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How to Grow Mushrooms

Mushrooms grow from spores, not seeds. You can grow this curious food indoors or out with a little preparation and the right supplies.


  • Step 1: Pick the right culture Pick the right culture spores for your skill level -- oyster and button mushrooms are the easiest to grow, while shiitake and morel mushrooms can be difficult.
  • TIP: Search online for the different types of spores and their difficulties.
  • Step 2: Choose a growing area Choose a growing area that is cool, dark, and free from pests that may eat or contaminate your mushroom farm.
  • TIP: The best growing areas are basements or crawl spaces.
  • Step 3: Apply soil Spread a dark, nutrient-rich soil evenly over a level growing bed to a thickness of about 2 inches.
  • Step 4: Sterilize substrate Sterilize your substrate by soaking it in hot water or putting it in a pressure cooker to kill undesirable fungi and bacteria that can ruin your mushroom batch.
  • TIP: Different species of mushrooms thrive on different substrates, like straw, compost, wood chips, sawdust, newspaper, or cardboard.
  • Step 5: Apply substrate Apply the appropriate substrate or growing medium over your soil to feed your hungry mushroom spores.
  • Step 6: Implant spores Implant or inoculate the substrate with your mushroom spores and fine tune the temperature and humidity levels based on the species.
  • TIP: Some varieties require higher humidity than others. You may need a humidity tent to increase humidity levels.
  • Step 7: Look for sprouts Look for sprouting, or "pinning," after about three weeks. The mushrooms will be ready for harvesting in as little as one month.
  • FACT: A fungus colony discovered in Northern Oregon may be the largest single organism in the world, covering over 2,300 square acres -- that's about 1,665 football fields.

You Will Need

  • Mushroom spores
  • Growing area
  • Nutrient-rich soil
  • Growing bed
  • Substrate
  • Hot water or pressure cooker
  • Temperature and humidity control
  • Basement or crawl space (optional)
  • Humidity tent (optional)

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