Homegrown Mushrooms

Growing Mushrooms at Home

Mushrooms, a delicious and capricious food we see pop up randomly outdoors, love to eat, but are a little worried to forage for, as it’s best to be sure you don’t munch a toxic one. Apart from buying them in a store, or taking a mushroom hunting expedition with an expert, there is another option – grow your own!

You may feel that being such an odd creature the mushroom is something mysterious to grow, but learn a little about what they need and you may have your own delish harvest which, it has been said, tastes way better homegrown, as you get to eat them at their freshest. Not only that, but because you can grow them indoors, you don’t have to have a big garden to enjoy this treat.

Mushrooms are nutritious, low in calories and also hit that umami spot with both their meaty texture and deep flavour, containing about 2 grams of protein in a small serving. They’re rich in potassium and important B vitamins, as well as selenium, a nutrient normally found in meat that veggies and vegans need too. Not only that, they have been found to have fantastic benefits for the immune system.


Mushrooms are fungi that have most of their existence under the earth in the form of mycelium, a network of fibres that can penetrate wood and organic matter using powerful enzymes. The mushrooms we harvest are in fact the fruits that pop out into the open to release spores from their gills as part of their reproductive cycle. They do this when they are under threat or run out of food. They’re invaluable to the eco system as they are instrumental in breaking down organic matter in the decomposition cycle.


It’s easiest to start off your mushroom growing career with a home kit to get the feel of it. You can end up using the mushroom mycelium from your kit to start your own outdoor colonies later though. There are many delicious varieties of mushrooms, but some need to be collected in the wild as they cannot be cultivated.

Easier varieties to try at home would be:

• Oysters
• Shiitake
• Portabellas and white button mushrooms


Cultivating mushrooms involves getting hold of the spore or spawn from a dealer and inoculating it into your growing medium. Spores are like the seeds and spawn like seedlings. It’s easier to start off with spawn if you are inexperienced.

For simplicities sake, we’ll take a look at cultivating one of the easier mushies indoors – the Oyster mushroom. This a delectable mushroom with a mild taste, with tougher stems but a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture towards the gills. The basic principles would be the same for the other cultivars mentioned here.


• Oyster mushrooms grow on sterilized straw and sawdust
• Another medium that will appeal to you greenies out there is using recycled coffee grounds (they have already been through a pasteurization process and are packed with nutrients)
• Spores can also be inoculated into outdoor logs such as freshly cut hardwood logs. This method is a little more dicey and can take longer to bear fruit.


Mushrooms really need a sterile environment to grow and not go mouldy. To make sure your straw is sterile, dampen it and then pop it in the microwave or oven for a few minutes (do not leave unattended and beware of fire!). Before you work with your spores or spawn be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, all the way up to your elbows. Also make sure that any containers you use, such as old milk or ice-cream cartons are well cleansed with soap and water.


Containers such as cardboard milk cartons, ice-cream tubs including the lid, or a container bag specially sold for cultivation will do the trick. Milk cartons are good as oysters like to sprout from a vertical perspective as if they were on a tree.


In a clean bowl, mix your spawn into your growing medium – sawdust or coffee grounds, then pack it into the container or bag and seal. A recommended ratio is 500g of oyster mushroom spawn to each 2.5kg of spent coffee grounds or sawdust.


Keep your spawn in a warm, dark place, such as cupboard or under a bed, and over 3 weeks you’ll see it spawning in the growing medium, turning the mixture white if you used coffee grounds. If you find the contents have gone green, you’ll need to throw out and start again as it means it’s gone mouldy (that’s why you need to be so fussy with hygiene from the start).


Cut 4 x 5mm holes in the sides of your container for the mushies to sprout out of. Place them on a windowsill or somewhere with fresh air and a shady spot with a little light (not direct sunlight). Spray the cut opening area twice a day – they love humidity so keep it nicely moistened.

It should take another week for little baby mushrooms to appear, and grow a little each day into specimens you will be able to harvest for some delectable cuisine. With Oyster mushrooms, when the edge of the cap starts turning in, you can cut it off at the base of the stem to harvest. Use a knife to cut them off and keep the mushrooms in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week.

The Mushroom Factory - Oyster Mushroom Kit

Growing your own mushrooms is a truly extraordinary and satisfying experience and the fruits of your fun are delicious and nutritious. A Mushroom Factory also makes a great gift idea. To maintain your mushroom factory, all you have to do is add water, a bit of light, and love.

Check out our Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms Kit as an easy way to get started. Why not surprise a green-fingered loved one or the resident gourmet chef in your life with the gift of something a little more unusual to grow?

(Sources: MotherEarthNews.com and GrowVeg.com)

  • Alex Harris
    Posted at 15:12h, 18 January Reply

    Wow! Great post, It gave me several ideas that I will surely put into practice. Thank you.^^

  • Clyde Larson
    Posted at 15:48h, 23 February Reply

    I have been thinking about this for a long time because im a big fan of this magic mushrooms because of its medicinal properties. I’ve been reading this article about growing mushroom here in https://www.trufflemagic.com/blog/how-to-grow-magic-mushrooms-in-three-months/ but i wanted to hear your thoughts or your ideas here. Anyone who can give me any advice would be gladly appreciated 😀

  • sandile
    Posted at 11:43h, 24 December Reply

    Good day

    I need to know something about growing oyster mushrooms on wheat straw .

    What is the quantity of alfalfa supplement must I add on my 500 kg wheat straw substrate to increase the nitrogen level of my substrate to about 2% and how do I add this to the substrate. Lastly. Is there any meter orethod I can use to check the levels of this nitrogen.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Kind regards


  • Dalene BRAND
    Posted at 12:49h, 16 September Reply

    Love the post! Where will I be able to buy ‘Portabella mushroom in a box’ to start growing?

  • Hansary kumar
    Posted at 00:27h, 20 January Reply

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