How Hard Is It to Grow Mushrooms?

If you’ve been around someone who tried growing mushrooms, you’ll most likely hear them complaining about how the mushrooms suddenly disappear after a couple of months. So how hard is it to grow mushrooms?

As a rule of thumb, growing mushrooms is remarkably more challenging if you compare it to growing almost all other kinds of crops and plants for a variety of reasons. 

For example, mushrooms require tons of temperature and climate control as well as sterilization and pasteurization of the equipment to limit the microorganisms competing with your mushroom.

Despite all that, growing mushrooms, whether at your home or backyard, is one of the most rewarding experiences if you’ve got the method right.

If you want to know more about mushrooms farming, you’re in for a treat! In this article, I’ll share with you some information I wish I knew before starting with mushroom farming. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

How Mushrooms Grow in the Wild

Mushrooms are originally the reproductive or the fruiting parts of some species of fungi. A fungus is often a saprophytic organism.

This means that it relies on other organisms to obtain their nutrition, such as the polysaccharides found in plants or similar nutrients in animals.

A fungus will only produce mushrooms when conditions are optimal, which is usually after it rains so that it can spread and reproduce.

The mushrooms won’t only produce the spores needed for reproduction but they’ll also protect them until they’re released in the air.

Like plants and other organisms, mushrooms are different regarding their optimal growing conditions. That’s why there are mushrooms in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Can You Grow Mushrooms at Your Home?

A lot of people wonder if growing mushrooms at home is a possibility. Luckily, you can of course grow them at your home!

As you now know, mushrooms will prosper whenever the conditions are right. In other words, if you manage to create favorable conditions that encourage fungus to create mushrooms to reproduce, you’ll have yourself some homegrown mushrooms!

The growing conditions will vary depending on the type of mushroom you want to grow. However, the basic steps for getting mushrooms to grow indoors are all nearly the same. You’ll need a dark, cool, and damp place to get them growing.

However, you also need to be able to control aspects like temperature and humidity, which applies to a variety of spots at your house.

Is it Safe to Grow Mushrooms at Home?

Growing mushrooms at home is a matter of debate, although most opinions tend to say that it’s completely fine to grow them as long as you have a controlled environment for them.

A huge variety of mushrooms grown in the wild can be poisonous, with some of them able to cause death in some severe situations.

One of the nicest things about having a mushroom farm at home is that you always know the species of mushrooms you’re dealing with and that you’re sure that you’re not consuming a poisonous one.

Despite being safe, some mushrooms produce a lot of spores into the air, which can be problematic for people with allergies, causing them to sneeze and have watery eyes as well as other allergic reactions.

Moreover, the increased load of spores in the air might encourage mushrooms to grow in places where you don’t want them to be and possibly damage the house. That’s why you should make sure to grow them in a controlled spot to prevent them from causing these issues.

How Long Does it Take Mushrooms to Grow

Compared to regular crops, mushrooms are surprisingly much faster in terms of growth. However, the time needed for mushrooms to grow depends mainly on their species as well as their size.

To give you a better perspective, smaller mushrooms can be cultivated in a little over a single day, with some species growing in a matter of hours!

Larger mushrooms take a bit longer to grow, which can extend to a few days to a week. The harvest cycle is highly rhythmic for mushroom farmers

You can harvest most mushrooms for about 35 to 40 days, or as long as the mushroom continues to grow. Some mushrooms even continue to grow for as long as 5 months!

What Are the Ideal Spots to Grow Mushrooms

As you already know, most mushrooms prefer a damp, dark, and cool spot to grow. Ideally, you have a lot of spots at home that can provide these conditions.

In fact, just about any dark room in the house will provide enough conditions for most mushrooms to grow. However, the basement is usually an ideal spot.

Make sure that you check the temperature at the spot you’re qualifying for growing mushrooms, which should be about 55 to 60 °F (13 to 15 °C). 

The humidity in the spot can be measured by a hygrometer and should be between 80% to 90%. Some people use humidifiers to maintain such humidity.

What Are the Best Types of Mushrooms to Grow?

If you love edible mushrooms, you most likely have a favorite mushroom that you want to grow already. However, for a beginner, it’s best to start your mushroom growing experience with a relatively easy one.

Ideally, I recommend that you start with the oyster mushroom. Besides being one of the most commonly consumed mushrooms, it’s also one of the most forgiving and easiest to grow.

As you step up your mushroom growing skills, you can advance in the types of mushrooms you grow and expand your collection to include:

  • Enoki
  • Shiitakes
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Maitake
  • Cremini
  • White Button
  • Portobello

How Much Does it Cost You to Grow Mushrooms at Home?

This relies mainly on the type of mushroom you’re growing, the advanced tools you’re going to use, and the scale at which you want to grow mushrooms.

Aside from mushroom spawns, which are the equivalent of seeds in plants, some people might actually grow mushrooms almost for free using readily available items.

Profit is a totally different story. Some serious mushroom growers could expect to earn more than $30,000 a year, as some mushrooms can be sold for $6 to $20 a pound!

How to Grow Mushrooms On Your Own

People have been growing mushrooms on their own for years using anywhere from tree logs, coffee grounds, and various other growing media.

The cultivation method for most mushrooms is pretty similar but they differ in conditions and growing media used. Here are the rough guidelines for getting started with mushroom growing:

  1. Choose a type of mushroom you want to grow and learn about its conditions.
  2. Buy mushroom spawn rather than spores, as they’re a whole lot easier to grow.
  3. Pasteurize the suitable growing medium for your mushroom by microwaving it, then adding some water.
  4. Add the now damp growing media to a shallow pan then spread the mushroom spawn on it
  5. Adjust the necessary conditions for growing the mushroom, and leave it in a dark spot to allow the mycelia to permeate the growing medium.

How Can You Benefit from Growing Mushrooms

Mushrooms can provide you with a wide variety of benefits. For example:

  • They’re extremely nutritious and healthy food options
  • They’re a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans
  • They can save you a lot of money (some mushroom species are quite pricey!)
  • You can mass-produce them if you get the hang of it and make an excellent side income!

Wrap Up

There you have it. A brief guide with some critical information about growing mushrooms on your own.

As you can see, with all the conditions and factors that you need to get right, growing mushrooms can be a bit challenging.

However, it’s also an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience that you can benefit greatly from in a variety of ways!