How to grow mushrooms at home


Unfortunately, we cannot grow mushrooms from seeds. Mushrooms reproduce through mycelium, a root network of cells. When the conditions where mushrooms live get worse, they release spores that spread through the wind. When the spores find a better environment, they begin to grow new mushrooms. In this article we will share with you how it is possible to grow mushrooms for real.

General procedure

First, you must buy spores. However, these do not contain any chlorophyll necessary for germination, which means that you need to provide a special substrate to achieve healthy growth. Depending on the type of mushrooms you chose, the proper soil substrate may contain wood chips, coffee beans, sawdust, plaster, cardboard or straw. You mix these nutrients with the spores to get a mixture which acts as sort of starter for mushroom mycelium growth.

Choose the correct mushroom variety

First, you should decide what kind of mushrooms you want to grow. White mushrooms (champignon mushrooms), oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms are the most suitable varieties to start with. Each of them needs a different growing substrate. For example:

  • Oyster mushroom grows best in coffee grounds or straw.
  • Shiitake thrives in sawdust.
  • White mushrooms grow best on a manure.

Grow mycelium

That is the first step and it will need one to three weeks to grow it. First, order a suitable starter culture, add it to a sterilized agar plate or nutritious water and keep it in a dark place at room temperature. As the mycelium grows, it colonizes the substrate. However, if you are a beginner, buy already injected mushroom mixture.

mushroomsPhoto: Pixabay

Preparation of fertile substrate

Do not forget to sterilize the substrate before cultivation. Place it in a microwave for two minutes to destroy all microbes that are dangerous to the mycelium. Then add a few teaspoons of gypsum and one cup of the mixture for 20 L of substrate and mix it in a sterilized plastic buckets with drilled holes. For a 10 L bucket, you need about 2 to 5 holes 2 centimetres in diameter. A great idea is to warm the substrate to help the mycelium to spread around.


Place the buckets with the substrate in a dark place for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the type of mushrooms you are growing. When the incubation period is over, you will notice that the substrate has been fully colonized, which means that the white mycelium has completely taken over the soil.

mushroomsPhoto: Pixabay


Once the mycelium forms small nodules and colonizes the substrate, the growing phase begins. This is the right time to move your buckets to a warm, well-ventilated, and moist location. If you want to avoid this process and save time, you can buy a mushroom “kit”, which is basically mycelium that has already colonized the substrate. In that case, you just need to wait for caps to develop. The only thing you need to take care of is to avoid overheating – keep the temperature between 18 and 21 °C. If the temperature falls below 15.5°C, your mushrooms will grow slowly or not at all.

Photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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