Button mushrooms are tasty and simple to grow
Have your ever thought growing button mushrooms might be a daunting process? Think again. There are many ways you can grow button mushrooms without too much effort if you have enough information to run with.
Many of us grow up watching parents or neighbors with green thumbs, picking vegetables like carrots, and tomatoes, but it is quite rare to see people grow button mushrooms.
- Genus: Button mushrooms
- Plant type: Agaricus bisporus
- Height: Up to 6 in (15.24 cm)
- Width: Up to 3.93 in (10 cm)
- Leaves: Agaricaceae
- Flowers: Edible basidiomycete
- Cotyledon: Stem of the stipe, cap (pileus)
- Propagation: Collected spore introduced into growing medium
- Water Requirement: Button mushrooms require a constantly moist environment. Ideally, water every day.
Some people grow mushrooms as a hobby in a corner at home while others grow mushrooms on a commercial scale. Growing mushrooms can actually be profitable, besides providing a healthy food for your family. Whatever your objective, after reading this post, you should have enough information to grow your own flavorful button mushrooms.
Grow your own delicious, healthy, button mushrooms.
Why grow button mushrooms?
They’re quite healthy to consume.
Button mushrooms contain essential proteins and amino acids. They contain adequate amounts of minerals, vitamins and fiber. Most button mushrooms contain ergocalciferol, which is vitamin D, required to process calcium for bone growth.
Button mushrooms contain copper, zinc, phosphorous, potassium and selenium (good for the heart and liver). They have most of the B-complex vitamins, including B-2 and B-6.
The most compelling factor is that button mushrooms are actually easy to grow once you get the hang of it. Once you know the basics, the right steps and technique, you can have a steady supply of your own hygienically cultivated edible button mushrooms. It will become just like growing any other vegetable or fruit.
Ready to grow button mushrooms with a simple yet easy process at home?
Let’s dig into how you can go about it.
How do button mushrooms grow?
Most mushrooms are easy to grow and do not require sunlight. You buy or make simple, and affordable kits to produce them. The common table mushrooms usually seen on market shelves are usually immature and white (they’re pleasant without any strong flavor). The more mature (brown) ones have a thick stem and more noticeable flavor. Those that have underneath the gills can be poisonous and need to be avoided.
Before we move ahead on how to grow button mushrooms, you have to learn how mushrooms grow. Mushrooms start growing from spores (instead of seeds). The spores are small enough that you cannot see them without magnification. Button mushrooms do not contain chlorophyll like plants, so they don’t absorb sunlight. They do require liquid for nourishment and a growing medium like wood chips or sawdust, to get started. Once spores begin to grow, they slowly consume the material they’re embedded in. A blend of spores is called spawn, and you can start with a batch according to your cultivation needs.
Preparation for growing button mushrooms
There are many reasons why button mushrooms are easy to grow, is that they do not need sunlight. They are excellent home dwellers. Here are a few simple steps to get you started growing button mushrooms at home or in a large humidity controlled shed.
Step 1: Select a good spot
Button mushrooms enjoy growing in spots that are dark and cool. You can select a location that is between 75°F to 85°F (23.8°C to 29.4°C). They need to be shielded from light or from any disturbance.
A crawlspace or a basement make for ideal spots to grow button mushrooms, but you can grow on a commercial scale in a lightly insulated greenhouse tunnel, shed, barn or warehouse. If you live in an apartment, then you can even pick a dark closet as well. There are even examples of people growing vast amounts of mushrooms in caves and in tunnels.
Step 2: Get supplies
Growing button mushrooms is of course, not the same as growing vegetables like peas or tomatoes. They require some supplies that you may not have readily available. So, prepare well in advance before diving in. You’ll need to put together a few materials:
- A box
- Garbage bags
- Composted manure
Step 3: Procure spawn
To get started, you’ll need spawn to grow button mushrooms. You can buy readymade spores from a nursery or online. Some nurseries provide spores which have been inoculated and pre-mixed with a substrate like hay, dirt, or sawdust. On a special note, don’t skimp on getting high-quality spawn, which can produce great, healthy button mushrooms.
Step 4: Inoculate button mushrooms
If you a novice and have never grown button mushrooms, then these steps may seem a bit strange. But once you get the hang of it, you will find it easy to get your mushrooms to thrive.
- First, line your box or carton with a garbage bag
- Next prepare your medium, a 50% mixture of vermiculite and manure
- Put aside 1.76 ounces (50 grams) of button mushroom spawn to start with
- Dampen the medium with a little bit of water without waterlogging it
- Snow-sprinkle button mushroom spawn into the mixture in the box
- Mix it into the top 4 inches (10.16 cm) of the moist medium
- Take 6 sheets of newspaper, spray each sheet lightly with water and layer the sheets on top of the medium containing the scattered spawn
- Cover the top of the box with a plastic bag and puncture with a few holes
Step 5: Control diseases and pests
- Dactylium: This is arachnoid mold or powdery mildew and looks like cottony, webbed growth on the surface of the mushroom casing. It appears as grey or pinkish. This need to be removed immediately if noticed; before it causes rot. The way to avoid this is to practice good sanitation by make sure the casing remains sanitized and clean.
- Verticillium spot: If you find a small spot on button mushrooms or deformed mushrooms, then you might have a verticillium spot. It is an infection that can cause deformation known as dry bubble and cover the mushroom with fuzzy, gray, growth. You can destroy the fungus by using salt near the bubble to dry them out.
Step 6: Harvest button mushrooms
When your button mushrooms have grown sufficiently, the cap pops open and you can prepare to harvest. Just twist the mushrooms out of the soil while holding the base of each, and that’s it.
You can also use a sharp knife to cut the stem just below the cap. The mushroom bed should continue to produce mushrooms for 4 to 7 months.
Ready to take the plunge and grow button mushrooms yourself? Don’t forget to check out our delicious mushroom based recipes, for when you’re ready to start cooking your own harvest.