How to grow mushrooms

drayvenMay 27, 2009

I have a couple of places in my yard that get complete shade and even a few spots that never see the sun at all.

I have heard that this is ideal for growing mushrooms but I am having trouble finding info on how to grow them. It seems that everyone who grows their own grow fancier or rarer types. I just want the regular white mushrooms you get at the store. I have included a link to what I am talking about.

Can someone direct me to a place that sells these types of shrooms?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Button and portabella mushrooms are actually a tougher type of mushroom to grow (you have to first culture a proper compost, and then culture the mushrooms in it, unlike many others where you just culture the mushroom itself). Although I've never even managed to grow oyster mushrooms, which are supposedly one of the easiest, so who am I to talk? :P

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:54PM
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There is a company called Fungi Perfecti that sells mushroom cultivation supplies.
I've used their stuff with limited success so I gave up on it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:57PM
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Very few growers care about those, the agaricus types. They don't grow all that well, they don't taste like much, and they are not that easy for outdoors cultivation (they are grown in unused mines), as their substrate is manure. Lots of chance for contamination. They don't keep, a bad trait for a crop that flushes only a few times a year.
I would not know where to buy spawn either.

Whereas an injected oak log will produce shiitake for 6 years, with relatively little chance of contamination. And shiitake is not that fancy. It has been grown for over 1000 years, and the biggest seller today. But you can pick up some nice growing guides from Penn State, for shiitake and oysters for example, see the similarities, and try to adapt those to agaricus. I link the shiitake guide below.

Here is a link that might be useful: shiitake guide.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:04AM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

I grow button mushrooms every winter as a way to pass the season and still have a "garden" to tend to. If you do a search for 'mushrooms' on any of the reputable seed companies online, you should find the kits. They usually run about $30 or so, and other varities besides button are available

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 7:47AM
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mattjjd24(4 upstate NY)

Like James I've tried the kits and they didnt do very well for me. Way too expensive for the amount of mushrooms I got.
I've bought books, done extensive reading on the internet, and I havent found a good souce of info either. The info is either too technical, for mass production, or for growing illegal mushrooms.
I've tried innoculating straw outside with oyster mushrooms, no luck. I did successfully grow them in plastic "logs", but its just not how I wanted to do it. I want an outside patch where I can go out and pick them. I dont knwo if thats possible.
The only thing left that I'm willing to try is innoculating hardwood logs with shiitakies. I understand it can take quite a while for the log to fully colonize.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:57PM
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I've tried innoculating straw outside with oyster mushrooms, no luck.

Yeah, I couldn't get anything I innoculated to take. I tried so many times to produce the perfectly sterile medium (I tried corn, straw, and wood shavings, with various combinations of boiling and hydrogen peroxide). The most sterile mediums I made took months before they showed signs of going bad. Yet the fungus I injected never started growing. I gave up on growing mushrooms after that. I have to wonder if the stuff I bought was even alive.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 12:17AM
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I haven't grown any, but it has crossed my mind. Growing them is probably not for a beginner. You have to find one those Spore sites. The mushrooms come a liquid with spores in syringes, and you create a medium and inoculate or inject the spores into it and wait about 1 month. After that time it will create the Mycelium which is like the root structure of the mushroom. Whatever you inoculate will turn all white inside, then it will pop up the mushrooms. I believe they grow very quickly after that point. Probably 60 hours they'll form the mature mushroom.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 6:25AM
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I thought about growing shiitake on logs and while Googling found this article.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 8:28AM
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shitake are relatively simple to cultivate. one can find wooden pegs colonized with shitake used to inoculate logs many places online.

check here:

if you would like a stack of logs you may find precise directions on innoculation and care by doing a search on google something along the lines of "inoculating shitake logs" and looking around a bit. read read read.

though you may want to buy a pre-colonized log to start.

lost creek mushroom farm has great products and excellent directions for caring for your logs.

if you would rather go a more in depth route i suggest using wood chips to create an outdoor bed.

do some reading. mushrooms require a lot of TLC and research.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 10:26AM
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The logs are simplest to grow mushrooms, if you are willing to wait one year. Here are the must-not-break rules for oyster or shiitake:

- logs freshly cut from live trees, during the cold season (leaves off), small enough to handle (30 lb or less, mine probably average 20).

- inject within a month of cutting, after a 24 hr soaking (I use a trash can, and place a pinch of wood ash in the water to buffer the chlorine). If cut in Fall, place after inoculation in your basement or other sheltered place. I place them in the basement inside a large plastic tent. If cut in spring, place outside but cover with a tarp whenever frost threatens, for the first month.

- their final place is outside in FULL SHADE, stacked and off the ground. I have them on pallets in a thicket of aronia under large trees. I uncover them when it may rain, otherwise they are under a tarp. They get watered about once a week.

- to fruit, wait one year. There should be clear signs of mycelium at the ends of the logs. a 6 hour (no more) soaking in COLD water will trigger the process. I put two liter soda bottles, frozen, in the trash can together with the logs. Lean them against a wall and spray them for ten days. i do six at a time.

For outside management, it is easier if they are near the garden. Then watering is easiest, you just have to redirect the hose for a few secs. I also have a hole in the top of the tarp to water them without fussing with the tarp.

It is a type of gardening that will build your upper body. All that log handling has convinced me I don't need a gym subscription anymore.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 10:51AM
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Here's one for

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 11:12AM
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I may have been a bit negative in the first post here, but I have suddenly remembered the real reason I dislike agaricus: it resembles a number of toxic, ground-dwelling mushrooms.

Here is a link to young destroying angels (you only need one of these). Compare it with the link the OP provided, and see if you want to grow button mushrooms in a manure bed outside. And I pick and eat a 3 or 4 types of wild mushrooms, but they are all uncontroversially identified.

Here is a link that might be useful: Destroying angel

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 2:04PM
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glib it really take 1 year for the mycelium to develop?
I read maby a month, or perhaps that was for the recreational kind...Alot of the info out there is about that kind. Not the edible kind.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 2:31PM
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Glib: How do you inoculate? Where do you buy your inoculum from?

Here is a link to young destroying angels (you only need one of these). Compare it with the link the OP provided, and see if you want to grow button mushrooms in a manure bed outside.

I agree 100%. Too many dangerous agarics that look too similar to each other. Boletes, true puffballs, and shelf fungi are much safer. They tend to be more distinctive, and I've never read of a deadly bolete or shelf fungus. There are some poisonous boletes, of course, but they generally won't kill you (they'll just make you vomit and cramp for a long time). And most (not all) of the poisonous boletes can have the toxins cooked our or lost in a change of water. And they tend to have a red pore surface and/or near instant blueing when cut, making them easier to recognize. As for the puffballs, cut them in half to make sure they're not young amanitas and not earthballs, and there's not much risk either. Of course, you always want to identify...

Amanita virosa (destroying angel) is a really nasty mushroom. Looks so innocent, but contains alpha amantin. It's a mere 8 amino acids long, and is really insidious. It takes half a day to a day before you have any serious side effects, and by then, it's too late to pump your stomach -- if you ate enough, the only way to save your life may be a liver transplant.

Oh, and I just remembered: has anyone ever seen this before?

This guy built a database of all of the mushrooms in the Audubon guide for North America (thousands), and then trained a neural net on it to figure out rules for determining whether a mushroom is poisonous or safe to eat. It came up with:

odor=NOT(almond.OR.anise.OR.none): Poisonous or unknown. 120 poisonous cases missed, 98.52% accuracy

spore-print-color=green: Poisonous or unknown. 48 cases missed, 99.41% accuracy

(stalk-color-above-ring=NOT.brown): Poisonous or unknown. 8 cases missed, 99.90% accuracy

habitat=leaves.AND.cap-color=white: Poisonous or unknown. 100% accuracy

population=clustered.AND.cap_color=white: Poisonous or unknown. 100% accuracy

odor=(almond.OR.anise.OR.none) Edible. 48 errors, or 99.41% accuracy.

(the odor options are almond, anise, creosote, fishy, foul, musty, none, pungent, and spicy)

Again, though, always identify ;)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Here is an account from a guy who ate a Destroying Angel that he picked outside in a forest floor. (Doh!)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 5:22AM
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Karen, I always bought from, but there are many other fine outfits on the web. I strongly agree with your philosophy, if you make a mistake on a shelf mushroom you are going to eat a bad tasting one, but not a lethal one. Ink caps are also unambiguous, although I can not believe that the Cornell guy mistook a destroying angel (DA) for an ink cap. Where are the scales? Where is the ink? Ink caps are so abundant you should always see an inky mess nearby.

Same for the wikipedia page, that confusion can arise with DAs and puffballs. Real puffballs are huge, a pound or two, prefer open spaces, and are creamy throughout (the good ones).

To inoculate, a good outfit will send you a booklet with your order. Basically, they send you inoculated wooden cylinders the exact same size as a particular drill bit. You drill a hole in the log, and you hammer the cylinder into the log. Lots of waiting and watering ensues.

Lazy, to work with a log is like working in the garden with nutritious, but cement-like clay. The nutrients are there, but the veggie roots advances slowly because the substrate is so damn hard. It does take one year.

To work with sawdust, which all fast mushroom kits are made of, is like working in the garden with the fluffiest compost. The mycelium runs through it in a matter of days, and fruiting can happen in another month or three. Same for straw and other loose substrates.

As I type, if I turn around I can look up my bookshelf to six jars of mycelium, all 90% white with mycelium, which I started two weeks ago with two little cylinders in each. I produced them with 2/3 1/3 sawdust and bird seed, and next week I will use them to attempt colonization of 20lb bags of sawdust. It is the first time I managed to produce my own cultures, and I do it entirely with household tools (garbage bags, mason jars, breathing masks both as filters and as sterile equipment, sterilization of surfaces and tools on kitchen stove, bleach and rubber gloves, and a 5 gallon beer brewing pot).

But like the first time I was successful with the logs, I only got there when I followed every rule. This is different from gardening, where even a fool (like, say, myself 13 yrs ago) can manage to grow something the first time, and then the next year you are able to grow something more, and so on and so forth. Mushroom gardening is everything (every care) or nothing (no mushrooms).

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 2:26PM
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Thanks for the feedback; it's great to hear from someone who's had success with mushroom growing. And I *love* a good shiitake... ;)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 10:58PM
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hey maby you dont need to "plant" mushrooms, sometimes they'll volunteer for you. hah ha
I found a mushroom growing in my freshly laid garden bed. Not sure if its a poison one but I dug it up without touching it and threw it. Didn't see any Mycelium. I hope I dont have destroying angles or some other poison fungi wanting to grow in my beds where I'm growing food! It might of been an inkcap though, the underside of it was a brown/black. But what do I know? No experience with such things.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:31AM
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I posted a write-up of how to grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms indoors that might be rather helpful. It also explains how to inoculate your own logs (I just don't have the space to do so, and don't have access to logs), and provides links to places that sell all types of spores and kits.

So far I'm having pretty good success with oyster (on toilet paper) and shiitake (on a log) inside.

Here is a link that might be useful: Indoor Mushroom Guide

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 8:54AM
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