Growing Mushrooms at Home Is Easier Than You'd Think (2024)

Every few months or so, I fight the urge to flee into the woods and live off the land as a reclusive forest hag. To channel this urge, I do things like tending the little garden patch outside my apartment and growing herbs in my window box. It gives me some shred of bucolic life.

But since my inner hag is never satisfied, I am always looking to learn how to grow more things, which is how I became fixated on growing mushrooms at home. There are a number of home mushroom growing kits available online that claim to make the process easy. I tried a few. Here’s what I learned.

Can I grow mushrooms at home?

Yes. Though it depends on what type of mushroom you want to grow and how much dedication you have. The growing conditions for mushrooms can vary widely from species to species, and some aren’t really viable at a small scale. You aren’t going to be growing morels or black truffles—there’s a reason those are so expensive. Still, other mushroom varieties, like oyster mushrooms, maitakes, and reishi are all within the realm of possibility. Pretty much every mushroom growing resource I could find says that oyster mushrooms are the easiest variety for first time-growers, as they grow fast and can easily thrive in substrates made of things like coffee grounds and straw, making them relatively low maintenance.

How to grow mushrooms at home using mushroom kits:

I got a couple of oyster mushroom growing kits from Back to the Roots. As far as cost goes, these kits, which vary between $16–$20 dollars, aren’t necessarily going to serve as an economical substitute for buying mushrooms from the grocery store. But they are a great way for you to get your mushroom-growing legs. In fact, the kits I tried were designed to be an educational tool for children—which made me feel better about my chances for success.

Inside each box is a block of substrate inoculated with oyster mushroom spores. This block itself is sealed within a special plastic bag called a spawn bag, which has a small filter patch to allow for clean air flow. The mycelium-coated substrate itself is a little gnarly looking, particularly the one for pink oyster mushrooms, which had an unsettling, Philip Guston fleshiness to it. All these kits had a pleasant forest floor smell that seeped through the bag, which made me miss being outside, but I digress.

The nice thing about a mushroom kit is that the trickiest and most time-consuming part of growing mushrooms, sterilizing and inoculating the growth substrate, has already been done for you. All you have to do is cut open a little window in the bag, soak it face-down in water, and then place the kit in a cool, dimly-lit room. The kit said that the mushrooms would begin to “pin” in a couple of days, and that is exactly what happened. Each morning I would wake up and find teeny mushroom heads sprouted through the ruddy substrate. After seven days of regular misting, I had a large handful of pink oyster mushrooms. My coworker Anna also tried the kit with positive results.

Growing Mushrooms at Home Is Easier Than You'd Think (2024)


Growing Mushrooms at Home Is Easier Than You'd Think? ›

Mushrooms Are Easy to Grow

What are the cons of growing mushrooms at home? ›

You need a place that is dark and humid, which may be difficult if you live in an apartment or other place where it's hard to control such things as ventilation and light levels. In addition, mushrooms put off an interesting aroma which may not be pleasing to some people.

Are mushrooms easier to grow than plants? ›

Mushrooms require less growing materials, water, and energy than other types of crops. There are many reasons why mushroom agriculture is more sustainable than other types of agriculture, which start with the growing process.

Is it cheaper to grow mushrooms yourself? ›

Save Money: It's cheaper to grow your own mushrooms than to buy them, and you can even sell the excess. Quality & Variety: Control what goes into your food and explore exotic mushroom types you won't find in stores.

Do mushrooms grow better indoors or outdoors? ›

outdoors is ideal because the forest (or any shady environment with good humidity and air flow) creates the ideal conditions for fruiting without the need for any climate control on the part of the farmer. Indeed, the forest is where the mushrooms we grow come from, so why not simply grow them there?

Is it safe to grow your own mushrooms at home? ›

Can I grow mushrooms at home? Yes. Though it depends on what type of mushroom you want to grow and how much dedication you have. The growing conditions for mushrooms can vary widely from species to species, and some aren't really viable at a small scale.

Is it OK to grow mushrooms at home? ›

Brown oyster mushrooms are popular for home growing, but there are many types worth trying. If your weather is very hot or cold, you may have to use a different kind of mushroom spawn recommended for your climate.

What is the easiest mushroom to grow at home? ›

Wine Cap (Stropharia rugosoannulata) may just be the easiest mushroom to grow at home. They are perfect for those without access to fresh logs or indoor space. They grow best in garden beds made of straw (not hay), hardwood chips, or sawdust.

What is the cheapest way to grow mushrooms? ›

Another easy, inexpensive option for growing mushrooms at home is inoculated sawdust in a plastic bag. These come in kit versions, but you can also make them yourself. Store them in a bathroom where it is dark and moist and you'll start to see flushing pretty quickly.

Can you grow mushrooms from store-bought mushrooms? ›

The best variety for home growing is oyster mushrooms, though you can use any type. Store bought mushroom propagation is quite easy, but you should choose fungi from organic sources. Propagating store bought mushrooms from the ends just requires a good fruiting medium, moisture, and the proper growing environment.

Are mushroom kits worth it? ›

Should You Try a Kit? If you have any interest in growing mushrooms at all, and you aren't ready to do it from scratch, then most definitely yes- you should try a kit! It will give you an idea of how mushrooms grow, and what requirements they need in order to fruit properly.

Where is the best place to grow mushrooms? ›

Mushrooms are best grown under-cover, where temperature and moisture can be controlled. A shed, garage, garden cold frame or cellar will work well – anywhere out of the sun where it's possible to give mushrooms their optimum growing temperature of around 15°C (the temperature shouldn't go below 10°C or above 20°C).

What is the average cost of growing mushrooms? ›

Making the Most of Your Investment

The cost can range from $3,000 to $100,000, depending upon how advanced you plan to make your farm. Garner experience, network with others, and start with simpler crops to grow. This will ensure that you make the most of your mushroom farm investment.

What is the best room in the house to grow mushrooms? ›

In nature, mushrooms grow in the cool, moist areas of the forest where they are sheltered from the weather and wind, so it's best to find a place like this in your house or backyard. Many people say to grow your mushrooms in the bathroom as it's an area that often has humidity from showers.

Where is the best place to grow mushrooms indoors? ›

Where to Grow Mushrooms. Mushrooms like dark, cool, and humid growing environments. When you're growing mushrooms at home, a place like your basem*nt is ideal, but a spot under the sink could also work. Before you start growing, test out your spot by checking the temperature.

Do mushrooms grow better in light or dark? ›

Generally, mushrooms prefer indirect light or low levels of artificial light, rather than direct sunlight which can dry out substrates and overheat the growing environment.

Is growing mushrooms bad for the environment? ›

As consumers look to make food decisions that take environmental impacts and carbon footprint into account, mushrooms are a choice that everyone can feel good about. The carbon footprint of mushrooms is much smaller than most other sources of proteins and vegetables.

What are the problems with mushroom cultivation? ›

Nematode problems are also becoming a limiting factor in the successful production of mushrooms, as nematicides recommemded abroad are not available in India. This problem needs attention specially. Presently there are no organised spawn-producing units, therefore spawn supply to growers is limited and uncertain.

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