How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (2024)

There's no need to be in the dark about how to grow mushrooms. These tasty chameleons of the food world are extremely healthy: they're fat-free, low in calories, and filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. They can even help keep your brain healthy. For how to grow mushrooms at home, establish the right growing conditions, and acquire mushroom spawn, the material used to propagate mushrooms to get started. Use these step-by-step instructions to grow oyster mushrooms, portobellos, shiitakes, and others.

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How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (1)

How Do Mushrooms Grow?

Mushrooms grow from spores (not seeds) that are so tiny you can't see individual spores with the naked eye. In the wild, mushrooms grow on both soil and other substrates like wood, but no soil is necessary for growing them at home. Instead, they'll grow on substances like sawdust, grain, straw, or wood chips for nourishment. A blend of the spores and these nutrient sources is called spawn. Mushroom spawn acts a bit like the starter you need to make sourdough bread.

The spawn supports the growth of mushrooms' tiny, white, threadlike bodies called mycelium. The mycelium grows before anything resembling a mushroom pushes through the soil.

The spawn itself could grow mushrooms, but you'll get a lot better mushroom harvest when the spawn is applied to a growing medium. Depending on the mushroom type, this might be straw, cardboard, logs, wood chips, or compost with a blend of materials like straw, corncobs, and cocoa seed hulls.

Where to Grow Mushrooms

Mushrooms like dark, cool, and humid growing environments. When you're growing mushrooms at home, a place like your basem*nt is ideal, but a spot under the sink could also work.

Before you start growing, test out your spot by checking the temperature. Most mushrooms grow best between 55°F and 60°F, away from direct heat and drafts. Enoki mushrooms grow better in cooler temperatures, about 45°F. Learning how to grow mushrooms is a good project for the winter because many basem*nts will get too warm in the summer for ideal conditions.

Mushrooms can tolerate some light, but the spot you choose should stay mostly dark or in low light. If you decide to grow mushrooms in your basem*nt, putting them in a closet where they won't be disturbed might be best. Some mushroom types still grow best outdoors in prepared ground or logs, a much longer process (six months to three years) than in controlled environments inside.

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How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (2)

Types of Mushrooms to Grow

Many varieties of mushrooms grow in the wild, and you can grow most of them at home (sorry, you can't grow morels at home—they only pop up in nature). One of the benefits of growing your mushroom varieties instead of wild-harvesting them is that you can be sure you're not picking a toxic mushroom.

Cremini, enoki, maitake, portobello, oyster, shiitake, and white button mushrooms can all be grown indoors, but each type has specific growing needs. For example, white button mushrooms must be grown on composted manure, shiitakes on wood or hardwood sawdust, and oyster mushrooms on straw.

Sourcing Spawn

Only source mushroom spawn from a reputable seller that can confidently identify the type of mushroom. Some mushrooms can be deadly, so you always want to be sure about the type of spawn you have, and NEVER collect spores from unknown sources.

How to Grow Mushrooms

When planning for how to grow mushrooms indoors, there are a couple of options for materials you can use for planting. You can buy a mushroom grow kit packed with a growing medium inoculated with mushroom spawn. Mushroom growing kits are a good place to start if you're new to the process because a kit will provide everything you need. If you start without a kit, the type of mushroom you choose to grow determines the substrate you grow the mushrooms on, so it's essential to research each mushroom's needs. Button mushrooms are one of the easiest to grow if you're learning how to grow mushrooms for the first time.

How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (3)

How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (4)

Step 1: Fill Trays With Compost

Use 14x16-inch trays about six inches deep that resemble seed flats. Fill the trays with the mushroom compost material and sprinkle spawn on top.

Step 2: Use a Heating Pad

Use a heating pad to raise the soil temperature to around 70°F for about three weeks or until you see the mycelium (white, threadlike growths). At this point, drop the temperature to 55°F to 60°F. Cover the spawn with an inch or so of potting soil. Use a household thermometer placed at soil level to monitor soil temperature.

How to Make Homemade Potting Soil

How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (5)

How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (6)

Step 3: Keep Soil Moist

Keep the soil moist by spritzing it with water and covering it with a damp cloth, making sure that you keep spritzing the cloth as it dries.

Step 4: Harvest Mushrooms

Button mushrooms should appear within three to four weeks. Harvest them when the caps open, and the stalk can be cut with a sharp knife from the stem. Avoid pulling up the mushrooms, or you risk damage to surrounding fungi that are still developing. Harvesting every day should result in a continuous crop for about six months.

Once you learn how to grow mushrooms in your home, it's super easy to keep them growing. Eventually, you might need to add fresh spawn to grow more mushrooms, but as long as you keep the cloth damp and harvest the mushrooms as they appear, you should have a steady supply. Once you've got plenty, make sure to use them up in your favorite mushroom recipes within a few days of harvesting since most will only keep for a few days in the fridge.

Herbs and Food to Grow Indoors

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How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin (2024)


How to Grow Mushrooms at Home in an Indoor Compost Bin? ›

In the wild, they grow in decaying leaf litter in mixed woodland and prefer feeding on organic matter that is already slightly decayed. This preference makes them perfect for growing in your compost pile or even straight in a well-mulched garden bed.

Can I grow mushrooms in my compost bin? ›

In the wild, they grow in decaying leaf litter in mixed woodland and prefer feeding on organic matter that is already slightly decayed. This preference makes them perfect for growing in your compost pile or even straight in a well-mulched garden bed.

What is the easiest way to grow mushrooms for beginners? ›

Start with a grow kit

Spray-and-grow kits, a block of colonized substrate inside a small box, make for the easiest way for beginners to get started. “They're inexpensive. You get a lot of mushrooms out of them. And they're super easy,” says Lynch.

How to grow mushrooms at home without spores? ›

To generate mushrooms without spores, one must first grow the mushroom tissue culture known as mycelium. An agar plate, a sterile petri dish with agar as a growth medium, is required for this. In the right environment and temperature, the agar will support fungal culture.

Can I grow directly in mushroom compost? ›

How to Use Mushroom Compost. Mushroom compost needs to be mixed with soil and should not be used alone to grow plants in. If you are amending your soil with neat mushroom compost, you should mix it in at a ratio of one part compost to two parts soil.

What is the cheapest way to grow mushrooms? ›

Another easy, inexpensive option for growing mushrooms at home is inoculated sawdust in a plastic bag. These come in kit versions, but you can also make them yourself. Store them in a bathroom where it is dark and moist and you'll start to see flushing pretty quickly.

What are the easiest mushrooms to grow indoors? ›

Oyster mushrooms are by far the best mushrooms to grow at home for beginners. They come in many varieties, including pearl oysters, king oysters, and strikingly colorful pink, blue, and golden oysters.

How fast do mushrooms grow indoors? ›

Some species, like oyster mushrooms, can mature within a couple of weeks, while others, like morel mushrooms, may take several weeks to months. Environmental Conditions: Temperature, humidity, and light are crucial environmental factors.

Do mushrooms need light to grow indoors? ›

Unlike plants that rely heavily on direct sunlight for photosynthesis, mushrooms do not require direct sunlight. In fact, excessive exposure to direct sunlight or full sun can be detrimental to their development. The ideal lighting condition for mushrooms is often described as mimicking natural daylight.

What are the best edible mushrooms to grow at home? ›

The 3 types of mushrooms that are easiest to grow at home are oyster, white button, and Shiitake. The method for growing each mushroom is similar, but the ideal growing medium differs.

What is the easiest mushroom kit to grow? ›

Oyster mushrooms are by far the easiest and most reliable mushrooms to grow. For beginners we recommend our Mist & Grow Oyster mushroom grow kits. Simply cut an X in one side of the bag, cover with a humidity tent, and mist a few times daily. Within 7-10 days a cluster of baby mushrooms will appear!

Can you grow mushrooms from store-bought mushrooms? ›

The best variety for home growing is oyster mushrooms, though you can use any type. Store bought mushroom propagation is quite easy, but you should choose fungi from organic sources. Propagating store bought mushrooms from the ends just requires a good fruiting medium, moisture, and the proper growing environment.

Is it safe to grow your own mushrooms at home? ›

Can I grow mushrooms at home? Yes. Though it depends on what type of mushroom you want to grow and how much dedication you have. The growing conditions for mushrooms can vary widely from species to species, and some aren't really viable at a small scale.

Is it safe to compost poisonous mushrooms? ›

Mushrooms and other fungus grow in your compost pile naturally. It is fine if poisonous mushrooms grow in your compost pile. You will not be eating the compost. The mushroom will break down in the compost and in the soil and pose no danger.

What can you not plant in mushroom compost? ›

Mushroom compost is also high in salt, which can be problematic for some plants such as blueberries, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. These soluble salts along with other nutrients in fresh mushroom compost are too concentrated to germinate seeds or plant young seedlings.

Can you add mycelium to compost? ›

Mycelium Fungi

You do not need to worry about it as it is helping to decompose your compost. These Mycelium fungi are desirable because they bind together single particles of sandy soil into a small crumb creating a larger surface area in proportion to its size.

Are old mushrooms good for compost? ›

Mushrooms will fruit, most of the time at least twice, and you can then use the spent waste as spawn or you can compost it for an excellent soil amendment.

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