For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, gardening season is right around the corner. While many of us likely can’t wait to get outside and start working in our gardens, there are some who prefer to grow crops indoors. That can be far easier said than done, especially when it comes to what you actually want to grow. Mushrooms are an excellent choice for indoor growing. While most plants require plenty of sunlight to grow (something that’s usually a challenge for indoor gardening), mushrooms actually prefer lower light and cooler temperatures, making growing them inside ideal. Here are some tips for growing your own mushrooms inside.
Before you go down the path of growing your own mushrooms indoors, there are two major things you need to consider. Whether you want to buy a pre-made kit to grow or if you want to start from scratch by preparing your own substrate and spawn. A substrate is the base material that the mushrooms will actually grow on. Examples of substrate include cardboard, logs, straw, grain, or even manure. Spawn refers to the white, moldy threads that grow on the substrate and eventually become mushrooms.
The nice thing about using a kit to grow is that it comes with everything you need to succeed. You’ll get directions, as well as the spawn and substrate needed to effectively grow. Regardless of whether you’re using your own substrate or whatever is provided in a kit, you’ll need to inoculate the material in an appropriate environment. Most mushrooms like cooler temps (around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit), but some varieties prefer temps a little warmer or colder. As a rule, most mushrooms don’t like direct sunlight, so if you have a basement it’s likely the best place to grow your shrooms.
You’ll want to keep everything moist, so use a damp cloth to cover your substrate. You can also use plastic sheeting as long as you punch some holes in it for air flow. Give everything a misting from a spray bottle a few times a day (make sure to use non-chlorinated water).
In most cases, you should start seeing tiny little mushrooms sprouting within a few days to a few weeks. This is called pinning, and when you reach that stage, you can expect fully matured mushrooms within a few days.
Finally, harvest your mushrooms by whatever method is recommended for your variety. Some should be cut at the stem, while others should be broken off in chunks.