Tips on Growing Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of those plants that most people would never think of growing. They are grown in conditions rather different than your normal garden variety plant. However, as long as few conditions are met, you can grow your own mushrooms without too much difficulty.

Compost Preparation

You need a rich compost of straw and manure that has been allowed to decompose for a couple of weeks. Keep the pile watered and turn it every few days, then bring it indoors. Continue the process for another couple of weeks until the pile has turned a dark brown color.

Spawning

This is the stage where you inoculate the compost with the spawn of the type of mushroom you wish to grow. Make sure the pile is no longer hot and that there is no smell of ammonia--both indicators that the composting has not finished. Mix the spawn throughout the whole pile of compost.

Casing Layer

Apply a casing layer to a depth of about eight inches. The casing layer can be as simple as wet paper pulp or wet peat moss. Even though the compost has been spawned, the mushrooms will not develop without this layer.

Harvesting

Start harvesting button mushrooms, for example, within just a few days of applying the casing layer. The harvesting will continue for almost six weeks, so you will have plenty of mushrooms even if you pick all the ones you can see.

Keywords: growing mushrooms, home compost, spawning

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and eHow.com. Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.