HOW TO GROW MUSHROOMS
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Although it sounds a lot worse that they taste, mushrooms are in fact from the family of plants known as fungi and this sets them apart form the other foods that we eat. What makes them different is this. Uunlike all other vegetables and fruit you will eat, mushrooms grow from microscopic spores and not seeds. Where a single fruit could could produce as many as a dozen seeds or so, a mature mushroom will drop as many as 16 billion spores.
Because mushrooms have no chlorophyll, they must get all their nutrients from organic matter in their growing medium. This medium, is scientifically formulated of various materials such as straw, corn cobs, cotton seed and cocoa seed hulls, gypsum and nitrogen supplements. Preparing the compost takes one to two weeks. Then it’s pasteurized - heat treated and placed in large trays or beds. Next the spawn is worked into the compost and the growing takes place in specially constructed environment where the growers can regulate the crucial aspects of heat and humidity.
Each crop is harvested over a period of several weeks and then the whole area is emptied of mushrooms and medium/compost is steam-sterilized before the process begins again. The remaining compost is recycled for potting soil. The harvested mushrooms are set in carts, refrigerated and then packaged and shipped quickly to supermarkets, food processors and restaurants. The entire process from the time the grower starts preparing the compost until the mushrooms are harvested and shipped to market takes about four months.
How to grow mushrooms at home
Button mushrooms are one of the most commonly consumed mushrooms in the world and probably the best variety to try and grow at home. While they are the easy to find in your local supermarket, home grown mushrooms always taste better.
In order to start growing mushrooms at home you will need:
1. A 2ft x 3ft growing tray which is aproximately 6-8 inches deep.
2. Compost - Mushroom Compost is made from a mix of well rotted materials such as hay, straw, straw horse bedding, poultry litter, cottonseed meal, cocoa shells and gypsum. Sphagnum moss peat is then added to this so as to provide a consistent product. Be in mind that it may well be easier to buy some pre-made!
3. Mushroom spawn - this can be bought on-line or from good plant retailors.
4. Peat moss
5. A piece of wood or flat object
6. A water mister
7. Some old newspapers
Next, take 1 to 2 cups of the dry button mushroom spawn flakes and mix it into the compost. You’ll need to loosen the mixture and put it into loose piles in the tray. With a piece of wood or something flat press the compost and spawn mixture into the tray. Now let it set over night.
Keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 weeks, misting daily with your spray bottle.
Once you see white webbing on the surface of the soil you’ll need to apply a 1 ½ inch layer of moist peat moss and cover with a few layers of newspapers. The newspaper must be kept moist. Continue to evenly spray the newspaper twice daily. Maintain a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 10 days remove the newspaper and continue to mist twice daily. In a few days you’ll see tiny white pinheads sprouting.
Once the button mushrooms reach your desired size you can pick them and new mushrooms will grow in 10 to 14 days. You’ll have an endless supply for 3 to 6 months using this method and then you’ll need to start the process again from step one.
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Based on an article by http://www.howtogrowmushrooms.org/how-to-grow-button-mushrooms/ and http://mushroominfo.com/growing-mushrooms/
Photo care of http://jasmoonbutterfly.blogspot.com/2010/12/fairy-ring-myth-and-science.html and http://www.mushroom-growing.co.uk/mushroom-growing-spawn.html