How to Grow Mushrooms Outdoors

Overview

Wouldn't it be nice if you could sow a row of mushrooms in your garden, just like you do with carrots or spinach? Well, it's not quite that simple, but you can grow your own mushrooms. Mushrooms grown inside mature more quickly, but they require a lot of fussing with humidity levels and fresh substrate. Outdoor mushroom plots grow more slowly and may only produce edible mushrooms during one time of the year, but once established they will continue to produce for years, with little to no input from the gardener.

Step 1

Research and decide which mushrooms you would like to grow. Although different types of mushrooms grow all over the world, each individual species will have precise habitat preferences. Morels, for example, need a climate with cold winters, so they won't do very well in Florida.

Step 2

Purchase mushroom spawn. Spawn comes in liquid form or as grain, sawdust or straw inoculated with mushroom spores, or as inoculated dowels that you can hammer into logs. Mushroom spawn can be purchased online or from some garden centers or specialty stores.

Step 3

Create a suitable patch of substrate for your mushrooms. Different species will have different requirements. Refer to the instructions that came with your spawn. For example, shiitake mushrooms grow on logs, while shaggy mane mushrooms will prefer a bed of rich soil and compost. Many other species of mushrooms will do well in soil that has been loosened and covered with sawdust or wood chips. Most mushrooms prefer low light levels and high humidity, so choose a shady spot that is accessible with a hose or sprinkler.

Step 4

Water your newly created mushroom patch gently and thoroughly, so that the growing substrate is as moist as a wrung-out sponge but the water does not pool on the surface of the soil. You may need to water a mushroom patch regularly during the first year, but after that it should be well enough established to regulate its own moisture levels, and will only need watering in very dry weather.

Step 5

If needed, add fresh wood chips or other substrate every few years as the old substrate decomposes.

Things You'll Need

  • Mushroom spawn
  • Growing substrate

References

  • Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation
  • Grow Your Own Mushrooms
  • Outdoor Mushroom Patches
Keywords: mushroom gardening, outdoor mushroom patch, mycogardening, grow your own morels, mushroom spawn

About this Author

Sonya Welter worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn., including "Zenith City News," for which she writes a regular outdoors column. She graduated cum laude in 2002 from Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college.