Growing mushrooms indoors is easier than you may think and can provide not only an exciting hobby that allows you to connect to nature year-round but also gives you the ability to grow your own functional and medicinal mushrooms that can be utilized for countless benefits and add to you and your family’s overall health and wellness.
Important Mushroom Terminology
Spores- A mushroom spore is a unicellular organism responsible for the reproductive processes in mushroom-producing fungi. Spores either drop or are ejected from the mushroom cap. Not all mushrooms produce spores all the time.
Mycelium is a fungus’ vegetative part, consisting of a network of fine white filaments. When mushroom spores are mixed with soil or another growing medium, a white, root-like substance called mycelium grows.
Substrate- The substrate is the food that the mycelium consumes, and the mushrooms fruit out of. There are a variety of different substrates that can be utilized to grow mushrooms but some of the most common include grain, enriched sawdust, or dowel/plug which are logs and wood chips.
Spawn- The mushroom spawn is a substrate that already has mycelium growing on it.
Liquid Culture- A sterilized nutritious solution that can be used as a medium to grow, store and use mycelium tissue while growing mushrooms.
1 Tray (approximately 12”x12” and 6” deep)
Soil (Compost & Manure Mix)
Soil Thermometer and Humidity Gauge
Seedling Heat Mat (Optional)
Sharp Sterilized Knife
STEP 1: Prepare Growing Medium
Begin by setting up the substrate or growing medium.
Utilize a planting tray that’s made of wood, plastic, or metal. The size can vary but you will need a container that’s at least 12 by 12 inches and 6 inches deep. Use a 1:1 mixture of compost and manure to fill the tray, leaving one inch of space at the top of your tray or container.
STEP 2: Sterile Spread of Spores
It’s important to keep things sterile during this step to avoid introducing any contaminants such as other types of mold or fungi. Thoroughly wash your hands before working with any substrate you choose. You may also choose to wear gloves and sterilize any tools you utilize to spread the spores.
STEP 3: Mist Until Moist
Humid environments are a prerequisite for mushroom growth. Ensure that you are keeping your mushroom growing environment and soil moist. Utilize a clean spray bottle filled with water and spray the soil until it’s moist, (2-3 times a day), or cover the growing medium with damp towels.
*The soil should be MOIST, NOT WET!
STEP 4: Spore Incubation
To promote growth, the soil or growing medium should be kept at 70 degrees for the first 3 weeks. Ideal places for at-home mushroom growing include closets and basements. If you choose, a heating pad or seedling heat mat may be utilized to keep your tray(s) warmer. If you do decide to purchase a heating pad, be sure that it has precise temperature controls and place it underneath the tray(s). A soil thermometer is needed to ensure that the soil temperature remains at 70 degrees. Too high of a temperature will kill the spores.
STEP 5: Reduce Temperature
This is where it begins to get exciting! Mycelium will begin to appear on top of the soil or growing medium; when the entire tray is covered with the magical network of tiny white rootlike growths it’s time to lower the temperature. If you are using a heating mat, you will need to remove it. At this point, you will cover the mycelium with approximately 1 inch of potting soil. Reduce the temperature of the soil or growing medium to between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Mushroom growing is an awesome fall and winter hobby due to fungi’s ability to grow and thrive in cooler climates.
After a few days at this cooler temperature, tiny mushrooms known as primordia will begin to sprout.
STEP 6: Wait & Maintain Ideal Conditions
During this phase, you mainly want to monitor mushroom growth and maintain optimal growing conditions. Continue to mist the tray(s) 2-3 times a day and watch your little mushroom babies grow! Studies have shown that lovingly speaking to mushrooms (or anything else you’re growing) and even playing relaxing music can help them thrive! How long it will take for the mushrooms to be harvestable is dependent upon the type of mushroom.
STEP 7: Harvest & Enjoy
The mushrooms will be ready to harvest when the caps have opened fully and separated from the stems. To harvest the mushrooms, use a sharp knife to cut the stem. DO NOT pull the mushrooms from the soil as this causes damage to the surrounding growth and mycelial network.
Each mushroom will release its spores during harvest so the process can continue for up to six months. After growth has stopped, more spawn can be added to the tray.
Whether you are experienced or just starting out, NANO Fungi has all your mushroom-growing needs and a wealth of industry information. to help you along your journey!
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*All NANO articles aim to provide well-established scientific information paired with up-and-coming research that can be used as a starting point for further exploration and in making empowered decisions to improve all aspects of your health and life. As always, we encourage you to continue along an enlightened path by doing your own research, thinking critically, and trusting your intuition.
All content on this NANO site is for informational and/or educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.