Nothing is as satisfying as growing your own food. The good news is that you don’t even need an allotment to grow your own mushrooms: just a corner in your kitchen (or bathroom) will do.
My Experiment with Growing Mushrooms at Home
There are some advantages in living in a North-facing flat: there’s hardly any proper natural light, which is great news if you want to grow mushrooms.
Mushrooms require a dark environment, not too cold and not too warm, and must be spritzed with water regularly to help them grow.
It took me approximately 3 weeks to see the first mushrooms emerge from the compost and by week 4 they were almost ready to eat. The mushroom growing kit I used contains chestnut mushroom spawn (Agaricus Bisporus), compost and a tray.
Picture credits: Paola Bassanese
Week 1: Preparation
In the first week you prepare the conditions to help mushrooms grow. In a mushroom growing kit you will find a substrate with mushroom spawn and some compost. The instructions say to cover the mushroom spawn with the compost without patting down, spray it with water and keep the kit in its box. You should avoid direct light and any draughts. Ideal temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius.
Week 2: Nothing Happens
You will probably despair on week 2 as you won’t see much going on. You’ll just need to be patient and keep spraying the mushrooms with water. It’s best to keep the kit in its box to maintain a dark environment.
Week 3: First Mushrooms Emerge
By week 3 you should notice some tiny white dots, similar to polystyrene. You may keep the mushroom growing kit uncovered at this point as long as it’s in a dark corner. However, you will notice that the compost will dry up quicker so you may want to keep the kit in its box to maintain the moisture levels.
Week 4: Mushrooms Are Almost Ready to Eat
By week 4 your home-grown mushrooms should be about 1 inch tall. Some will be much smaller, so it’s best to wait at least another week for your first crop.
You might get 2-3 crops per mushroom kit.
Because it takes about a month to grow mushrooms from one kit, I would suggest to get about 4 kits and stagger them so that you get continuous crops.