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Most gardeners know that growing mushrooms is much different than growing other vegetable plants. The reason is that mushrooms are the fungus, not a green plant. Because they don’t contain chlorophyll, mushrooms don’t make their own food source from the sun bunt instead depend on plant material like straw and bark for nutrition.

To get an idea of how to grow mushrooms, this knowledge will help you get started. Mushroom growing is fairly basic, but it’s important to understand the life cycle and needs of mushrooms.

Understanding Mushroom Cycles

Mushrooms are actually the fruiting bodies of fungi known as mycelium. They develop in underground colonies and develop fruiting structures that we know as mushrooms. To grow mushrooms, you have to introduce the “mycelia spawn” to a growing medium to start the life cycle.

The substrate is the common term for the growing medium of the mushrooms. You can also think of this as being the food for the mushrooms. Most common substrates are logs, wood chips, sawdust, compost, straw, bark, and hay. There are many edible mushrooms that grow on trees, and you’ve probably seen mushrooms in on these substrates.

Finally, spawn is the fungi mycelia that have to be introduced to the substrate. You’ll have to purchase spawn from a gardening store or company if you plan on growing your own at home.

Getting Started

In order to grow mushrooms, you’ll start by choosing your fungus. The most common choices are the white button, portobello, shiitake, and lion’s mane although you can certainly plant your favorite as well.

If you want to know how to grow chanterelle mushrooms, for example, you can still use this information although you may need to change your methods slightly. Chanterelle mushrooms require low nitrogen levels in the soil, a low pH, and good drainage so they may be challenging if you’re not familiar with gardening. However, start by choosing one or more varieties of mushrooms that you prefer.

Next, choose your growing medium. You have the choice between a kit, a hardwood log, or wood chips and sawdust or other basic growing medium.

Mushroom Kits

The kit is the easiest option available and contains both the spawn and the substrate. All you need to do is water the kit and keep it in a humid environment. You’ll start seeing growth in just a few weeks, and many kits have a good yield. Each kit will have some specific instructions so follow them.

Log Growth

Mushrooms like shiitake which are used to growing on wood, do well on hardwood logs. Birch, oak, willow, and beech logs are all good options. You can purchase logs from a carpentry shop or use what you have handy. Purchase the desired type of spawn, and they’ll come in the form of dowels. Drill holes in the logs a few inches deep. Then place the spawn containing dowels into the holes and cover them with was. Water the log and keep it in a humid location.

Depending on the variety, you’ll have to wait a few months to start seeing mushrooms. In suitable conditions, the mycelium will grow in the hardwood, and you’ll start seeing small pinheads on the top of the wood. Harvest the full mushrooms when they start to appear.shiitake mushrooms

Wood Chips

Wood chips are a popular substrate for growing edible mushrooms outdoors. You can also choose straw, sawdust or the other substrates mentioned as desired. Start by digging a trench that’s approximately one foot deep. Lay newspapers at the bottom of the trench and then spread a layer of wood chips, about two inches.

Next, add about half of the spawn on the wood chips and cover with two inches of wood chips or sawdust. Add the additional spawn and cover with wood chips and straw. Tamp the layers so that they make contact and water constantly to keep the layers moist. With this option, you can expect to see mushrooms in four months if the humidity is optimal.


Growing mushrooms can be a passion for many people. Not only is it enjoyable to plant mushrooms, but they’re also fairly easy to grow after you learn the basics and produce high yields. Mushrooms are one of the delicacies of the culinary world, and home-grown ones produce a rich, fresh flavor. Use these instructions to get started.

Author Bio: Hi! This is Ella Wilson, the founder of TinyPlantation.com. Being a devotee with plants and gardens, you will find numerous things with me. I have developed enough interest regarding plants that these things do not bore me anymore; instead this has become my passion.

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