A Handbook on Growing Mushrooms

By: Julia Bennet


The very idea of growing mushrooms in indoor environments seem heckling because farming fungus is not the same as regular horticulture. It is not grafting, it not binding, and it is certainly not landscaping. Neither is it vegetation. To top that, of the many misgivings that blow in the air, one is that mushrooms need a dark, damp environment to grow in. Clearing up the air at the very start, that is no hard and fast rule for that. Mushrooms are vitamin-rich, antioxidants laden, fat-free organic products that can be grown anywhere, as long as you can preserve their growing conditions. It all starts from a spawn which is basically what a full grown mushroom comes from.

Starting from the Start
These funguses grow from spores, and they are essentially microscopic. You canít spot one with your naked eyes like seeds. The spores do not have chlorophyll and that is why germination cannot begin without a supporting substance, in this case, grains, sawdust, wood chips, wooden plugs, etc. Spawns are a mix of these spores and any of the supporting materials. They are what starters are to sourdough breads. The mushrooms grow from mycelium which are roots thin like threads. Like the embryo, they grow out first before the caps sprout out. Like in the end, youíd need an impulse sealer to wax off the packs, you would need spawns to start off.
The mushrooms can be made to grow directly from the spawn, but if substrates are applied to it, the growth is better supported. There are multiple substrates that one can choose from. This could be straws, wooden chips, compost or even cardboard, whichever is accessible to you. A compost is a blend of multiple materials and is a little different to cook up. For compost, you can use corncobs, cocoa seeds, straw, gypsum and even pre-made nitrogen supplements.

Places to Grow Mushrooms in
Mushrooms are best kept in moist, humid conditions, and growers recommend a dark place for it. However, this does not mean you have to dig out an under-house chamber for it. Your basement will do just good. However, if your house is devoid of such a chamber, you can even find a proper ground under your sink. The location has to be judged by its temperature. Ideally, growing mushrooms in temperature between 55 and 60 F yield the best results. All the same, the place should be away from drafting and drying effects of any heat source. So, even if you choose a basement for cultivating these funguses, make sure that it doesnít get too hot in the summer. If it does, then mushroom growing will remain to be a winter project for them.
If you canít arrange for an all dark setting, go for a place that has a relatively low lighting.

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