Interested in Growing Mushrooms?
Mushroom cultivation is growing thing too, ya’ll!
Most gardeners think of growing vegetables and maybe some fruits. We tend to forget about options like mushroom cultivation. But yes, you can grow mushrooms, even exotic mushrooms for profit… or just for your consumption.
Mushrooms are becoming wildly popular and have a wide range of types and uses. From exquisite culinary cuisine to pizza toppings… herbal supplements and powders to coffee, mushrooms products are sprouting up everywhere.
So here’s a primer as we embark on learning more about how to grow mushrooms for profit.
Growing Exotic Oyster Mushrooms
While oyster mushrooms are one of the easier mushrooms, they’re also one of the most profitable. If you’re new to mushroom growing, whether for profit or just home harvesting, the Oyster Mushroom could be the place you’ll want to start.1)https://www.growveg.com/guides/growing-gourmet-mushrooms-at-home-from-waste-coffee-grounds/
Most oyster mushrooms are grown in a variety of mediums, such as straw, wood chips, seasoned logs, or even coffee grounds. The coffee grounds method is explained in the following 3 part video series, followed by comments from a member of the GardensAll Facebook community from her experience of growing oyster mushrooms in several different mediums.
Grow Oyster Mushrooms from Used Coffee Grounds – Part 1
Video by TomorrowsGarden.net2)http://tomorrowsgarden.net/
Growing mushrooms is knowledge that everyone should have.
Oyster mushrooms don’t need an artificial light source and can be grown in various types of medium or substrate, including wood chips, coffee grounds, grains, straw and manure. It’s perfect for preppers as it’s self-sustaining and can provide a constant supply of food in very little time. It’s knowledge that everyone should have.
Mushrooms can provide a constant supply of food in very little time.
Editor’s Note: Now there are a few things we would do for added efficiency that are different than was done in this video, such as using:
- a sterilized spoon to ladle in the coffee grounds
- a wider mouthed mason jar to make it easier to add and remove contents
While oyster mushrooms are easy to grow, they do need a sterile environment, which can be a challenge, as you will see in video #2.
Growing Oyster Mushrooms From Used Coffee Grounds – Part 2: Identifying Contamination
Video by TomorrowsGarden.net3)http://tomorrowsgarden.net/
Problems with Growing Oyster Mushrooms
In this video you’ll see what to look for when your jar of mycelium becomes contaminated with green mold.
Editor’s Note: here we would increase efficiency by first placing the straw into the food processor with the lid off.
Next: Final steps & harvesting your oyster mushrooms!
Growing Oyster Mushrooms From Used Coffee Grounds – Part 3: Final Steps And Harvest
Video by TomorrowsGarden.net4)http://tomorrowsgarden.net/
In this last video, TomorrowsGarden.net shows how to grow from store bought mushrooms. Once you try it you will be hooked! Fresh mushrooms, like fresh garden vegetables, can’t be beat.
Ready to start growing oyster mushrooms? Next up is growing them for profit as well as an informative video by an ag extension agent on growing mushrooms outdoors.
Mushroom Logs – The Best Oyster Mushroom Growing Medium…?
Contributing writer, Kathie Chambers Underwood shared this from her experience of growing oyster mushrooms.
This is our 2nd year growing them. We’ve tried 2 mediums. One in a compost of coffee grounds and other fillers. Another we used aged hardwood logs which we plugged with spores and sealed with beeswax. Here is what I’ve learned so far.
The compost method sprouts faster but also doesn’t propagate any spores.
What you plant is all you get. However, the hardwood method requires virtually zero care and produces a much bigger fungi and the spores spread and continue to grow and sprout throughout the logs.
The aged hardwood log method produced bigger mushrooms with no work.
Kathie goes on to say:
I also noticed a taste difference between the two. They were almost as big as the palm of my hand and the taste was incredibly delicious.
The aged hardwood will be my preferred growing method from here on.
How Big do the Holes Need to Be?
Just an average size drill bit, about a 1/4 inch and only about an inch deep.
Fungi prefer hardwood like oak, maple, cherry, walnut etc. Absolutely no pine.
I can’t stress enough though how important it is that the wood must be seasoned.
the wood must be seasoned.
We used a green tree the first year and it killed all our spores. Second year the same logs were fine. Some enzyme in the green wood will kill the spores. In my picture, you can see 3 different sections. Each one is a different mushroom. One oyster, one Lion’s Mane and one Shiitake. Each section had 100 spore plugs of each variety inserted and sealed.
And as you can see by Kathie’s last photo above, the mushrooms are lovely, large and delicious!
So there’s another voice of experience weighing in on the best medium for growing oyster mushrooms, and why.
Here’s another short video on growing mushrooms from the University of Wyoming Extension Service. While their focus is on growing mushrooms in Wyoming, this information could be applied in most locations, and if in doubt, you can check with your own local extension service. That’s what they’re there for!
For more on growing mushrooms, Google ‘growing mushrooms’ and ‘your state’ for local ag extension resources. They may be able to provide a list of mushroom growers, and some can give you growing tips and suggestions. Meanwhile, here’s a good link for national ag extension info how to grow mushrooms.5)https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/mushrooms
If you decide you don’t want to grow big yet and just want to try out growing a little bit of mushrooms, there are a number of handy mushroom growing kits available on Amazon.
Here’s more on Amazon:
Books on Growing Mushrooms for Profit and Pleasure
Mushroom Grow Kits
Our take on mushroom growing: it’s definitely worth looking into especially for those who live in climates with a short growing season. If you have a basement area, you can start there. To turn it into a mushroom farm may require more space, and certainly more specialized ventilation. For this reason, many prefer to grow mushrooms outdoors, naturally, on logs like Kathie is doing.
Growing mushrooms on logs outdoors has advantage, such as more natural environment, better tasting mushrooms and no need to set up special rooms, sterilization and equipment. The main disadvantage is that you can’t grow them year round plus it’s hard to scale this into a commercial venture, should that be your aim. However, it’s a great way to get started.
Mushrooms are very popular and growing in uses. People buy mushroom extracts for health and mushroom coffee is becoming increasingly popular amongst the alternative leading edge fitness and nutrition crowd. So now is a good time to get into mushroom growing.
Mushroom Farming for Profit
If you’re interested in learning about earning money from gardening or farming, we invite you to join our Facebook group: Planting for Retirement (PfR).
PfR member, Sarah Brackney shared her mushroom farming journey on Planting for Retirement website, with a step-by-step how to get started growing oyster mushrooms.
Planting for Retirement is for people interested in learning how to replace or supplement our income through growing something. By learning together and sharing our wins, losses and lessons in the field, we all grow stronger and better.
Speaking of which, one member in the Planting for Retirement group, Colleen Nichols, shared some awesome info we didn’t know about mushrooms:
Surprise… mushrooms are good for bees!!
Mushrooms and bees…? Wait… don’t bees just go for flowers and nectar? Think again! Check out this article on GoodNewsNetwork.org. (Great site name, right?!?6)http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/beehives-made-of-mushrooms-could-save-colonies-from-collapse/
AND… we love a good TED Talk, so here’s Paul Stamets onstage at TED, talking about mushrooms and bees.
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