A SHROOM OF YOUR OWN
Good Organic Gardening|Good Organic Gardening 12.4
IF YOU’VE BEEN LEFT IN THE DARK ON HOW TO GROW MUSHROOMS, LET US ENLIGHTEN YOU
Chloe Thomson

Mushrooms belong to the fungi kingdom. Neither plant nor animal, they are nonetheless truly fascinating and their lifecycle sounds like something from a sci-fi movie.

The mushrooms we eat are actually the fruiting bodies of a mycelium that grows on a substrate such as straw, sawdust, logs or even used coffee grounds.

The growing mycelium slowly colonises and consumes the substrate before the fruiting bodies, or mushrooms, emerge from the mycelium. Once mature, the mushrooms release spores that land on the substrate and begin the cycle again.

(If you’d like to read about this in more detail, the book Milkwood by Australian permaculture experts Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar has a whole chapter on mushroom cultivation, including a detailed run-through of the mushroom lifecycle.)

Mushroom foraging can be fun and rewarding, but only if you know 100 per cent what you are picking and eating. Far too many people are poisoned each year after eating misidentified wild mushrooms.

Of the estimated 10,000 mushroom species on the planet, about 30 of them are grown commercially or in home setups.

GROWING FUNGI

But how to grow mushrooms at home? Let’s start by busting the first myth that mushrooms need to grow in the dark.

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