Growing Mushrooms in Containers
Two months from now you can be harvesting a fresh, inexpensive crop of shiitake mushrooms. That is if you plant them now in a container. Oyster and button mushrooms can also easily be grown in containers as well. Follow these easy planting and growing instructions and get started growing your own organic mushrooms today.
Any container that is 8-12 inches deep will work fine for growing mushrooms. Select a container size that will fit into the selected growing location. Since mushrooms are grown in the dark, location choice is crucial.
Select a location that will be dark at least 90 percent of the time and where the temperature can be controlled. An unused room or unused closet are ideal locations. Small containers of mushrooms can be grown in unused kitchen or bathroom cabinets.
Each variety of mushroom has its own preferred growing medium. Shiitake mushrooms grow best in sawdust or a piece of old log. Oyster mushroom prefer to grow in straw and button mushrooms like well-rotted manure. The growing medium has to be able to hold moisture without staying soggy. Select the right growing medium for the variety of mushroom you wish to grow.
After selecting the all the components, it’s time to fill the container with the selected growing medium, water it thoroughly and heat it to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the filled container in a room that will be consistently above 70 degrees for two days, or place the container on a heating pad overnight. The growing medium will need to be kept at 70 degrees for the first 3 weeks after planting mushrooms.
Mushrooms do not have seeds, but rather are grown from spores. The spores are miniscule and look like dust particles to the naked eye, so spawn plugs, which contain spores, are what you will be planting. Place the spawn plugs into the surface of the material. Keep everything warm, and you should start to see fungus filaments spreading from the spawn plugs into your growing material. They look like fine strands of cotton. It takes about 3 weeks to get to this point of germination. After germination, bring the temperature down to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a little potting soil around the spawn plugs, and keep everything moist and in the dark. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the container to help keep the moisture in, but don’t seal it up tightly, the growing mushrooms need air.
The work is over, all that’s needed now is occasional spritzing of water from a spray bottle and a little fresh air, and the mushrooms will grow nicely on their own. Mushrooms will be ready to harvest in 8-10 weeks.