Many people are passing lazy time at home right now, and if you’re looking for something to do, something that will help you pass the time or something that will teach you a new skill, new hobby while at the same time providing fresh gourmet organic food something you might want to look into is learning how to grow mushrooms Indoors!
Nowadays mushrooms are used in many heavenly food items we usually have like pizza, pasta, salad, appetizers, and more.
Especially, in the quarantine situation, most of the people started growing mushrooms indoors as they passed their time by cooking, baking where mushrooms were one of the top ingredients.
Mushrooms are a healthy addition in any diet as it is low in fat, low in calorie and also very helpful for our brain and also supply antioxidants and fibers as well.
It also prevents many of the popular diseases we are having nowadays like heart diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. The most important part is, they are a very good source of potassium and selenium (which is essential for humans as it serves a lot of proteins).
The mushrooms we buy from shops online or offline, we aren’t sure whether they are healthy or safe or not. That’s why many of us started growing mushrooms as they can easily grow at our home and garden as well.
You might be scared of growing mushrooms at home as it sounds difficult. We often see our parents plucking carrots, potatoes, or other vegetables from their farm or indoor gardens. But mushrooms cannot be seen so often. As a gardener, if anyone is interested to grow their food, they should try to grow their mushrooms at home. Though it looks hard it’s just a matter of managing the environment and other conditions like light and temperature.
What Are Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are the reproductive outcome of “Fungi” which is kind of a plant but different from plants and animals. Mushrooms can be called the fruit of fungi.
Normally other plants produce their food using sunlight by the process called “Photosynthesis”. But for fungi it’s different.
The mycelium grows near the food source from where they get nutrition and then digest the source externally. After that, they absorb the digested food and that’s how they get nutrition.
How Does Mushroom Grow?
Mushrooms grow from spores located beneath the matured fruit cap of mushrooms. They don’t grow from seeds like other fruits. Unlike other plants, they rely on sawdust, straw, woodchips, or grain as a growing medium instead of soil.
You have to make sure that if you use sawdust it has to be from untreated wood. The tiny, threadlike structure called mycelium grows at first then the mushroom grows from that.
Mushrooms spawn helps mushrooms to grow better if it introduces into any growing medium according to the type of mushrooms you want to harvest rather than growing by itself.
How To Choose The Mushrooms To Grow?
The first step to grow mushrooms indoors is to choose the types of mushrooms you can grow at home which won’t cost you any specialized techniques or equipment and also will work for you.
As a beginner, someone doesn’t want to or is often scared to do anything that will be complicated or specialized. So, you have to find the simplest way to grow fruits at home and for that mushrooms are the best because they can be grown readily indoors and won’t get messy with soils and all.
Not all types of mushrooms are suitable for growing indoor. There are three types of mushrooms that are very easy to grow at home. Those are oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms. The method of growing mushrooms is similar but the ideal growth substrate is different.
The oyster mushrooms best grow in straw and coffee grounds. Shiitake grows in hardwood sawdust and button mushrooms best grow in compost manure.
These all three types of mushrooms have their nutritional values. Among them, the oyster mushroom is one of the most growing mushrooms indoors.
How To Grow Mushrooms Indoors?
Step 1: Purchasing Mushroom
Mushroom spawn is basically like a seedling to a mushroom. Mushroom spawn is weed permitted with mushroom mycelium essentially the structure of the roots of the fungus.
It is used more like seedlings to promote development. You can purchase high-quality mushrooms spawns from several online retailers some specialty organic living stores, or some gardening supply stores.
Make sure to buy spawns rather than spores some retailers will also sell spores that are more akin to the seeds of the plant. Growing mushrooms from spawns take more time and practice and are best suited for a season mushroom gardener.
The basic homework you have to do before purchasing your mushroom spawn is whether the facility has laboratories or they just grow in wild.
You should also want to know that whether they are reliable to fruit from flux spawns or spores.
Step 2: The Making of Mushroom Beds
For mushroom beds, we need to sterilize the growing substrate. One of the most available substrates for growing mushrooms is straw or sawdust. when you are ready to grow mushrooms in sawdust it should be sterilized and these growing mediums before inoculation with the spawn.
This is done to kill off any microorganisms that could compete with the mycelia. To sterilize the substrate place it in the microwave-safe bowl and add enough water to make the straw and sawdust dump.
The bowl now has to place in the microwave and heat at a high temperature for 2 minutes until the water has boiled off.
This kills any microorganisms leaving the substrate safe to receive the mushroom’s mycelium. You may need to work for batches to sterilize straw or sawdust.
There are three ways to sterilize the substrate. They are
1) Hot water treatment
2) Steam pasteurization method
3) Chemical sterilization technique
Hot Water Treatment
One of the best and organic ways to treat the substrate is hot water treatment. The soft straw dip in hot water at 80 degrees Celsius for two hours.
Hot water treatment makes the hard substrate smooth enough that mycelium development can take place very quickly. This approach is not sufficient for commercial cultivation.
Steam Pasteurization Method
In this method, pre-wetted straw is pasteurized by passing steam through the straw for two three hours. This is used for commercial cultivation purposes.
Chemical Sterilization Technique
This technique is best for commercial cultivation.
In this method, 7.5g of Bavistin and 125 ml of formalin are dissolved in 100 liters of water and slowly poured on the heap of wet straw. Soft straw is covered in polythene sheets for 18 hours
The straw is taken out and the excess water is drained off. After the spawn and the substrate is ready the next step is filling and spawning.
Step 3: Filling and Spawning
Spawning is the planting of spawn on the substrate. There are two types of spawning:
1) Layering: in layering, you have to put the substrate first and layer with one base of spawn, and again you put the substrate above it.
2) Mixing: Mixing is very easy and you just have to mix the spawn and the substrate in a certain ratio.
Step 4: Choosing Appropriate Container to Grow
For the cultivation of mushrooms indoors you can either use plastic bags, plates, or bottles. Many people choose plastic bags over bottles but it’s absolutely according to your own choice and taste.
But for button mushrooms, people mainly use plates as it helps to grow button mushrooms properly.
Step 5: Building a Mushroom Growing House
The size of the area you need depends on a lot of factors such as how many mushrooms we are aiming to grow, how you build your fruiting room, and what options you have available to you.
Mushroom growing house is a dark place with essential relative humidity and a temperature below 120 degrees Celsius. For oyster cultivation, there should be no sunlight in the house. The essentials are just access to water and electricity.
You can also use spare space like garages, basements, barn, shipping containers, etc. You can either make racks with woods or hang the mushroom bags from above. You can also try to place a pan in the warmer area of your house.
Leave the setup in a dark area like a chamber for about three weeks. This will allow the mycelia of the mushroom to penetrate the substrate. Mycelia in your mushroom spawn need to spread evenly to the substrate before the mushrooms are produced.
A warm temperature encourages this crude. One of the most important factors of growing mushrooms indoors is to maintain a proper environment. Place the substrate in a proper environment. After two weeks, inspect the substrate to see if it has been completely colonized.
The substrate should be fully coated in what appears like white fur. This will take around two to four weeks. If the substrate is colonized, you can transfer the tray into a dark and cool area. The basement can be a good choice for it.
Step 6: Management
1) If you ever notice any dark spots of green or brown like you might have seen on bread, remove these areas from your substrate. And throw them out. Over the substrate a handful of potting soil and make the mixture with sufficient water to damp it evenly.
2) You can put a damp towel over the pan to prevent moisture loss if desired. You can also try to hold a low-heat bulb above or nearby the pan. This stimulates the sunlight which will help the mushrooms orient themselves and grow up and making them easier to be harvested.
3) The mixture should be kept moist and cool as the mushroom grow. The mushrooms should be examined occasionally. If necessary, water needs to be sprayed onto them.
4) The mushrooms will prefer a cool environment but the key is just not to let them get in too hot. If the environment is below 21 degrees Celsius, then your mushrooms will grow well.
Managing mushrooms during the growth period are a very important factor in growing mushrooms. It will decide whether it will give a good yield or not.
So, the important points to remember while managing the mushrooms are:
1) Good relative humidity
2) Temperature below 21 degree Celsius
How To Harvest Mushrooms?
You can see tiny mushrooms emerging in about three weeks. You have to keep their surroundings damp, cool, and darkened place to promote growth. If the mushroom caps are separated from their stems, they are ready to harvest.
You can pick up the mushrooms using your fingertips. Although there is a chance of destroying the newly formed fungi below the soil surface.
Alternatively, you can cut the base of the stem of the mushrooms using a sharp knife. you have to clean the mushrooms before cooking or eating because it’s very important.
You can store those harvested mushrooms in a paper bag in a refrigerator for up to a week.
What Are The Pest And Diseases of Mushroom?
Some of the common pest and disease of mushrooms are
Insect pest: Few insect pests attack the mushrooms. Tiny larvae of bees, bugs, springtails are also often seen. Under the management of these pests, absolute cleanliness is a must to prevent the infestation of insect pests in mushroom sets.
Diseases: some of the common diseases of mushrooms are biotic factors like
4) Other environmental factors.
One of the most common diseases of mushrooms that we can even see with our naked eye is mold.
There are three types of mold:
• Olive green mold
• Green mold
• Black mold
The causes of these molds are from
1) Human handling
2) Lack of ventilation
3) Improper sterilization of straw
4) Bed preparation
5) Excess water contents in beds
To prevent this disease,
• sanitation and hygiene are the most important to do.
• One must use the mesh and all straw for bed preparation.
• the infected beds should be immediately removed and destroyed.
• Straw and bed preparation should be sterilized properly.
• Preparing beds with more than 70% moisture must be avoided.
Coffee Grinds For Oyster Mushrooms
Obtaining Coffee Grinds
As is mentioned before that oyster mushrooms can be grown from coffee grinds, so, obtaining the coffee grinds is the first step. Growing mushrooms from coffee grinds is a fun project which helps to use up coffee grinds that would otherwise go to waste. Coffee grinds are a fantastic medium for mushrooms. As they are already sterilized due to the coffee brewing process. For 500 mushroom spawns you’ll need 2.5kg of coffee grinds.
Container for the Mushrooms
The best thing to use is the filter patch grow bag which can usually be purchased along with the mushrooms spawn or you can use a large sealable freezer bag or sterilized milk carton.
Transfer The Spawn Into The Container
Wash your hand thoroughly with antibacterial soap and mix the mushroom spawns with the coffee grinds. Breaking them up with two hands to ensure that they are evenly distributed. Before sealing tightly, place the sterilized coffee grinds in a plastic bag or container.
Place The Mushrooms In The Right Spot
Place the bag or bottle in a warm dark place between 64–77 degrees Fahrenheit or 18–25 degrees Celsius such as a cupboard or under a sink. Leave it here for around 2-4 weeks or before it turns white. This was attributed to the invasion of mycelium in the coffee grinds. Again, remove any dark patches of green or brown from the colonizing substrate.
Relocate The Mushrooms
Once the bag or container content is turned completely white, move it into a bright area, not into direct sunlight, and cut 2 by 2 inches hole at the top. Mix the contents of the container with water twice daily to prevent it from drying out. The mushrooms won’t grow into too dry conditions.
Harvesting The Mushrooms
Within the next five to seven days, tiny mushrooms will begin to sprout (pinhead). Continue to mix them with water and they should double in size each day. When the cap of the mushrooms started to turn slightly upwards, they are ready to harvest.
How Many Times Can We Harvest The Mushrooms?
The mushrooms will continue to grow from the medium for two to four months depending on how large the area is. As long as the medium contains the required amount of nutrients, it will keep growing. After that, make a new batch and start all over.