The frequency with which you need to water mushrooms will depend on the kind of mushroom you’re growing, the casing/container, present soil moisture and the appearance of the mushrooms. In general though, you’ll water the mushrooms once or twice per day after planting them. When mushrooms appear, you will either increase or decrease frequency.
How Do You Water Mushrooms?
Believe it or not watering mushrooms is something of an art form. So, you will have to devise and experiment with various techniques to see what works best for you, your situation and the environment in which you’re growing the mushrooms.
Sprayed Not Poured
First, most mushrooms love it when you spray them and their growing medium with water rather than a direct pour from a watering can. You can sprinkle the water too, but this will often produce uneven moistening of the soil and thus, varying results.
The spray head should produce a fine stream of water with some aerosol. Avoid using sprayers that have a long, high arc or a lot of pressure with large droplets. Consider buying the rose-face type. These have 750 to 1000 holes with a 0.01” diameter.
Direction, Cadence & Rhythm
Then, direction and cadence of the spray is also important. So, you want to develop a sense of rhythm here. Some people suggest going left to right and then right to left in spurts of counting to three in each direction. Other people make three passes every four feet.
Soaking Is an Option
If this method seems to complex, you can put your mushroom casing/container inside another container with water. Simply pour an inch or two of water in the bottom of an empty container. Ensure this vessel doesn’t have any holes. Then, put your mushrooms into it and let the soil sop up the water as it sees fit.
Note, though, that this is best for when you start seeing mushrooms appear. You run the risk of not having any mushrooms grow when the soil is too soggy. If you notice the soil sopping wet, don’t leave the mushrooms there, remove them.
Moisture Is Imperative
This means it will come down to you, how many mushrooms you’re growing and whatever provides the fastest way to evenly moisten the medium. You want to ensure you water the mushrooms at least ¼” into the growing medium. It should have the texture of a wrung-out sponge.
When Do You Know It’s Time to Water Mushrooms?
Every species of mushroom will have specific watering requirements. So, it’s important that you research your particular fungus to you fully inform yourself of what it needs and how to anticipate issues that may crop up.
Oftentimes, however, you’ll want to water immediately after planting and water once or twice per day after until you see mushrooms appear. Then reduce watering to every two or three days. However, you should check the growing medium every day to make sure it maintains this wet sponge texture.
What Happens to Mushrooms if You Skip Watering too Long?
If you skip one day of watering, your mushrooms should be okay. But, if you let the soil/growing medium go bone dry, it may lose its ability to hold and absorb water. While the mushrooms might still grow, they won’t have the desired taste, look or appearance. They will be pithy and soft with a miniscule yield.
To return the growing medium to a good rate of absorption, you will have to spray the mushrooms in short bursts. It’s ideal to do this several times over the course of a few days until it has that texture of a wrung-out sponge.
What Happens to Mushrooms if You Overwater Them?
If you accidentally overwater your mushrooms, it’s okay. Simply leave them alone and don’t put them in front of a fan or under direct light. Evaporation is best for this. Don’t water the mushrooms until the soil loses that wet-sponge feel.
The worst case scenario that can happen from overwatering is that the mushrooms will stop or be slow growing. In more severe cases, the mushrooms will die or won’t develop altogether.
What Other Factors Affect Watering Frequency for Mushrooms?
When your crop begins sprouting fast, you may have to increase watering frequency. Compost and air temperatures will influence the mushrooms’ growth. Under the right conditions, they will grow faster than you expect. If they appear quickly, your watering will have to match the rate of growth.
What Are the Watering Guidelines for Oyster Mushrooms?
When you first plant oyster mushrooms, take care to water them three times each day. Once the mushrooms begin to peek through the soil, increase the schedule to four or five times per day. Ensure you water only the soil and not the mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms will have a soggy texture and a poor quality if you spray them directly. You’ll know if the soil is too dry by the way it feels and the appearance of cracking on the caps.
What Are the Watering Guidelines for Button Mushrooms?
Button mushrooms need water every day. This is because the soil must be consistently moist and you have to water the soil in small amounts. These are a little more delicate, in that adding too much water in one session can kill your mushrooms.
These seem to grow best in a nice moist environment that contains horse manure and straw. This means you should prepare the soil well with water before you begin planting button mushrooms. Mix the compost with straw and plenty of water and allow this to sit for several weeks.
Humidity will also be an important factor in having a successful crop of button mushrooms. A humidity around 85% is ideal with a temperature maintained at 65°F to 70°F. This temperature and humidity combination will help keep the soil moist. Once mushrooms begin to grow, spray the soil every two to three day or when you notice the growing medium’s dryness.