Hunting mushrooms in the wild is a popular hobby, but they can be difficult to find and many people are concerned about confusing poisonous and non-poisonous varieties. Growing mushrooms at home can yield a good supply of the tasty fungi for anyone with a little extra space and the patience to wait for the mushrooms to mature. The supplies for growing mushrooms are easy to obtain.
Mushroom Spores or Spawn
Mushrooms are a fungus and don't grown from seed but from spores that develop into fiber-like mycelium. When you order mushroom spawn, this mycelium, usually growing in some kind of grain, will be what you receive.
You can also grow mycelium from mushroom spore in a mixture of 3 1/2 cups vermiculite and 1 cup brown rice flour. These materials must be absolutely sterile to avoid contaminating the mushroom spore with molds, bacteria or other organisms. Mushroom spores or mushroom spawn can be ordered from a variety of companies online.
Coffee grounds, rice hulls, vermiculite or even plugs of oak wood provide a home for the mycelium to grow and eventually sprout mushrooms. Some mushroom growing kits contain a sterile growing medium. If not, you'll need to obtain your own medium and heat it in the oven to sterilize it.
You can use plastic five-gallon buckets, old aquariums or plastic coolers to contain your growing medium and mycelium. If you are growing mushrooms such as shitake, which grow on wood in the wild, you'll need oak or elm logs. Drill holes in the logs and insert plugs of wood that have been inoculated with mushroom spore.
You may already have some of the supplies you need around the house, but plastic wrap and aluminum foil for covering your containers and a watering can for keeping the growing medium moist will be helpful. If you're growing your own mushroom spawn, you'll also need a syringe for inoculating your cultures.