Want to learn how to grow mushrooms at home, including tasty oyster mushrooms? Read on!
Growing mushrooms at home can be a rewarding, fun experiment, as well as a fruitful way of producing food from an otherwise under-utilized resource. Common household waste can be used to grow mushrooms, like:
- Coffee grounds
- Toilet paper
- Leaves and grass clippings
- Wood chips and logs
- Egg cartons
One of the easiest methods to start growing mushrooms at home is to grow oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds. This is an easy 4 step process.
You will need a plastic container with a lid and several holes poked in the bottom of the container, oyster mushroom spawn, and a household of coffee drinkers.
- Brew coffee. Once boiling water has run through the grounds and filter place into a small plastic bucket/container.
- Add spawn on top of the freshly brewed coffee and filter. Close the lid.
- Repeat daily or throughout the day, layering oyster mushroom spawn and spent coffee grounds. Keep the mushroom spawn in the fridge between use.
- Once the container is full, allow it to sit for 2-3 weeks. Poke 4-5 holes in the side of the container and mist once daily. Mushrooms will begin fruiting within a week of misting.
Another substrate that is great to cultivate oyster mushrooms on is straw. It is easy to use this method for growing mushrooms at home. You will need clean straw, a 5-gallon bucket, water, plastic tubing, and oyster mushroom mycelium. This method of treating straw is called the STINKY STRAW METHOD. It is likely the smelliest way to grow mushrooms at home. Don’t worry though, the smell is very temporary — dissipating from the straw within 30 minutes of removing it from the fermentation.
- If possible, shred the straw into 1-4 inch pieces, this can be achieved by machete, running over the straw with a lawn mower, a small yard shredder/chipper, or a weed whacker in a 55-gallon barrel.
- Pack the straw into a 5-gallon bucket. Place a large cinder block or other heavy object to keep the straw submerged in water. Fill the bucket with water so the straw is completely submerged.
- Allow to remain submerged for 3-6 days. Remove from water and drain on a table.
- Pack the straw into plastic tubing, layering oyster sawdust spawn every 3 or 4 inches. It is very important to pack the straw as tight as possible so there are minimal air gaps. For a 3-foot tall section of tubing you should poke 18 holes in the side of the plastic.
- Allow the mycelium to colonize the straw for 3-5 weeks. The bag can be kept in a dark place between 50-80 degrees F.
- Move the bag into fruiting conditions. In an ideal environment this is 65 degrees F, out of direct sunlight but in a lighted area like a living room, with humidity around 85%. To achieve this, simply mist the exterior of the bag 2-3 times daily.
- The mushrooms will fruit out the holes of the bag within 7-10 days. Harvest once they reach maturity.
- Allow the bag to rest where it is for 2 weeks and begin misting again. The bag will fruit mushrooms 2-4 times before it is time to be composted.
Sometimes when people ask how to grow mushrooms at home they really only want to grow mycelium. Growing mycelium can be a great way to build organic matter instead of sending waste to a landfill. Rather than recycling cardboard, mycelium of Wine cap or oyster mushrooms can be grown out and transferred to additional pieces of cardboard. Organic matter can be greatly increased by adding this into a compost pile, or even using it to sheet mulch a garden. The spent straw from the stinky straw method is great to compost or add to the garden as well.
I hope this article was helpful in your mushroom growing process. If you have further questions or comments, don’t hesitate to ask. And please share this information with those mycophile friends of yours!