Fun with Fungi: How to Grow Mushrooms Beginners Guide  (2024)

By Utopia TeamCategories: Garden

Discover the magic of mushroom cultivation with our step-by-step guide on how to grow mushrooms like a pro. We’ll show you which types of mushrooms to choose and the most effective methods to start growing your own mushrooms now.

Why are home-grown mushrooms a good idea? Well, mushrooms are the perfect addition to any healthy diet — they are low in calories but still pack a serious nutritional punch. Mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals, and many mushrooms are also a good source of protein.

Why learn how to grow mushrooms at home? Foraging wild mushrooms is fun but can be risky. Without the proper experience and expertise, it’s easy to mistake a poisonous mushroom for an edible one. Buying mushrooms at the supermarket is safe; however, everything at the supermarket is getting expensive these days. Home-grown mushrooms are the perfect solution.

Once you’ve learned how to grow mushrooms, you can harvest them all year long for free, with zero chance of ending your meal with a call to poison control.Plus, growing food at home is a great way to save money and live a more frugal lifestyle.

Mushrooms need very little attention and can be grown in a few different ways. The most important thing to remember is that they need shade and high relative humidity. Too much sunlight or too little moisture will cause the spores to dry out before they have a chance to propagate. Furthermore, some species of mushrooms can grow without any sunlight at all. That means you can even grow mushrooms inside, in your basem*nt — no garden required.

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What You Need to Grow Mushrooms

Fun with Fungi: How to Grow Mushrooms Beginners Guide (2)

You need two things to start growing your own mushrooms: a liquid mushroom culture and a substrate.

When you’re just starting out as a hobbyist mushroom grower, it is best to buy the liquid culture already prepared and in syringes, like this one for lion’s mane mushrooms or these ones for oyster mushrooms, both available on Amazon**. Developing your own culture is difficult, and it requires special equipment. You can also sometimes find mushroom cultures at your local nursery or garden shop.

The substrate you choose will depend on what kind of mushrooms you want to grow. Read the packaging on your liquid mushroom culture to find out which substrate that specific culture prefers. Some common mushroom substrates include:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Straw
  • Sawdust
  • Wood (untreated and without paint)

Be sure that the substrate you choose is as sterile as possible. Growing mushrooms requires a high amount of moisture in the air, and that moisture can cause any microorganisms present to multiply — including unwanted ones. If you’re not sure how sterile your material is, you can purify it with steam.

Fun with Fungi: How to Grow Mushrooms Beginners Guide (3)

There is an even simpler way to grow mushrooms: It is possible to buy a mushroom-growing set that already includes everything that you’ll need. This two-pack for pink and oyster mushrooms, available on Amazon**, is a great choice — and it’s Climate Pledge Friendly.

The big advantage of buying a set is that the substrate is usually already inoculated with mycelium. Mushroom mycelium is the underground network that fungus forms in order to gather nutrients, similar to the roots of a plant (substrate inoculated with mycelium is also called mushroom spawn). Since the substrate comes with the nutrient delivery system already formed, the fruiting body (the part that we eat) starts to grow very quickly.

The following are some examples of substrate preferences for common mushrooms to help you decide how to grow your own mushrooms:

  • Champignons prefer a very specific mixture of substrate material. If you want to grow champignons, it is best to buy a ready-made set with the inoculated substrate included.
  • Oyster mushrooms are less picky. They can be grown in straw or in any kind of wood from deciduous trees.
  • Shiitake mushrooms prefer harder woods like beech or oak and, unlike other types, can grow in air with relative humidity as low as 60 percent.
  • Trumpet mushrooms grow only in straw or very nutrient-rich substrates.

How to Grow Mushrooms: Step-by-Step Method

Fun with Fungi: How to Grow Mushrooms Beginners Guide (4)

Once you have your mushroom culture and your substrate, you’re ready to go. Growing mushrooms is possible indoors and outdoors. If you live in a place with cold winters, the advantage of growing mushrooms inside is that you can grow them year-round. But with the right choice of species and substrate, growing them outdoors may still be possible even in cold weather conditions.

Here’s how to grow mushrooms:

  1. Before using the syringe to inject the mushroom culture, water the substrate well and allow any excess water to drip off. The substrate should be moist but not soaking wet.
  2. Choose a high-humidity environment: Ideally, the air should have 80-95% relative humidity. Cellars, bathrooms and kitchens are likely best suited. If you do not have a room with high humidity or you are growing mushrooms outside, you can support the growth of your mushrooms with a mushroom cultivation bag or propagator.
  3. Pay attention to temperature: mushrooms like a warm and humid climate. Check the packaging of your mushroom culture to find what temperature window your chosen species likes best.
  4. Inject or mix the mushroom culture into your substrate and store the substrate in a container. The layer should be at least two inches thick.
  5. Now, it’s time to wait. Keeping the substrate moist is vital — check every day to make sure it is not too dry, and add water as needed using a spray bottle.
  6. If you are working with a substrate that has not already been inoculated, it will take several weeks for the mycelium to develop. Only after the mycelium is fully formed will the mushrooms begin to appear.
  7. When the mushrooms have reached their proper size, harvest them with a sharp, clean knife.
  8. Usually, it is possible to get about three or four mushroom harvests, with a few days between each harvest.
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What to Do With Home-grown Mushrooms

Once you’ve harvested your mushrooms, you need to know how to clean, eat and preserve them as well as possible — no point in all your hard work turning into food waste. Here are our guides for getting the most out of your home-grown fungi:

  • How to Clean Mushrooms to Get Rid of Pesticides (incl. tips for cleaning wild and harvested varieties)
  • Can You Eat Mushrooms Raw? Here’s What You Should Know
  • How to Dry Mushrooms in the Oven, Dehydrator, or Naturally
  • 10 Magical Ways to Cook and Eat Mushroom Stems
  • Want to Ferment Mushrooms? It Can be Done, Here’s How!
  • How to Freeze Mushrooms: The Do’s and Dont’s
  • The Ultimate How-to Guide For Storing Mushrooms

You can also check out some of Utopia’s popular recipes showcasing mushrooms:

  • Easy Vegan Pâté with Mushrooms and Sunflower Seeds
  • Delicious Vegan Rendang Recipe With Mushrooms
  • The Ultimate Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
  • 3 Mushroom Desserts: Try These Decadent and Earthy Treats
  • Easy Vegan Mushroom Jerky Recipe
  • This is the Best Homemade Mushroom Soup
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Read more:

  • The Powerful Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
  • Growing Ginger: How to Grow Ginger at Home

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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Mushroom Cultivation Concepts

Let's delve into the concepts related to mushroom cultivation mentioned in the article.

Home-Grown Mushrooms Benefits: Home-grown mushrooms are a great addition to a healthy diet, being low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Cultivating mushrooms at home eliminates the risk associated with foraging wild mushrooms and provides a cost-effective, year-round supply of fresh mushrooms [[1]].

Mushroom Cultivation Requirements: Mushrooms require shade and high relative humidity for optimal growth. They can be grown indoors, requiring very little attention, and can thrive without sunlight. The key is to maintain the right level of moisture to prevent the spores from drying out [[1]].

Essential Materials for Mushroom Cultivation: To start growing mushrooms, two essential items are needed: a liquid mushroom culture and a substrate. The liquid culture can be purchased pre-prepared in syringes or obtained from local nurseries or garden shops. The choice of substrate depends on the type of mushrooms being grown, and it's crucial to ensure the substrate is as sterile as possible to prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms [[1]].

Step-by-Step Mushroom Cultivation: The process of growing mushrooms involves injecting or mixing the mushroom culture into the substrate, maintaining high humidity, and paying attention to temperature requirements. Once the mycelium is fully formed, the mushrooms will begin to appear, and they can be harvested for consumption. The harvested mushrooms can be cleaned, eaten, preserved, and used in various recipes [[1]].

These concepts provide a comprehensive overview of the key aspects of mushroom cultivation, from the benefits of home-grown mushrooms to the step-by-step process of growing and utilizing them.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions or need further details on any of these concepts!

Fun with Fungi: How to Grow Mushrooms Beginners Guide  (2024)


What is the easiest way to grow mushrooms for beginners? ›

Start with a grow kit

Spray-and-grow kits, a block of colonized substrate inside a small box, make for the easiest way for beginners to get started. “They're inexpensive. You get a lot of mushrooms out of them. And they're super easy,” says Lynch.

What are the 5 steps to growing mushrooms? ›

The six steps are Phase I composting, Phase II composting, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping. These steps are described in their naturally occurring sequence, emphasizing the salient features within each step. Compost provides nutrients needed for mushrooms to grow.

What conditions are needed for a mushroom to grow? ›

Mushrooms like dark, cool, and humid growing environments. When you're growing mushrooms at home, a place like your basem*nt is ideal, but a spot under the sink could also work. Before you start growing, test out your spot by checking the temperature.

What is the best substrate for growing mushrooms? ›

Using Hardwood Sawdust and Chips

Hardwood sawdust makes for an excellent mushroom substrate, and is commonly used in industry. It is a waste product of the lumber industry, and might be cheap and easy to find, depending on your location.

What is the best mushroom to grow for beginners? ›

Pretty much every mushroom growing resource I could find says that oyster mushrooms are the easiest variety for first time-growers, as they grow fast and can easily thrive in substrates made of things like coffee grounds and straw, making them relatively low maintenance.

What mushrooms should I grow first? ›

Shiitake mushrooms grown on logs outdoors is one of the easiest mushrooms for beginners to learn the cycles of mushroom production. Although oyster mushrooms may fruit easiest, they are insect prone, so Shiitakes are the one to start with.

Where is the best place to grow mushrooms? ›

A shed, garage, garden cold frame or cellar will work well – anywhere out of the sun where it's possible to give mushrooms their optimum growing temperature of around 15°C (the temperature shouldn't go below 10°C or above 20°C). Outside, grow mushrooms in beds, on compost heaps, or in logs, again away from sunlight.

Can you regrow dried mushrooms? ›

It doesn't take much to bring dried mushrooms back to life, and after reconstituting, you'll be rewarded with a double dose of deliciousness: the mushrooms themselves, rich with savory, meaty flavor, plus the soaking liquid, which adds a boost of mushroom essence to stews, stocks and sauces.

What temperature do mushrooms grow? ›

The ideal temperature range for mushroom growth varies depending on the species, but most mushrooms prefer a temperature range between 65-75 °F. Maintaining a consistent temperature is crucial, as even small fluctuations can impact the growth rate and quality of the mushrooms.

What speeds up mushroom growth? ›

To initiate fruiting, lowering temperatures and increasing oxygen levels generally encourages mushroom formation. Initiation can be in the form of cold shocking, water shocking or introducing more oxygen by cutting a hole in the bag.

How quickly can a mushroom grow? ›

Mushroom cultivation from inoculation to harvest typically takes around 3 to 4 weeks. However, the duration varies based on factors such as mushroom strain, environmental conditions, and substrate quality. Some strains may fruit faster than others, resulting in a shorter growth period.

Are coffee grounds a good mushroom substrate? ›

It just makes sense to grow mushrooms in coffee grounds. You make wonderful nutritious oyster mushrooms out of a bountiful waste resource that is still rich with nutrients. You can return the now composted grounds to enrich your soil at the end of the growth cycle to complete its life cycle too.

Is coffee a good substrate for mushrooms? ›

Mushrooms are nutrient hungry and thrive in coffee grounds. So you can grow food using food waste to reduce food and packaging waste, how cool is that!?! You don't need any specialist equipment, just a simple glass jar. The set up is relatively low cost and it's surprisingly easy to grow mushrooms this way.

What is the best fertilizer for mushrooms? ›

Chicken manure is best if you need high nitrogen.

What is the easiest mushroom kit to grow? ›

Oyster mushrooms are by far the easiest and most reliable mushrooms to grow. For beginners we recommend our Mist & Grow Oyster mushroom grow kits. Simply cut an X in one side of the bag, cover with a humidity tent, and mist a few times daily. Within 7-10 days a cluster of baby mushrooms will appear!

What is the cheapest way to grow mushrooms? ›

Another easy, inexpensive option for growing mushrooms at home is inoculated sawdust in a plastic bag. These come in kit versions, but you can also make them yourself. Store them in a bathroom where it is dark and moist and you'll start to see flushing pretty quickly.

What helps mushrooms grow faster? ›

To initiate fruiting, lowering temperatures and increasing oxygen levels generally encourages mushroom formation. Initiation can be in the form of cold shocking, water shocking or introducing more oxygen by cutting a hole in the bag. them with water as if in a strong rainstorm.

What is the easiest and most profitable mushroom to grow? ›

And although growers are devising ways to cultivate fussier mushroom species, their unique requirements and the extra time, energy and labor required to grow them increases production costs. The best mushrooms for small-scale production are profitable, easy-to-grow species like oysters and lion's mane mushrooms.


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