From Scratch or with a Kit: How to Grow Mushrooms Indoors at HomeDecember 7, 2023
By JESSICA DAMIANO (Associated Press) My late Uncle Pepe was an avid mushroom hunter, rising early on late-summer Saturdays, field guide in hand, to head to a local New York City park for his weekly forage. My Aunt Jenny would wash the hen-of-the-woods, turkey tail or other fungi free of soil and insects, and sauté them with hot peppers. More than 40 years later, I still find myself craving those mushrooms. Recently, I’ve been growing oyster mushrooms in a cardboard box on my kitchen counter. Within two or three weeks, I have a side-dish-size harvest with a second on the way. Now that’s the amateur way to grow mushrooms, something a 5-year-old can do blindfolded. It serves my purpose as a fun activity with an edible endgame. If you’re more serious about cultivating mushrooms than I am, it would be more productive and cost-effective to grow them from scratch. You’ll need a wooden, metal, or plastic box or tray that’s roughly 6 inches deep, a growing medium, and fungal spores. Store the spore-topped substrate away from direct sunlight at or close to 70 degrees. Mushrooms typically sprout, or “fruit,” within a week or two, then nearly double in size daily until they reach maturity. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut them at soil level to avoid disrupting nearby growth. As an old, bold mushroom grower, expect diminishing returns for the next few months until the substrate is depleted.