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How To Grow Gourmet Mushrooms At Home [Video]

Affiliate Disclosure | in Crafts | by | with 25 Comments

how to grow mushrooms at home

photo taken by Daniel Dessinger

Sticker Shock, Anyone?

Daddypotamus snapped this pic when we were at Whole Foods the other day, and all I can say is wooooow. Though I’m sure those are some mighty tasty mushrooms – probably gathered at the foot of a waterfall where unicorns graze or something – the fact is I flat cannot justify paying $30/pound for them. Okay, maybe i could buy one.

Here’s the thing, though: Mushrooms are incredibly rich in a an amino acid called ergothioneine, which is a potent antioxidant often used in “anti-aging” skin creams. They’re also rich in selenium, an essential mineral needed in order to detoxify harmful substances such as arsenic and fluoride. Add in the B vitamins, natural vitamin D2, potassium and pantothenic acid for optimal hormone function, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to indulge.

Fortunately, according to Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain you can grow your own at home for as little as $2/pound! I recently “met” Tradd after reading through the list of speakers for the Organic Grower’s School Permaculture Conference in North Carolina next month. I’m seriously hoping a few of you will be able to make it for a real-life meet up, but for those that can’t I thought it would be fun to bring a little piece of the conference to you.

Below are a few techniques Tradd has been kind enough to share with me. You are going to LOVE how easy and fun they are!

How To Grow Gourmet Mushrooms At Home

Log & Stump Method

If you have trouble locating freshly cut logs for this method, I recommend calling a tree trimmer and asking if he will set some aside for you!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You will need:

  • Logs, 6-7 inches in diameter and about 3 feet long. Oak is best, followed by sweetgum, maple, and poplar. After that, any deciduous hardwood is about the same. Must be cut from a living tree no more than 1 month prior to beginning your project. If using the stump method, you’ll need a freshly cut stump :)
  • 5/16 drill bit (and a drill)
  • Wax – I melted  3/4 cup grated beeswax with 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil in a double boiler. Wax can sometimes crack as it dries so the coconut oil helps preserve the seal
  • Plug spawn (and the courage to walk around saying spawn)

Step 2: Inoculate Your Log/Tree Stump

Basically, this is planting your mushroom “seed.” According to Tradd, the log should be inoculated within 6 weeks of being felled. It needs to be dry on the outside, free of dirt. Lichens and moss are OK. If your log was cut 0-3 weeks prior to inoculation no action is needed, but if it was cut 3-6 weeks before it should be soaked in non-chlorinated water for 12 hours prior to inoculation. To get started:

  1. Melt wax and coconut oil in a double boiler
  2. Drill 1.5 inch holes about 6 inches apart across the width of the log (from end to end)
  3. Turn the log on it’s side slightly and repeat the process 2-3 inches away from the first set of holes using a diagonal pattern. (see a diagram from Mushroom Mountain here)
  4. Place plug spawn into the holes and tap them into place with a hammer.
  5. Brush a thin layer of melted wax over the hole to keep the mycelium from drying out.
  6. Store the log upright out of direct sunlight.

Download written instructions with diagrams from Mushroom Mountain here.

Step 3: Caring For Your Mushroom Log

Click here for a handout on care instructions, plus how to “trick” your mushroom log into fruiting more often by simulating the beginning of winter.

Recycled Coffee Ground Method (Indoor)

Apologies for the video quality!

There are two basic ways to do this:

  1. Place your coffee grounds (filter included) in a jar every day and sprinkle a little mushroom spawn in each time
  2. Ask a local coffee shop for their grounds and mix up a big batch at one time (you’ll need about 5.5 pounds of grounds per 500 grams of mushroom spawn)

Store your mushroom jar in a cabinet until it the jar is filled with white mycelium or it starts to fruit, then move it to a place with indirect sunlight/fluorescent light and mist 2-3 times a day to encourage growth. When the edges of the caps start to turn upwards, cut at the base of the stems and sautee!

What’s Next?

I have a few suggestions! Leave a comment below just to say hello, check out the FAQ’s on mushroom growing that Tradd covered earlier this week, or plan your quest to capture a unicorn by the waterfall where the $29.99/pound mushrooms grow.


Photo Credit: shiitake mushroom log photo by sillydog via Compfight cc

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25 Responses to How To Grow Gourmet Mushrooms At Home [Video]

  1. Cathy S says:

    Wow! You have such a GREAT daughter/helper! This will be my next project. As soon as I figure out where I have a dark cabinet that I can easily get to…

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, she is awesome! I am not even sure a dark cabinet is needed. A closet or something would probably work just fine. Our mycelium are already visible and we only shot this video over the weekend – so fun!

  2. Tanya says:

    I was wondering where you can get the spawns from? Also when you cut some to cook do they keep growing or do you have to replant? Do you know what temp they like?

  3. Martyn says:

    The mushrooms, at the prices of which you are aghast, are true, wild mushrooms that some intrepid soul foraged whilst slogging through the wood and field. For sundry reasons biologic, they are not the ones that you can raise. The ones you can raise, such as shiitake, the various oyster, garden giants, and the like, and the spawn of which you can buy either in prepared kits or in a form that takes a little more work are often marketed as wild but in reality are domesticated and are readily available from vendors throughout the country. They are the mushrooms that decompose cellulose; they are not mycorrhizal or parasitic. I have raised oyster mushrooms on top of my fridge. See North American Mycological Association’s (NAMA) website, which amongst other information, has a section on cultivation. Also various local mycological societies often offer classes or have sections on cultivating mushrooms indoors and in your garden. These societies often have mushroom fairs for the public.

  4. Soni a says:

    Awesome! I simply cannot justify the price for mushrooms either, though I love, love to eat them! Great post!

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    […] to help me forage for them. But now I don’t need either of these things because we can all grow our own. […]

  7. Karen says:

    I wonder if mesquite trees would work. That’s about all we have here in Arizona. Hmmm.

  8. Jeanmarie says:

    Adorable video! One thing, I’ve always heard/read of mushroom spores, not spawn. Salmon have spawn.

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  13. Gudrun B says:

    i am so waiting for updates on the mushroom projects!!!!! :)

    by the way i just love your little helpers, Katie and the hammer-thief!
    i think you are a great mom!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. Mike says:

    Thanks for a great info, did happen to come across for supplies though!

  17. Rosemary Arnold says:

    Do you know if they would have Matzutake ( Pine Mushrooms ) – probably not spelled correctly but I tried to do it phonetically. These are excellent, very large and grow in sandy soil near pine trees – I use to forage for them, just outside of Jasper Park on the BC side. A very arromatic, dense mushroom.

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  19. Michelle S. Hawkins says:

    Do you have an update on how the mushrooms turned out?

    • Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support says:

      Michelle, unfortunately Heather recently bought a farm and she accidentally killed them during the moving process :/

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  21. Patrick Harvey says:

    Just wanted to mention that it isn’t quite possible to grow ANY mushroom at home (as the link here mentioned), but many you find in the stores fresh can be grown at home. Sadly, if you want to grow most types of morels, chanterelles, or porcini (king boletes) you will be disappointed.

    That being said, Tradd Cotter is a great guy & really knows mushrooms. If you get a chance, ask him about his handcrafted mushroom beers!

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