Cultivating your own mushrooms for culinary use is a rewarding and interesting experience. It is more simple then people think, and just requires some specific materials, a cool, dark place to grow the mushrooms and time. This will result in fresh mushrooms that taste way better than those at the grocery store. When cultivated properly, you can have gourmet mushrooms to use in cooking within six weeks.
Decide what variety of gourmet mushrooms you would like to grow. Shiitake, oyster and white button mushrooms are some of the easiest and most well-known mushrooms to grow at home.
Purchase the mushroom spore (seed) or spawn (seedlings) from an online source (see References). Figure out what works best for you, but the spawn are the best for beginning mushroom growers.
Choose a location to grow the mushrooms in. It needs to be dark, cool, and slightly damp if possible. Ideal places include basements, cabinets or an outdoor storage shed (in cooler weather).
Layer the growing medium in your growing tray or pan about 3 inches deep. Use a heating pad under the tray to make the medium around 70 degrees F.
Plant the spawn on top of the medium. (Depending on what type you purchased, this may be done differently; read directions thoroughly). Keep the tray or pan at around 70 degrees until the spawn has taken root, about three weeks.
Reduce the temperature to 55 to 60 degrees after the mushrooms have rooted. Layer 1 inch of good quality potting soil into the tray. Lay a damp cloth over the top and keep it consistently moist with a spray bottle.
Keep an eye out for small mushrooms to start to sprout within three to four weeks. They will start out as pinpoints. Harvest them once the mushroom cap has opened and begins to separate from the stem.