Baby shroom

A couple of weeks before Christmas I bought a mushroom kit in the local DIY store and started growing my own mushrooms. It’s amazingly simple, as fungi seem to prefer neglect to interaction, at least to start with.

They’re ordinary white capped mushrooms, and in the kit I got a deep polystyrene tray which is what they live in, some composty sort of things, limited instructions and 4 toothpicks.

To start with, you mix and soak the composty things. Then you lay them out in the tray, stick the lid on and forget about it. What’s happening now is that the mycelium (basically what mushrooms use for roots) are growing through the compost. After a while you get this white fluffy stuff appearing on the compost, and that’s the mycelium. When it’s covered the whole surface, you stick the toothpicks into the corners of the tray to hold the lid up slightly, and start spritzing the surface with water a couple of times a day to keep it moist.

A couple of weeks later, little mushrooms appear. And then they grow! They pretty much double in size in 24 hours, so they grow really fast. And when you want to eat them you twist them out and take them to the kitchen. You can’t get much fresher than that.

The mushrooms are supposed to grow in waves, with pauses in between. I wouldn’t know. I stupidly started my kit a couple of weeks before we went on holiday at Christmas, and so I had to find someone to mushroom sit while I was away. Now she says that she got a couple of good crops of mushrooms while I was in Morocco, but since I got back they’re not doing a lot. Maybe they’re depressed because I abandoned them.

Sooo… after plenty of spritzing to moisten the compost (which had dried out somewhat) I put them in a clear plastic bag to give them a humid atmosphere, and that seems to have helped. But there’s still no mushrooms growing. But now I think I might have cut out too much light, so I’ve left the lid half off today to see if that will encourage them.

Information on mushroom growing is rather scant on the internet (unless you want to know how to grow magic mushrooms, which I don’t), so I’m flying blind. But hopefully it will turn out OK.

If you want to grow your own mushrooms, check out Suttons’ range of mushroom kits.