How to Grow Mushrooms at Home: A Beginner’s Guide (2024)

Growing mushrooms at home is an easy, family-friendly project requiring little space and no gardening experience. Here's how to get started.

Mushrooms arehaving a moment. That’s partly thanks to growing global interest in their health benefits: Certain varieties of mushroomsare thought to promote brain health and better immune system functioning and even to lessen cancer risk. From dried mushroom powders to coffee substitutes todocumentaries, the mushroom market is now an industry estimated to value $50 billion.

But mushrooms also make a great DIY pursuit. Foraging and festivals are becoming more popular, as is home-growing. The latter may be easier than you think—growing mushrooms at home is a family-friendly, DIY project requiring little space and no gardening experience. Here’s how to get started.

Choose a mushroom variety. Some 14,000 varieties of mushrooms flourish in this fungi-rich world, but only a dozen or so are in common use for home growers. Oyster mushrooms are perfect for beginners, according to Tavis Lynch, author ofMushroom Cultivation: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms at Home. They have a rich flavor, especially when sautéed, and grow on all types of substrate, the nutrient-rich medium that allows mushrooms to flourish.

“They’ll grow on coffee grounds, cardboard, wood chips, natural logs, sawdust, cornstalks—anything that has cellulose,” says Lynch, who also recommends pioppino and chestnut mushrooms for beginners, followed by intermediate-level lion’s mane and shiitake. “Varieties like maitake are downright difficult,” he says, alluding to maitake’s finicky reputation. Research what mushrooms appeal most to you, and then make space on your kitchen counter.

Start with a grow kit

Spray-and-grow kits, a block of colonized substrate inside a small box, make for the easiest way for beginners to get started. “They’re inexpensive. You get a lot of mushrooms out of them. And they're super easy,” says Lynch. “If you know how to run a pair of scissors, you can grow mushrooms.” He’s hinting at the basic instructions here, which are as follows: Slice open the box, spray with water, and wait. While online options abound from nationwide operations like North Spore and Myco Labs, consider looking locally. Some farmers’ markets have mushroom grow-kit sellers, or you can ask at nearby mushroom farms.

To optimize your kit for success, keep in mind that nearly all edible mushrooms prefer humid environments with plenty of oxygen and minimal direct sunlight. Placing your kit near the kitchen sink can help replicate those conditions. If you live in a drier climate, make a “humidity tent” by taking a semi-transparent plastic bag, piercing it with lots of holes, and placing it over your kit. You can also set a dish of water at the kit’s base to increase moisture levels.

Don’t forget to let some air in, though. “Mushrooms ‘breathe’ oxygen like we do—a lot more than one would expect,” Lynch explains. Put the tent on too tight and your mushrooms will likely rot. You’ll know if this is happening: Oxygen-starved mushrooms will deform, become spindly or wrinkly, and often take on yellow, brown, or pinkish hues.

“If you know how to run a pair of scissors, you can grow mushrooms.”

Take the operation outside

If you have access to an outdoor growing space, spring is a great time to start cultivating al fresco mushrooms—begin after the last frost and you can have a harvest in as little as a couple of months. Look for areas of partial shade that retain moisture, from the base of trees to the empty spaces around your vegetables.

For the easiest entry point into growing outside, Lynch suggested the wine cap mushroom, which growers buy as “spawn,” in other words, substrate inoculated with the fungus. “Soak wood chips or straw for a couple of days, sprinkle across your yard, and sprinkle mushroom spawn on top,” he toldSierra. “Then walk away, because you're done.”

Logs or stumps can also become miniature mushroom farms. You’ll need a freshly cut log (hardwoods are best), spawn, melted wax, and a few basic tools. It’s a slightly more involved process and may take a full calendar year to harvest, but you could get years of growth—stumps often produce for up to a decade. Spawn, like grow kits, can be purchased from mushroom farms and online purveyors.

Harvest and repeat

Grow kits produce edible mushrooms after anywhere from a few days to a week-plus. Regardless of type, harvest when the mushroom is young, firm, and healthy-looking—softness or discoloration can be signs of rot, and you don’t want to eat spoiled mushrooms. “Mushrooms don't decay in the same way plants do,” notes Lynch. “They behave the same way that meat does.” In other words, fresh-kit mushrooms are entirely safe, but spoiled mushrooms are not.

After harvesting, continue to monitor your kit’s humidity and oxygen levels, because you’ll likely get another round of mushroom growth, called a flush. If the weather’s not too hot or cold, you can also “plant” the kit outside, burying it in partially shaded ground like you would a seed. Check on it periodically, especially after a rainfall that could spur growth. Once you’ve got healthy mushrooms to harvest—whether they’re from a kit, on a log, or just on the ground—simply twist them off the substrate … and start cooking.

How to Grow Mushrooms at Home: A Beginner’s Guide (2024)

FAQs

What is the easiest way to grow mushrooms for beginners? ›

Start with a grow kit

Spray-and-grow kits, a block of colonized substrate inside a small box, make for the easiest way for beginners to get started. “They're inexpensive. You get a lot of mushrooms out of them. And they're super easy,” says Lynch.

What are the easiest edible mushrooms to grow at home? ›

In this guide, we'll focus on three easy-to-grow mushrooms: Wine Cap, Shiitake, and Blue Oyster. From indoor growing to garden cultivation, these varieties offer simplicity and delicious rewards for all skill levels.

How to grow mushrooms indoors step by step? ›

  1. STEP 1: “PASTEURIZE” AND HYDRATE THE PELLETS. Add boiling water to the pellets in order to pasteurize and hydrate the substrate at the same time. ...
  2. STEP 2: ADD SPAWN. Once the sawdust has completely cooled, add spawn. ...
  3. STEP 3: COVER AND COLONIZE. ...
  4. STEP 4: FRUIT! ...
  5. STEP 5: HARVEST AND SECOND FLUSH.

What mushrooms should I grow first? ›

Shiitake mushrooms grown on logs outdoors is one of the easiest mushrooms for beginners to learn the cycles of mushroom production. Although oyster mushrooms may fruit easiest, they are insect prone, so Shiitakes are the one to start with.

What are the 5 steps to growing mushrooms? ›

The six steps are Phase I composting, Phase II composting, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping. These steps are described in their naturally occurring sequence, emphasizing the salient features within each step. Compost provides nutrients needed for mushrooms to grow.

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.

Is growing mushrooms cheaper than buying? ›

A: Yes, growing your own mushrooms can save you money in the long run. Mushrooms bought from the store can be expensive, especially if you consume them regularly. By growing your own, you can significantly cut down on the cost of buying mushrooms.

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.

What are the healthiest mushrooms to eat? ›

Some of the mushrooms considered best for human health include chaga, lion's mane, reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, cordyceps and maitake. Often considered vegetables, mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They belong to a unique kingdom of fungi.

Where is the best place to grow mushrooms in your house? ›

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.

How many mushrooms do you get from a grow kit? ›

Expect to grow: 2-3 harvests of mushrooms / 150g - 300g

The first flush will always be the biggest. We've had some customers grow up to 4 flushes of mushrooms from our kits but on average you'll get 2 harvests. Once the kit has run out of nutrients and water it will be "spent" and won't produce any more mushrooms.

Do mushrooms need sunlight? ›

Unlike plants, mushrooms are fungi and they do not perform photosynthesis, so they don't require sunlight for energy. Instead, they obtain their energy from the organic matter they grow on. However, some light can help guide their growth direction.

What is the best tasting mushroom you can grow at home? ›

Oyster Mushrooms: A Flavorful Delight

Pleurotus ostreatus, or Oyster mushrooms, stand out among home cultivators for their simplicity and delectable taste.

Do mushrooms grow better in sun or shade? ›

Mushrooms thrive in dark, damp areas. It's important to choose a shaded area in your garden or yard that stays moist.

What is the easiest mushroom to grow indoors? ›

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.

What is the easiest mushroom kit to grow? ›

Oyster mushrooms are by far the easiest and most reliable mushrooms to grow. For beginners we recommend our Mist & Grow Oyster mushroom grow kits. Simply cut an X in one side of the bag, cover with a humidity tent, and mist a few times daily. Within 7-10 days a cluster of baby mushrooms will appear!

What is the easiest and most profitable mushroom to grow? ›

The easiest mushrooms to grow that are also the most profitable are shiitake and oyster. While you may feel tempted to grow more valuable and challenging varieties, you have to understand that these will require more time and resources.

What helps mushrooms grow faster? ›

Mushrooms need a humid environment when they're fruiting. After all, they're made of more than 90% water. Increasing humidity can help your mushrooms grow faster and of a better quality. Although it's a balancing act, as too much humidity increases risk of bacterial infection and mold as well.

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