality mushroom compost as the risk of contamination is the number one threat to a quality mushroom crop. To make a vegetable based compost, mix hay, straw, crushed corncobs and gypsum. To make a manure based compost, mix manure and gypsum.
Mushrooms can be grown from spawn in the open or in a shed. Mushrooms can be grown in all sorts of substrates and containers, ideally use pasteurized straw. Alternatively the traditional way to grow mushrooms is to obtain some fresh horse manure, containing plenty of straw – collect from the stable rather than paddock. This reduces the chance of ‘wild mushrooms’ joining your farming party.
To grow tasty mushrooms the old fashioned way make a manure heap 3 ft. high and cover with about 2 in. of earth. In a fortnight’s time turn the heap over, moistening with water any part that is dry. Sprinkle lightly, and do not make it too wet. In a week’s time repeat this operation, leaving the manure untrodden. In a few days the manure will have rotted down sufficiently for making the bed.
Spread the rotted manure into a bed 1 ft. high, and tread all over, making it flat on the top. Break the spawn into pieces about the size of a walnut and bury 1 in. deep at intervals of 1 ft. over the surface of the heap.
Cover with manure and level off. In a fortnight’s time cover the bed with l 1/2 inch of fine soil, patting it down with the back of the spade. Water the bed sparingly if the weather is very dry.
In about eight weeks the mushrooms will begin to appear (cue huge excitement!).
Start making your mushroom bed in early April to have it ready for spawning by the middle of May. You will be
gathering mushrooms in no time at all – best of all you can take multiple harvests around 14 day intervals. This cost saving crop takes up little room, and the old bed makes valuable compost for use in the garden later on.
Alternatively the easiest option is to buy a mushroom growing kit, there are plenty of mushroom growing kits options available. These are usually spore ‘seeded’ blocks of special sawdust / compost mix. Just pick your ‘room, follow the instructions and in a couple of months time you’ll be rewarded with your very own home grown mushrooms!