How to Grow Mushrooms Indoors

By on April 19, 2013

Mushrooms are one of the staples of cooking. The only problem with mushrooms is that they can be expensive to buy.  The solution, if you are a real mushroom lover, is to grow your mushrooms yourself indoors – so let’s look at how to grow mushrooms indoors.

Why You Should Grow Mushrooms

Vegetarians love mushrooms because their texture is very much like meat and they provide a lot of protein.  They make a great ingredient in omelettes and soups.  Button whites are great in salads and portebella mushrooms are wonderful when stuffed.  Morrel mushrooms are rare and hard to get in stores, but they are wonderful when fried. Portebella mushrooms are also make a great burger.  If you haven’t tried it before, try adding sliced white button mushrooms to your favorite meat loaf recipe.  There are just so many ways to cook mushrooms that it’s impossible to list them all.

It is absolutely amazing to think about how people love to eat mushrooms when they are, in truth, a fungus.  There are a large number of mushrooms that can be poisonous, so you should never eat a wild mushroom unless you know exactly what it is.  On the other hand, people commonly hunt for Morrel mushrooms that grow wild in the woods.  If you are new to harvesting your own mushrooms then the easiest way to do it is to start growing your own mushrooms inside.

How To Grow Mushrooms Indoors

The simplest way to get your start in growing mushrooms is to go out and buy a mushroom growing kit.  Kits come with everything you need (and some things that you really don’t) to grow mushrooms.  Many kits include a tub of some sort for growing your mushrooms in, a heat pad with timer, substrate, an air pump, air filtration hoses, grow lights, and mushroom spawns.  Most kits also come with instruction booklets.  Mushroom kits are great to get you started and some kits can be very large; designed to hold fifty-six quarts of substrate.  Kits are a great way to start and cheaper than trying to buy all these items individually.

Using your mushroom kits is not a hard thing to do.  If you have a kit with a heat pad, place it on the bottom of the container that came with the kit.  Fill the kit with substrate and spread the mushroom spawn on top of the substrate.  Now you have to keep your container warm, wet, and dark.  As long as your kit is placed out of direct sunlight then lighting should not be a problem.  Some heat pads come with timers, but if yours does not have a time be sure to turn the pad on for ten to fifteen minutes two to three times a day.  Don’t over water your mushrooms!  A simple misting of their substrate once or twice a day will keep them nice and moist.  If your substrate starts looking soggy then hold off on misting the mushrooms for awhile because you have over-watered your mushrooms.  Your kit will start to have visible mushrooms in just seven to ten days.

Where To Grow Your Mushrooms

The key to how to grow mushrooms indoors is finding the right position for your mushrooms. A perfect place to grow your mushroom is in a basement that is devoid of light or even under the kitchen sink.  If you outgrow your basic mushroom kit then cardboard boxes are also an option, but you must be able to control their environment to ensure that the mushrooms stay warm and moist.  An easy way to do this is to set smaller cardboard boxes in an old egg incubator.  Incubators are designed to to maintain a constant temperature and level of humidity.

Incubators are also nice if you are growing mushrooms that have to grow on old logs or stumps.  If you can find a small log that will fit comfortably in your incubator then you can easily manage the environment that the plug based mushrooms grow in.  In order to grow this type of mushroom you will need to drill holes in the wood and insert the plug that the mushroom spores come in.  These type mushrooms can be less work simply because you don’t have to manage the substrate.

Harvesting Your Mushrooms

Be sure to harvest your mushrooms in small quantities.  You can only store your mushrooms in the fridge in a paper bag for about seven days.  Mushrooms left in the fridge much longer than seven days they will start to develop a slimy texture and you should not use any mushroom that has become slimy.  If you want your cooking mushrooms to be really fresh then be sure to cut them right before you intend to use them.  The use of incubators and small cardboard boxes about the size that Saline crackers come in that are cut in half is convenient if you want to grow a couple of different varieties of mushrooms in a small space.

Just to Note: Some Types of Mushrooms Only Grow Outside

There are types of mushrooms that are almost impossible to grow indoors.  Morel mushrooms are among these mushrooms.  These mushrooms must be grown outdoors and the bed must be prepared properly.  For this type of mushroom you need to bury biodegradable items like watermelon rines and eggs.  It is sometimes easier to lay out these items and cover them with a layer of good compost.  Finally you mix in the Morel spawns and hope or the best.  Rare mushrooms like the Morel are expensive to get with just the spawns alone starting at thirty-five dollars.

Mushrooms Are Also a Great Fertiliser For Your Garden

If you are interested in growing organic foods then you should also look at the mushrooms that are available for use in your garden.  These mushrooms are not generally edible, but they supplement the soil that they are in and can greatly increase the size of your normal vegetables.  Onions have been known to almost double in size compared to onions where mushrooms were not grown in the same bed.  Think of them as an all natural fertiliser.

If you love mushrooms then you should definitely consider growing your own. Just remember once again to be very careful if you are harvesting mushrooms in the wild – so why not just grow your own at home.  It is amazingly easy to grow your own mushrooms  – so I recommend going out and getting a kit and getting started!

Here are some more interesting links on how to grow mushrooms indoors:

 

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