Find a dark room to get started. A friend’s unused stable, a laundry, cellar or cupboard is ideal. Mushroons need a constant temperate and humidity to grow and prefer a temperature of around 20 degrees.
The mushroom is only the surface part of the organism or its reproductive parts. Before producing actual mushrooms, the organism must grow its main body, known as mycelium, under the surface of its food source.
1. Growing Button Mushrooms
Open the box, and open the large bag or Mushroom compost and turn the plastic wrapping back over the box. Spread the smaller bag of peat moss over the top. Spray water over the compost most days so it is kept moist. For best results keep the box in a dark moist position away from direct light and drafts. Mushroom mould will appear in 7 days and button mushrooms will appear in 21-39days.
Harvest the mushrooms by twisting them off so they break away from the compost. Dust off the mushrooms and store them in a paper bag until you eat them, or better still eat them straight away.
2. Growing Shiitake Mushrooms
Your shiitake kit will cost around $50 and has everything you need to grow shiitake at home; 50 shiitake plugs, bees wax, the right sized drill bit. So all that is necessary is a piece of oak; a 40cm long branch about 15cm in diameter. Don’t use logs that are shedding bark and leave the log for at least four weeks. Soak it in water overnight, prior to inoculating to accelerate the process (this emulated spring rain).
Inoculate the log from April to October, and your log will fruit in autumn or winter, 6-12 months after the inoculation. Insert the plugs into the 2cm holes that have been drilled, using a mallet. Melt the wax and dab a thin coat over hole, ensuring all holes are completely covered. Write the date on a label and tag the log.
Water the log every 2 weeks by immersing it in water for 24 hours. Allow the log to dry out between watering.
3. Growing Oyster Mushrooms
Coffee grounds are ideal to grow oyster mushrooms in as it has been sterilized from the process of making coffee and contains many nutrients, necessary for good growth. Half fill a Hessian sack with coffee grounds (requested from the local barrister) and ensure the grounds are moist. If you can squeeze liquid out of a handful, they’re too wet. If a handful, when squeezed into a ball, won’t hold together for a second, it is probably too dry. Gently tear fresh oyster mushrooms up into a few pieces first and bury in it about 5cm deep.
Maintenance of the Oyster colony is very simple. Cover the plantings with the Hessian or use some plastic, to assist in creating a humid environment. Keep the material inside moist by spraying with water, preferably every day. Oyster mushrooms will emerge after 6 weeks. Once the oyster mushroom colony is established, feed it coffee grounds from your kitchen anytime.
• Steamed coffee grounds create a more sterile environment for oyster mushrooms
• Oak, maple, beech or willow logs can be used for shiitake mushroom growing
• Mushroom growing kits can produce up to three full harvests
www.fungi.net.au – (shiitake kits)