The ins and outs of gourmet mushroom growing

Growing mushrooms in your own garden is very easy and lets you make good use of parts of the garden that may otherwise go unused. They are best grown in shaded places, particularly around trees where they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight or strong winds. The process is very easy and if done successfully you can find yourself with a bi-annual crop for years to come from just a single log.

When you start growing mushrooms in your garden you need to ensure you have a suitable medium for them to be grown in. Different species prefer certain types of timber so you need to get this right. For example shiitake mushrooms will grow best on oak or beech whereas oyster mushrooms will grow on any type of hardwood. You need to get the type of log right if you want to maximise production and quality.

When choosing logs it is important to keep in mind that fresh cut ones are the best. Fallen trees are already likely to be home to fungi, meaning your mushrooms won’t grow as well as they could. You’ll likely need to cut a tree back yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. Spring is a good time to cut back trees and also a good time to start mushroom growing.

The dimensions of the logs you need vary depending on how much space you have and the number of mushrooms you want to produce. Typically three to four feet in length is good and is suitable for 60 plugs. Whatever the length you’ll need to ensure they are between 4 and 8 inches in diameter.

Mushrooms are grown using Plug Spawn that need to be inserted into the log. To do this you need an 8 mm drill bit so you can ensure the hole is the exact size for the Plug Spawn. Holes need to be drilled slightly deeper than the length of the plug so they are not popping up above the log. You should drill holes around 6 inches apart. Five to six rows of holes are drilled around the circumference which are offset from each other, so that the holes form a diamond pattern.

When the holes are drilled you insert the spawn and tap them down gently with a hammer to ensure they sit properly. You then need to cover the top over with wax to create a seal that will prevent bacteria from getting in.

If you’re considering giving it a go you can find all of the things you need on our website, apart from the logs of course. With us you can choose a mushroom growing kit or individual products to suit your needs. We have log kits for shiitake, oyster and Winter Enoki as well as Plug Spawn for many other varieties.