For most people, the store bought kind of mushroom is sufficient for their needs. Other people, however, like growing their own mushrooms—and for the winter months, they are even prepared to grow them inside. For such people, we present this mushroom grow guide for growing mushrooms inside.
There are two ways to grow mushrooms indoors: a) with a mushroom grow kit and b) by collecting the needed materials yourself. In each case, the steps are roughly the same. In this grow guide we’ll walk you through them:
- Fill tray with compost
- Regulate the soil temp
- Keep soil moist
- Harvest at proper times
The particulars of the steps that must be followed to successfully grow mushrooms inside varies a little bit depending upon the mushroom variety in question. So, continue reading and we will discuss four common mushroom varieties as well as walking you through the growing steps.
How Do You Grow Mushrooms Inside
As we said above, you have two preliminary choices to grow mushrooms indoors. You can either purchase a mushroom grow kit from a reputable dealer or gather the needed materials yourself and then proceed. If you are new to the mushroom growing game, we recommend using the mushroom grow kit to start.
Likewise, we also recommend you start with an easy mushroom type like White Button Mushrooms. You can start there and then work your way up to more difficult mushroom types and with some practice and experience you’ll be growing your own mushrooms from scratch yourself, if you want to.
Here’s a great video showing how to grow in a monotub for easy indoor mushroom growing. We will explain in detail each step of the mushroom growing process below.
Gather the Materials to Grow Mushrooms
If you are using a mushroom grow kit (which we recommend for beginners), this step is easy. Most of everything you need will come with the kit.
I recommend checking out some popular Mushroom Grow Kits (link to Amazon) to start your search.
Generally, materials required include the mix of mushroom mycelium and compost (this mixture is also called spawn), substrate, a growing container, a heating pad or similar temperature control device, water sprayer, cloth, and a knife.
Fill the Mushroom Growing Tray with Compost
This step is pretty self-explanatory. You take a mushroom growing tray (one that comes with the kit, or one you build or buy) of an appropriate size, usually ranging from a foot or so long (White Button Mushrooms) and wide to several feet long (Portabello Mushrooms), and half a foot deep, and fill it with compost material. And then, place some spawn on top.
Regulate the Temperature of the Mushroom Bed
There is not necessarily a specific way to do this step. Your goal, for most mushrooms, is to keep the compost bed in the area of 70 degrees F to start. Once the mycelium becomes visible you should lower the temperature to somewhere between 55 degrees F and 60 degrees F.
One simple method to modulate the soil temperature with ease is to use a heating pad. They are not too expensive, and they are easy to come by. But if you have another method to control the temperature, feel free to use it.
Keep the Mushroom Soil Moist
For this step you’ll be using a spray bottle and a clean cloth. Moisten the soil with water and then dampen the cloth. Cover the soil with the cloth and spritz it regularly to make sure it stays damp.
Harvest the Mushrooms
Depending on the variety of mushrooms, they should start appearing within a few weeks or so. You can begin harvesting them when the caps open. Cut the stalk away from the stem using a sharp knife. Do not try to pull them up as that could damage nearby fungi reducing your crop.
If you do it right, you should get a regular supply of mushrooms for several months. You’ll have to use them up quickly, though, because most mushrooms do not keep very well even in the refrigerator.
Here’s a good starter video to help you decide which level you’re at, from beginner to expert.
What are Some Popular Types of Mushrooms to Grow Indoors?
There are many different kinds of mushrooms. Here is a list of four of the more popular ones as well as some information relevant to this Mushroom Grow Guide:
- White Button Mushrooms: These are the most common mushrooms making up around 90% of the mushrooms consumed by humans. They have a mild flavor that is not particularly intense and they can be cooked or eaten raw.
- Mushroom Substrate: White Button Mushrooms are grown in composted manure.
- Crimino Mushrooms: These are also known as Creminis or Baby Bellas (and several other names). These are, in fact, younger specimens of the Portabello Mushrooms. It is cousin to the White Button Mushrooms, compared to which it is firmer, darker, and somewhat more flavorful. Nevertheless, it can be used wherever the White Button Mushroom can be used and vice versa.
- Mushroom Substrate: Crimino Mushrooms should be grown in a mix of dry poultry waste, water, gypsum, canola meal, and straw.
- Portabello Mushrooms: These are large mushrooms whose caps can be as large as a human hand. They are found often in Italian recipes where they are often used to enrich pastas and sauces. They make an excellent substitute for meats, or, alternatively, their tops can be used in place of a bun. Finally, they can even be stuffed or grilled.
- Mushroom Substrate: Portabello Mushrooms can be grown in seasoned manure compost. They also require a covering of peat moss and newspaper.
- Shiitake Mushrooms: These fungi grow on oak trees and originate in Japan. Nowadays, most Shiitakes consumed by humans are cultivated instead of being found in the wild.
They have brown tops shaped like umbrellas that curve under just a little bit. When freshly picked, Shiitake Mushrooms possess a light woodsy flavor and a similar aroma. When dried out, both the flavor and aroma become more intense.
- Mushroom Substrate: Shiitake Mushrooms can be grown on wood or hardwood sawdust.
So, those are some of the characteristics of four of the more common types of mushrooms.
Where Should You Grow Your Mushrooms
Mushrooms prefer places that are dark, humid, and cool. Typical locations at home include basements, or closets, or even under the sink … but it really doesn’t matter so long as those listed conditions exist.
You’ll need to keep an eye on the conditions throughout the growing process. Use a thermometer to watch the temperature. Most mushrooms like temperatures in the range of 55 degrees F to 60 degrees F. It’s also a good idea to prevent exposure to drafts or direct heat.
Generally, mushrooms do not like a lot of light, so designating a separate closet or similar structure that won’t be disturbed unnecessarily, is usually a good idea.
The Benefits of Growing Mushrooms Inside
There are a number of benefits to growing mushrooms inside.
The first is that it gives one a steady supply of mushrooms for your consumption whenever you want them for several months.
The second, and probably the more important, is that provided you purchase the spawn (either separately or within a grow kit), you eliminate the possibility of accidentally picking one of the poisonous varieties. And that is certainly a plus.
As can be seen, growing mushrooms inside is a relatively easy process with only a handful of steps. We still recommend you start with the easiest mushrooms (White Button Mushrooms) to get a feel for the process. But, in time, you should be able to tackle even the more difficult ones.