Raising your own mushrooms from spores or spawn is an ideal way to have your favorite variety on hand for cooking and medicinal purposes. It is less complicated than you may realize; you can grow from spores to full maturity in less than two months. When raising mushrooms, the key is to have a proper growing area that is dark and cool for cultivation.
Place about 3 inches of growing medium into the mushroom growing tray. Ideal growing mediums include straw, composted manure and hardwood shavings. Shiitake mushrooms are often grown in hardwood shavings or hardwood sawdust; oyster mushrooms can be found growing in straw; and composted manure is ideal for white button mushrooms.
Plant the spawn (seeds) on top of the growing medium, following the directions for the mushroom variety. Keep the growing tray in a dark, dry place at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If keeping the area at this temperature is not possible, place a heating pad designed for plants beneath the growing tray to regulate the temperature. Keep spawn in this growing area for about three weeks, until you notice germination. Then keep the growing area temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit after germination.
Plant the spore (seedlings) on top of the growing medium, following the directions accordingly if you choose this method over planting spawn. Keep the growing tray in an area that is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, using a heating pad if necessary. Keep spores in this area for two weeks, or until you notice the spores have grown about 1 inch tall. Then lower the temperature to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sprinkle a thin layer of soil over the mushrooms once they are around 1 1/2 inch tall. Tent a damp cloth over the growing tray so it hangs over all the edges. Daily mist the cloth so it stays moist.
Continue to keep the mushroom growing tray in the growing area with the moist cloth until the mushrooms have grown to the size you desire. Mushrooms are usually ready for harvest once the cap separates from the stem.