Growing white button mushrooms is a great project for novice gardeners because the spores grow quickly and easily. Button mushrooms can be grown indoors so you can grow them at any time of the year. To grow button mushrooms, all you need is the right equipment and a little patience.
Part 1 of 3: Setting Up the Grow Tray
Step 1. Consider buying a full package of mushrooms if this is your first time growing them
Mushroom packages usually contain all the ingredients needed to grow mushrooms and are great for beginners. The contents usually consist of manure, substrate, tray, and a spray bottle for watering the mushrooms.
- Mushroom packages tend to have specific directions that differ from traditional mushroom growing methods. Make sure you read the packaging carefully and follow the directions.
- Some packages come pre-packaged with spores for growing certain types of fungi, while others just contain a tray and suitable substrate.
Step 2. Buy a large tray for growing mushrooms
Select a 35x40 cm tray with a minimum depth of 15 cm. To start, plant in just one tray. This one tray will continue to produce mushrooms for the next 3-6 months.
- Trays can be made of plastic, metal, or wood, depending on what is available in your home.
- As you become a more experienced grower, you can plant in multiple trays at once and have an almost continuous supply of mushrooms.
Step 3. Make a mixture of compost and manure in equal proportions
Button mushrooms need a growing environment that contains a lot of nitrogen. Use homemade compost and buy manure-such as that from horse or cow manure-from the store. Or buy both if you don't have compost.
- If you plan to grow a lot of mushrooms, make this mixture in a large bucket and cover the rest after use. Otherwise, only mix as much as needed to fill a full tray.
- A mixture of manure and compost will give off a sharp aroma. So, make it in a well-ventilated area.
Step 4. Fill the tray with 15 cm of planting media mix
Carefully pour the mixture into the tray and leave about 2.5 cm of space at the top of the tray. Make sure the soil is level and spread out thoroughly on the tray.
White button mushrooms tend to grow well in warm compost. So, don't worry if the compost is still hot when you put it in the tray
Part 2 of 3: Cultivating Mycelium
Step 1. Purchase ready-to-plant spores from the internet or nursery
For easy growing mushrooms, buy spores that have been inoculated or mixed with a substrate, such as soil, straw, or sawdust. Button mushrooms are very common and are widely available in online marketplaces and can even be found at your local nursery.
If possible, buy mushroom seeds from experienced growers. These seeds have a greater chance of producing mold
Step 2. Spread the spores over the compost and spray with water
Since the seeds are already processed, you can sow them directly on top of the compost mixture. Sprinkle evenly over the entire surface of the substrate so that the fungus grows in all parts of the soil.
Fungi like to grow in a humid environment. So, even if the manure and compost are wet, spray the soil thoroughly with water
Step 3. Place the tray on a heating pad to raise the temperature to 20 °C
Place the tray directly on a heating pad that is switched on and plugged in, and has a temperature control knob. Insert the thermometer into the soil to monitor the temperature as it rises.
Do not heat the soil more than 20 °C because the spores may die before growing
Step 4. Move the tray to a dark room and spray it with water 2 times a day
Mold will grow well in dark places, such as cellars, basements, garages, and even closets. During the day, check the temperature and humidity of the soil to make sure it's not too warm or dry. Spray the soil with water thoroughly 2 times a day.
If the soil is often warm, lower the temperature of the heating pad and keep a close eye on the thermometer
Step 5. Lower the temperature to 10 °C when thin thread roots have formed
After 3-4 weeks, the top soil layer will be full of tiny white roots called mycelium. When the soil is completely covered with mycelium, lower the temperature to encourage the growth of the first fungi.
Some areas on the tray may form mycelium early, while others may take up to a full month. Be patient during the process and wait for all the colonies to form to lower the temperature
Part 3 of 3: Growing Mycelium Into Mushrooms
Step 1. Cover the mycelium with 2.5 cm thick ready-to-plant soil
When the temperature drops, spread a layer of regular ready-to-plant soil over the newly formed roots. This layer will protect the fragile mycelium and provide nutrients for the new fungus as it grows later.
You can buy ready-to-plant soil at some hardware or gardening stores
Step 2. Spray the soil daily and cover the tray with a damp cloth
For mold to grow, the environment must always be moist. In addition to spraying the soil with water, cover a damp cloth over the tray to release the water into the soil throughout the day.
- If you don't have a cloth to cover the tray, spread a layer of damp newspaper on top of the soil. Once mold begins to grow, throw away the newspaper.
- Keep the cloth damp by spraying it on, or just soak it under running water for a few seconds.
Step 3. Wait 3-4 weeks for the fungus to grow from the soil
About a month after the soil is ready for planting, the first mushrooms will grow. Allow the mushrooms to fully mature before harvesting them to eat.
Once the mold has started to form, continue spraying the soil. Spores on one tray can produce mold for 3-6 months from first growth
Step 4. Harvest the mushrooms once the umbrella is open
Once the mushrooms grow up, the umbrella will open. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem just below the point where the umbrella and stem meet. Some planters prefer to twist the mushroom umbrellas so they don't have to cut the stems.