Winter Food: A Beginner’s Guide To Growing Mushrooms At Home
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Mushrooms have started gaining the kind of recognition that they deserve. As more people are turning towards vegetarianism and veganism, mushrooms are becoming the top choices for people who like to eat something that has a similar taste to meat and also has the same nutritional profile. Most mushrooms can be easily grown in kitchen gardens and occupy a very small space. Unlike a lot of other plants, they don't need unwavering attention and can pretty much grow by themselves. 

Also, other than giving essential nutrients to the body, plant proteins present in mushrooms–some studies suggest–are also responsible for reducing the cancer risk in the body and strengthening the immune system. There are more than 14,000 varieties of mushrooms that are found in the world. Out of them, only a few are fit to be grown in the house. Here is a small guide for someone who wants to grow mushrooms at home and has no idea where to begin.

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* Method

The most important thing that one must decide before growing mushrooms at home is the time that one wants to grow. The three mushrooms that can be grown very easily at home include a white button, oyster, and shiitake. The method to grow three of these mushrooms is quite similar but there is a certain level of difference in the kind of environment and soil that they need. Oyster mushrooms can be grown on coffee grounds whereas shiitake mushrooms need hardwood sawdust. To grow button mushrooms it is best to use compost manure.

* Mushroom Spawn

Buying mushroom spawn is extremely important as it acts like the plant seedling that helps in facilitating the growth of the mushroom. One must buy a premium-quality mushroom spawn. These can be found in a lot of retail stores both online and offline. Some people use spores instead of using spawns, which is actually not a very good idea. Spores require more time, patience and effort and are better for somebody who is experienced in growing mushrooms before.

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* Sterilising

If someone is growing mushrooms in things like sawdust or straw, then it is very important to first sterilise all these mediums before starting the process of growing mushrooms. To sterilise these mediums, one can simply take the components and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Then enough water must be added so that the components become damp. Then the person must heat the mixture for at least a couple of minutes. This will help in killing any bacteria or microorganisms that might be present.

* Choose The Perfect Place

Generally, most mushrooms like cool, dark and humid environments to grow properly. Ideally, a home basement is the perfect place to grow mushrooms. In case you don't have a basement, you can pick any dark and cool place that you have in your home. Before finalising the spot, one must check the temperature of the area and make sure that it doesn't have any direct contact with heat. Generally, most mushrooms grow very well in temperatures between 55°F to 60°F. 

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* Planting Mushrooms

If you are confused about the type of soil that you must use for your mushroom, then you can also opt for directly buying a mushroom kit. The kit will have all the necessary components that you need to plant mushrooms at home. One of the easiest mushrooms to grow at home is the button mushroom. To grow this mushroom at home, take a very deep tray and fill it with the compost material. After this, sprinkle some spawn on the top of it. With the help of a heating pad, bring the temperature of the soil to 70°F for at least three weeks. Stop this process as soon as you start seeing mycelium which are white thread-like structures. After this, you can drop the temperature to 55°F to 60°F. Now cover the spawn with another layer of compost that must have a thickness of one inch. 

* Keep The Soil Moist

Make sure that you keep the soil moist throughout the whole process by sprinkling some water at frequent intervals. You can also cover it with a damp cloth and keep putting on some water so that it doesn't dry. Within 3 to 4 weeks, you will see that button mushrooms have started appearing. These can be cut with the help of a very sharp knife. Never try to extract them out of the soil as it may damage the whole setting. Harvest these mushrooms regularly and it will be enough to last you at least six months.

These are some very simple steps that one needs to follow to grow mushrooms at home. Once a person gets hold of the process, it becomes very easy for them and mushroom cultivation can be done comfortably at home.