Growing mushrooms

Growing mushrooms for the kitchen is rather an exciting thing to do for the first time.

We started this year, late spring, with a bed that was basically too dark for growing much. We also had a lot of chicken bedding, which in our case was straw and poo! So rather than composting the straw, we filled the raised bed with it and added plenty of mushroom spores and mycelia.

The way we did it was this:

A layer of cardboard, soaked, then straw, then mycelia spread over it. Then another layer of cardboard, soaked, then more straw and then more mycelia. Then another layer of cardboard, soaked and straw on the top.

We never let it dry out, which was easy this year since it hasn’t stopped raining!

That’s it!

We bought the spores on the 21st May, and today, 2nd August we have our first mushrooms. They are enormous. I call that a result. They will now continue to crop until the end of September or the first frosts, when the bed will get a covering of more straw and hopefully rejuvenate next spring. 

We bought the spores / mycellia from and I bought 3 kg for about £20. We probably spend at least £1 a week, minimum, on mushrooms, so these will pay for themselves straight away this summer, but will continue to crop for 3 years – perhaps longer of I feed and treat them right.

One tip is not to water with tap water because it contains chlorine and fluorine, and this damages the mycelia. If that’s all you have, leave the water in a bucket for a day and night to reduce the additives.

Already the mice have had a go at the mushrooms, so I have put a cage over them to deter the birds at least.

Please do make sure you cook the mushrooms completely to kill off bacteria, though this particular mushroom is really good at converting rotting material, particularly woodchips.



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