Not many people realize that it is actually very easy to grow  mushrooms  yourself at home, instead opting to spend their money at their local supermarket on  mushroom  species cheaply imported from foreign countries where they are grown in bulk. The 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  at home not only are you going to have fresher longer-lasting  mushrooms  but they will also most likely taste stronger and more mushroomey as the shop varieties tend to have a more watered-down flavor.

Another advantage of growing  mushrooms  yourself is that you aren’t limited to the variety displayed in the shops – which usually consists of button mushrooms , Shiitake, Oyster and Portobello. Although Oyster  mushrooms  are seen to be the easiest type of  mushroom  to cultivate, you may wish to try and grow something that most shops wont ever sell. The Lions Mane  mushroom  is a little harder to grow and yet has a taste which is very similar to that of lobster, and 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 hundreds of edible  mushrooms  that can be grown either inside your house or outside, most growers settle for the oyster  mushroom  to begin with due to the simplicity of growing it (Oyster, or Pleutorus Ostreateus has very vigorous growth and so is very likely to grow given the right conditions).

Once you have decided on a type of  mushroom  to grow you will need to find the specific growing requirements, as all fungus have their own different growing parameters. With 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 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 online as most garden centers only sell complete  mushroom  growing kits, whereas the spawn on its own is a little more specialist. There are many websites that sell 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 value to grow your own  mushrooms  then to purchase them from a store).

With the oyster  mushrooms  you need to pasteurize the straw or paper-based product, which kills off many of the bacteria present, giving the mushroom  spawn a head-start when it comes to growing. You can do this by submerging the straw/paper in some hot water, keeping it at around 60 degrees C for about 1 hour. When this has done, drain the substrate and allow it to cool before loading it into a see-through plastic bag. Put a handful of straw/paper into the bag and then sprinkle spawn on top, and continue this until the bag is full. Tie the bag with a metal-tie and then pierce holes over the bag which will allow air to help the mycelium grow and will allow  mushrooms  to grow later, Leave it in a warm room for about 2 weeks until the bag completely colonizes (turns white, from the mycelium growing). An airing cupboard or boiler room is an ideal place).

When the bag is fully colonized it will be ready to fruit –  mushrooms  should start appearing within a few days. To help it to fruit you need to move the bag to a cooler, damper area where humidity levels are about 90% or higher. Oyster  mushrooms  like to be in quite cool conditions so it is probably best to place them outside. They will start to form (pin) from the holes that were poked in the bag previously, due to the  mushrooms  liking the air provided. When this happens, carefully cut the bag and peel it back a little, allowing the  mushrooms  the air and space required to grow to large sizes. When the Oyster  mushrooms  look a good size and just before the caps unfurl to release their spores, gently pull and twist them at their stems to harvest them. Cut the end part of the stem with a knife and they will be ready to eat!

Source by Markus J Andrews