The common mushroom, with the scientific name Agaricus bisporus , is a fungus ( Kingdom Fungi ) of the Agaricaceae family, very popular for its multiple culinary uses in all kinds of dishes. Some years ago it was quite common to go out to collect mushrooms, but today this activity is much more regulated, in addition to requiring a deep knowledge of mycology.
For this reason, growing edible mushrooms at home is a very good option to have this precious culinary resource for very little money. In addition, it is an educational activity that can be very interesting for the little ones in the house. If you want to learn how to grow mushrooms at home , join us in this article where you will find a practical and easy guide to achieve it.
What do I need to grow mushrooms
Before explaining how mushrooms are grown at home , we must bear in mind that if we want to grow our own mushrooms, we will need the following materials :
- A container or polystyrene box that will act as a greenhouse.
- A tall lid for the box.
- Boiled straw.
- Compost .
- Mulch or peat.
- Mycelium in grain, which would be the “seeds” or mushroom spores. We recommend common peanut or Portobello mushroom.
This entire list of materials is prepared taking into account that we are going to assemble the greenhouse box ourselves. If we want to simplify the task, we can buy a mushroom cultivation kit in alpacas , which are already prepared with the mycelium and the substrate for the mushroom, thus guaranteeing the first production and can be extended up to a year.
How to grow edible mushrooms at home
First of all, we must emphasize how important it is to have very clean and sterilized both the hands and all the surfaces, containers and tools with which we are going to work to prepare our mushroom culture. It must be taken into account that we could inadvertently contribute, with our hands, sneezing or coughing nearby, harmful microorganisms for the development of the desired fungus. To grow mushrooms at home from scratch, follow these steps:
- Put the straw in a bucket along with the compost.
- Add a little water to moisten the material and mix it.
- If you regularly drink coffee at home, it is a very good idea to save the coffee grounds to add them to the mix at this time, as they are an excellent and highly nutritious contribution to the fungus, which will make many more mushrooms grow.
- Once the mixture is well homogenized, transfer it to the polystyrene box. Don’t be afraid to fill it to the top, especially if the lid is high enough to allow the mushrooms to grow. Keep in mind that this mixture is the one that will be the food of the fungus and, the more substrate it has, the more mushrooms will come out.
- Sprinkle the powdered mycelium, which is the mushroom itself.
- Cover the surface with between 1 cm and 2 cm of peat or previously moistened mulch, on which you will have to spray some more water spray to provide the necessary humidity for the growth of the fungi.
- Leave the box covered at some point with a temperature between 22 ° C and 37 ° C, protected from light.
- It is important to keep the box moist, always applying moisture in small amounts with a spray bottle.
- After about 7 days, you should be able to distinguish the whitish hair from the grown mycelium. Then it is convenient to make an opening in the lid that lets in some light. Just make a hole in it and cover it with cling film.
- From now on it will be convenient to keep the box out of direct sunlight, but not to leave it totally dark, and to spray water regularly on the ground, but never on the mushrooms, to maintain a good humidity level of around 80%. In about 12 days you should see the first mushrooms grow, and in about 20 days you should be able to pick the first ones.
How to grow hydroponic mushrooms
Hydroponic cultivation is a technique that allows to optimize cultivation resources to a large extent, since all the nutrients are administered in the water itself in a nutrient solution , usually in constant circulation, of which the plants or, in this case, fungi, they take only what they need at all times.
However, hydroponic crops require greater facilities than traditional crops in soil or substrate, so their execution is more expensive and complicated, usually being relegated to the industrial field in some of its many variants. If you want to start growing at home, it is best to start with simpler techniques.
Tips for growing mushrooms at home
Here are some basic tips and reminders of the most important points to follow:
- Wash your hands and sterilize all tools before preparing the box and mix.
- Some say that mushrooms grow best in the dark, but a little light will promote further development. Do not expose them to direct light but do not leave them in the dark either.
- Apply the humidity by spraying the water on the lid if it perspires a little or, directly on the ground but not falling on the mushrooms themselves, which could rot.
- Pick up your mushrooms by pulling them carefully, without cutting them , to avoid sources of rot.