Not many people realize that it is actually very easy to develop mushrooms yourself at home, instead opting to spend their money at their own local supermarket on mushroom varieties cheaply imported from foreign nations where they are grown in bulk. The particular shop variety do not have much of a shelf life and the mushrooms don’t really like to be packed in plastic so by learning to grow mushrooms in your own home not only are you going to have fresher longer-lasting mushrooms but they will also most likely flavor stronger and more mushroomey as the store varieties tend to have a more watered-down taste.
Another advantage of growing mushrooms yourself is that you aren’t limited to the variety displayed in the shops – which usually contains button mushrooms, Shiitake, Oyster and Portobello. Although Oyster mushrooms are noticed to be the easiest type of mushroom to cultivate, you may wish to try and develop something that most shops wont actually sell. The Lions Mane mushroom is a little harder to grow and yet has a flavor which is very similar to that of lobster, in fact it is very expensive to purchase from specialist retailers.
To be able to grow your own mushrooms first you will need to decide on a variety. There are numerous edible mushrooms that can be grown either inside your house or outside, many growers settle for the oyster mushroom to begin with due to the simplicity of increasing it (Oyster, or Pleutorus Ostreateus has very vigorous growth and thus is very likely to grow given the proper conditions).
Once you have decided on a type of mushroom to grow you will need to find the specific increasing requirements, as all fungus get their own different growing parameters. Using the Oyster mushroom you can use either a wood-based substrate (paper, cardboard etc) or you can grow it on straw. These are the most common substrates to use as they provide the very best yields.
The next thing you will need is the mushroom spawn. It is easiest if you purchase your spawn from a shop – which is probably easiest done on-line as most garden centers only market complete mushroom growing kits, whereas the spawn on its own is a little a lot more specialist. There are many websites that market spawn and it will only cost you a few pounds for a bag which will provide you with lots of mushrooms (it is also far better worth to grow your own mushrooms then to buy them from a store).
With the oyster mushrooms you need to pasteurize the straw or paper-based product, which eliminates off many of the bacteria present, offering the mushroom spawn a head-start when it comes to growing. You can do this by submerging the straw/paper in some hot water, maintaining it at around 60 degrees C for about 1 hour. When this has done, drain the substrate and permit it to cool before loading it into a see-through plastic handbag. Put a handful of straw/paper into the handbag and then sprinkle spawn on top, plus continue this until the bag contains large amount.
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Tie the bag with a metal-tie and then pierce holes over the bag which will allow air to help the particular mycelium grow and will allow mushrooms to grow later, Leave it inside a warm room for about 2 weeks until the bag completely colonizes (turns white, from the mycelium growing). An broadcasting cupboard or boiler room is an ideal place).
When the bag is usually fully colonized it will be ready to fresh fruit – mushrooms should start appearing in just a few days. To help it to fresh fruit you need to move the bag to a cooler, damper area where humidity levels are about 90% or more. Oyster mushrooms like to be in very cool conditions so it is probably best to place them outside. They will start to form (pin) from the holes which were poked in the bag previously, due to the mushrooms liking the air provided. When this occurs, carefully cut the bag plus peel it back a little, allowing the particular mushrooms the air and space needed to grow to large sizes. When the Oyster mushrooms look a good size and just before the caps unfurl to produce their spores, gently pull and twist them at their comes to harvest them. Cut the final part of the stem with a knife and they will be ready to eat!