Kits are ideal for the beginner and for people who may not feel wholly confident about growing mushrooms, but once their confidence increases, many people then move on to growing their own mushrooms without a kit. This may not be wholly successful first time, but it is worth persevering because you can get some excellent mushrooms and a real feeling of being quite ‘self sufficient’.
There are various ways in which you can set about growing your own. You can use either part of your lawn, particularly a shaded area, logs or even bags/containers which have been filled with either sawdust or straw.
To grow mushrooms on a log, you will have to cut logs in the winter. Beech or oak logs are best. Store them in the winter, by stacking them on sheets of polythene directly on the ground. Ideally the conditions they are stacked in should be cold and damp. In spring time, drill holes along the log then place the mushroom spawn in the holes (the spawn can be bought from specialist garden centres, or by mail order over the internet). Next you should seal the holes, traditionally wax is used for this. Next you need to wrap the logs and for this you can use old newspapers, cardboard or carpet, rugs etc. After a few months, check the logs for signs of growth. AS soon as you see any, take off the wrapping and place the logs in a shady cool place. Under trees or in the garage is an ideal spot. Then just let nature take its course.
To grow mushrooms in bags, in either straw or sawdust is relatively easy. First sterilise the growing medium ie the straw or the sawdust by soaking in a bleaching solution. This should be 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 litre of water and the mixture should be soaked for two hours. Then you add the spawn and mix it together.
Place the compost and spawn in a plastic bag, in which holes have been created. Tie up the bag and keep it in a constant temperature which is between 20ºC - 25ºC. When you see growth starting to appear, move the bag into a cool and moist place which is not in direct sunlight. Then you should be able to crop your first harvest in only a few weeks.
To grow mushrooms in the lawn, you will first need to dig out the ‘mushroom patch’ (having chosen a nice shaded area, which is ideally under or near trees) then you should remove the turf carefully ( you will replace this, so keep it) then remove around 15 cms of the soil and fill the whole with very well rotted horse manure. Then lay down the mushroom spawn and tread it into the manure. Replace the turf and water fairly well but do not saturate the area. With ideal weather conditions, you will start to see mushrooms popping up in around 12 weeks or so, but you are fairly dependent on weather conditions, using this method.
So, mushroom growing is definitely not rocket science, although it can be tricky to get it right at first, however, in some ways this only serves to increase the satisfaction when you do crop your first mushroom crop and thereafter be careful, since it really is addictive!
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Wild Mushroom Identification - Recommended Books for All Skill Levels: Every amateur mycologist should have a decent library of books, here are the top five books I highly recommend for wild mushroom identification:
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