A Beginner's Guide to Growing Edible Mushrooms
Growing edible mushrooms is easy and offers a great benefit: savings for those who enjoy different fungi dishes. They can even be a business alternative for many people.
In any case, in this article we are going to tell you how to create your own edible mushroom farm at home. We include details about the elements you need, how to start with this task and how long the first harvest takes. Here we go!
Characteristics of edible mushrooms
Before starting with your own edible mushroom garden at home, you need to know the characteristics of the product you are going to grow. Well, the first thing to say is that mushrooms grow naturally and attached to decaying logs.
They appear there because they feed on organic matter, which gives us a first clue about the conditions that must have the substrate in which we are going to cultivate.
On the other hand, it must be said that mushrooms need an environment with a good amount of light and oxygen. This will ensure that the crop is healthy and suitable for later consumption.
Also note that mushrooms are a food supplement with a high nutritional value:
- Presence of vitamins: niacin, thiamine (vitamin B1), B12 and C.
- 57% to 61% of carbohydrates based on their dry weight.
- Minerals: potassium, phosphorus and calcium.
- 26 % of protein.
- 11.9% fiber.
Some researches suggest beneficial effects of mushrooms for human health. For example, there is talk of its antioxidant action, its ability to reduce cholesterol in the blood and a promising biological action in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
What do you need to start your edible mushroom garden?
Now that you know a little more about the product, it is time to know the elements you will need to gather to start your edible mushroom garden at home. Take note!
1. Mushrooms or spores
It seems obvious, but it is not so obvious. The first thing you will need are the mushrooms you are going to grow or the spores.
You can buy poplar mushrooms, mushrooms, shiitake or oyster mushrooms, among others. You can buy them in specialized stores where they can offer you mycelia or mycorrhizae. It is up to you to choose which of these options you will use to start your home mushroom garden.
2. Adequate substrate
The second thing you must have is the substrate in which you will grow your mushrooms. This can also be purchased in specialized stores or you can prepare it yourself. Ideally, it should have straw, sawdust, coconut fiber, vermiculite, compost, mulch or manure.
However, there are even more homemade options, which include the use of coffee grounds and logs, so that the mushrooms reproduce as if they were in nature. The former are added to the substrate or become the base by mixing them with pieces of damp cardboard.
3. Support for cultivation
The substrate in which you are going to start your crop requires a support or container. Among the options we offer you are plastic containers that can be recycled, dark colored, an old basin and even a water carafe.
Now, if you continue in the specialty store, you can ask for an alpaca or bale, that is, bags already prepared with the substrate and spores. Speaking of those options that make everything easier, they also sell edible mushroom cultivation kits or micokits, which include everything you need.
A beginner’s guide: step-by-step guide to growing edible mushrooms
With everything ready, let’s get started with the work that, in 3 to 6 weeks, will allow us to harvest some tasty homegrown mushrooms.
Here we go!
- Wash your hands: it is important to have your hands and the elements that you are going to use in total neatness. Use soap and water, alcohol or disinfectant gel.
- Prepare the culture container: wash it. If you are going to recycle a plastic bottle, cut off the top; then make six holes (three on the base and three on the sides). In the case of a container made of another material, make sure it has holes to drain.
- Start planting: take a quantity of the substrate you have chosen and place it in the base of the growing container. Then place a layer of spores and add a new layer of substrate. Do it this way until you have filled three quarters of your container.
- Place a cap: if you used the plastic bottle, then use the part you removed to cap the container. First, make holes in it so that the culture can breathe. If you have another type of container, you will also have to find something to cover it with.
- Put your culture inside a bag: this should not stick to the culture because it will damage the mushrooms.
- Look for the optimum temperature: the ideal is to place the mushrooms in a place protected from the sun, with a temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. Also, keep the environment humid, for which you can spray the crop frequently.
- Finally, wait for the spores to germinate: between the second and fourth week you will be able to see the incipient sprouts. Three to six weeks later you will be able to harvest your mushrooms.
Start growing edible mushrooms at home!
Starting your own edible mushroom patch at home is very easy. You have the option of buying everything you need or using different recyclable products, such as plastic bottles and coffee grounds.
Now everything is ready for self-cultivation. You can also use mushrooms for personal or family consumption. And if you are an entrepreneur, to sell them. Let’s get to work!It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Beltrán, Y., Morris, H., Domínguez, O. D., Bartista, P., & Llauradó, G. (2021). Composición micoquímica y actividad antioxidante de la seta Pleurotos ostreatus en diferentes estados de crecimiento. Acta Biológica Colombiana, 26(1), 89-98.
- Beltrán-Delgado, Y., Morris-Quevedo, H., Llauradó-Maury, G., Bermúdez-Savón, R. C., & García-Oduardo, N. (2020). Procedimientos para la producción de setas del género pleurotus con potencial aplicación farmacológica. Revista Cubana de Química, 32(2), 245-261.
- Ramírez, A. G. (2015). New hypocholesterolemic ingredients obtained from edible mushrooms/nuevos ingredientes alimentarios hipocolesterolémicos obtenidos a partir de hongos comestibles (Doctoral dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).