Mushrooms are a fungus with an incredible reputation. Some species are edible and nutritious, some are medicinal, others are wildly psychedelic and a small few are deadly. Stumbling upon a cluster of unidentified mushrooms in the wild is exciting and a little bit mystical. With care and patience, mushrooms can be grown in your own backyard.
The easiest way to grow mushrooms in your backyard is to start with a mushroom kit. Mushrooms will do better if you grow them indoors first and then transfer them outdoors to your backyard.
Each species of mushroom requires different growing conditions, something to consider when picking a mushroom for your yard. Portobello, oyster, wine cap and shiitake are all backyard mushrooms that can be grown from kits. Oyster and wine cap mushrooms are two of the easiest mushrooms to grow in your backyard, and kits for these fungi are readily available online.
If you have a compost heap or a few logs, you can grow savory oyster mushrooms. Oyster kits come with a mound of white mycelium, which is sort of like the seed of a fungus. Once you've allowed the mycelium to grow indoors in a warm, humid area for a few months, you can add the mycelium, along with whatever it's growing on in the kit (usually hay or oats) to your compost heap, or to a damp, upright log with cracks or holes drilled into it. Outdoor oysters will typically grow in the spring or summer, and again in the fall.
If you want to grow wine cap mushrooms, order a kit in late winter. Keep the wine cap mycelium growing in room temperature for a couple of weeks, until it begins to mature. The mycelium will start to look somewhat rootlike. Once it's warm enough outdoors (soil temperature should be around 50 or 60 degrees F), add patches of mycelium to soil or compost in your garden. Wine caps will quickly grow into small, edible mushrooms.