Mushrooms are neither a vegetable nor a fruit but are actually a fungus. Once you get past this fact they’re actually a very healthy addition to your diet. They are fat-free, low in calories, and loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants. It may surprise you to learn that it is possible to grow Mushrooms at home and it isn’t as difficult to do as you may think. Since they need cool temperatures to grow this is also a great time of year to give them a try.
The key to growing mushrooms is providing them with the right conditions which can vary from one variety of mushrooms to another. Mushrooms grow from microscopic spores rather than seeds and since they lack chlorophyll they need a growing medium to sprout. This growing medium can be compost, sawdust, wood, etc. and different mushrooms prefer different growing materials. The mushroom spores along with the growing material are referred to as spawn and it is this spawn that will support the growth of the mushroom.
Here are some tips on how to grow mushrooms at home:
- Research the mushroom you want to grow and what planting material it requires. For example, Button Mushrooms need composted materials while Shitake Mushrooms need wood materials such as sawdust.
- Mushrooms require cool temperatures and a location that does not get a lot of light. The location should maintain temperatures that are between 50 to 60 degrees. A location in your basement or even a spot under the sink can often meet these requirements
- The spawn should be kept moist and not allowed to dry out.
Unless you really know your Mushrooms it is best to start with a grow kit rather than trying to harvest something from the outdoors. The kits typically include all of the materials you will require. Button Mushrooms are generally considered the easiest to work with and once you get them going it is possible to pick them daily for up to 6 months!
Mushrooms are great additions to salads, soups, and sauces. These are all components of well-known winter dishes so why not try growing your own mushrooms this year!