How To: Grow Mushrooms at Home (2024)

It’s easier than you think to grow delicious mushrooms at home: All you need are a few materials and a cool, dark space.

By Savannah Sher | Published Mar 4, 2021 1:19 PM

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  • How To: Grow Mushrooms at Home (1)

Nothing compares to the flavor of vegetables you’ve grown yourself. Unlike most vegetables, mushrooms actually grow well indoors because they thrive in cool, dark, and damp environments. Mushrooms can grow outside, of course, but inconsistent growing conditions may cause the process to take up to three years. The best place to grow them at home is in a basem*nt or under a sink where they won’t be exposed to bright light. Even apartment dwellers with limited space can grow mushrooms.

Nearly any type of mushroom—including portobello, shiitake, button, oyster, cremini, and enoki—can be grown indoors, but each variety requires a different growing medium. This guide will explore how to grow white button mushrooms, which are actually the same species as cremini and portobello mushrooms.


The process of cultivating mushrooms differs from that of most other vegetables. Before we describe the growing process, it’s important to go over a few key terms.

  • While most plants are grown from seeds, mushrooms and other fungi are grown from spores.
  • When mushroom spores mix with soil or another growing medium, a white, root-like substance called mycelium grows.
  • A mushroom substrate is a substance that mycelium can grow on. For white button mushrooms, the recommended substrate is a mixture of compost and manure.
  • Mushroom spawn is a substrate that already has mycelium growing on it.

Rather than buying their own mushroom spores, beginners may prefer to purchase a mushroom growing kit. These kits include a growing medium as well as mushroom spawn that has already been incubated. If using a kit, skip to Step 3.

Tools & Materials
  • Planting trays
  • Seedling heat mat
  • Mushroom spores
  • Compost and manure mixture
  • Potting soil
  • Soil thermometer
  • See full list «
  • Sharp knife

STEP 1: Add the spores to the growing medium.

The first step is to set up the substrate, or growing medium. To do this, start with a planting tray that measures approximately 14 by 16 inches with a 6-inch depth. The tray can be made of wood, plastic, or metal. Fill the tray with a mixture of compost and manure, leaving an inch of space at the top of the tray. Then, spread the spores on top.

For best results, try to keep conditions sterile during this step so that other types of mold and fungi aren’t introduced to the substrate. Be sure to clean your hands thoroughly before working with the substrate, for example, and sterilize the knife and any other tools used.


STEP 2: Make sure the soil is moist all the time.

Mushrooms thrive in humid environments, so it’s essential to ensure that the soil remains moist throughout the growing process. To keep your growing medium moist, spray or mist it once or twice each day or cover it with damp towels.

RELATED: The Best Soil Moisture Meters for Your Gardens

STEP 3: Incubate the spores.

For the first three weeks, the soil temperature must be incubated at 70 degrees in order to promote growth. This can be done by keeping the trays in a warmer area of the house, or you can place the tray on a seedling heat mat. Choose a heating pad that has precise temperature controls and place it under the tray. Using a soil thermometer, make sure that the temperature of the soil never rises above 70 degrees because higher temperatures can kill the spores.

STEP 4: Lower the temperature to between 55 and 60 degrees.

Soon white, rootlike growths—or mycelium—will appear on top of the soil. When the entire tray is covered, it’s time to lower the temperature. While many vegetables have to be grown in the summer, growing mushrooms is a great winter project because they thrive in cooler temperatures. Lower the temperature of the soil to between 55 and 60 degrees (to do so, you will probably need to remove the heating pad from under the tray), and cover the mycelium with about an inch of potting soil.

After a few days at this temperature, tiny mushrooms known as primordia will begin to sprout.


STEP 5: Harvest the mushrooms and enjoy!

Button mushrooms should be fully grown after three or four weeks. You’ll know they’re ready to be harvested when the caps open fully and separate from the stems. If they’re allowed to grow longer, they will turn brown and be categorized as cremini mushrooms. In their final stage of growth, they become even larger portobello mushrooms. In order to harvest the mushrooms, use a sharp knife to cut the stem. Do not pull mushrooms from the soil because the surrounding growth can be damaged in the process.

Mushrooms will grow continuously for approximately six months if they are harvested daily because each mushroom will release its own spores. When growth ceases, more mushroom spawn can be added to the existing growing station. It’s important to note that fresh mushrooms won’t last for long after they’re cut, so they should be cooked or eaten within a couple of days.

Use this method to easily grow tasty mushrooms for topping pizza, turning into a creamy soup, or eating in salads.

RELATED: Keep Your Green Thumb Going Indoors with a Garden Tower



How To: Grow Mushrooms at Home (2024)


How do you grow mushrooms at home for beginners? ›

Growing mushrooms at home in a bucket from spawn instead of spores is like growing from a cutting instead of from seeds.
  1. Step 1: Prepare the Bucket. For best results, start by sterilizing the bucket. ...
  2. Step 2: Prepare the Substrate. ...
  3. Step 3: Layer Substrate and Spawn. ...
  4. Step 4: Let It Spawn. ...
  5. Step 5: Harvest Mushrooms.
Mar 6, 2024

Is growing mushrooms cheaper than buying? ›

A: Yes, growing your own mushrooms can save you money in the long run. Mushrooms bought from the store can be expensive, especially if you consume them regularly.

How long will it take to grow mushrooms? ›

It takes about three weeks to produce the first mushrooms for harvest. Throughout the growing period, mushroom farmers play Mother Nature, manipulating water, airflow, temperature fluctuation and more.

Do mushrooms need sunlight? ›

Unlike plants, mushrooms are fungi and they do not perform photosynthesis, so they don't require sunlight for energy. Instead, they obtain their energy from the organic matter they grow on. However, some light can help guide their growth direction.

What is the easiest mushroom to grow? ›

Pretty much every mushroom growing resource I could find says that oyster mushrooms are the easiest variety for first time-growers, as they grow fast and can easily thrive in substrates made of things like coffee grounds and straw, making them relatively low maintenance.

Can you grow mushrooms from store bought mushrooms? ›

The quickest & most simple way, is to cut the stems off your store bought mushrooms. You then place the mushroom caps, with the “gill side down”, on a clean sheet of wax paper. You must then wait for 24 hours, for the caps to release their spores & you'll have to replant them, when you're fully done.

What are the cons of growing mushrooms at home? ›

You need a place that is dark and humid, which may be difficult if you live in an apartment or other place where it's hard to control such things as ventilation and light levels. In addition, mushrooms put off an interesting aroma which may not be pleasing to some people.

What is the easiest mushroom to grow and sell? ›

Shiitake and oyster mushrooms are the best choice for small-scale production, since they don't require a lot of equipment and space. Shiitake mushrooms are often sold in grocery stores, health food stores, and farmers' markets and are also quite popular for their flavor and consistency.

What do you feed mushrooms? ›

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.

Do mushrooms grow back every year? ›

Most mushrooms we make beds with are perennial in temperate climates, meaning they'll continue to grow year after year despite snowfall. This includes wine caps and most of our oyster mushrooms.

What state has the most wild mushrooms? ›

Where To Go Mushroom Foraging in the US (and What To Look For)
  • Oregon Coast, Oregon. The forests of Oregon. ...
  • Ohio. Shawnee State Forest is a great place to go looking for mushrooms. ...
  • Seattle, Washington. ...
  • Asheville, North Carolina. ...
  • The Colorado Rockies, Colorado. ...
  • Northern Minnesota, Minnesota. ...
  • Sitka, Alaska.
Feb 6, 2023

Can you eat the mushrooms that grow in your backyard or on your lawn? ›

But don't even think about eating them. Snap them off, preferably with gloves or a bag on your hands. Otherwise, make a point of washing your hands immediately. Many types of mushrooms can cause damage to humans and pets in many ways.

How often do you water mushrooms? ›

Humidity is a key factor for successful mushroom growth. Spray the area around your kit with a few pumps of water whenever you have a chance, at least 2-3 times a day. If you can see condensation underneath the plastic flaps of your X cut area this is enough water.

Where do mushrooms grow best? ›

Most mushrooms prefer shade or dark places, which is why you'll often find them on forest floors. However, some mushrooms can grow in part to full sun, such as those you may find growing on manure in a field. Mushrooms are more likely to adapt to less ideal conditions if they have a quality substrate to grow on.

What is the best soil for growing mushrooms? ›

Unlike plants, mushrooms do not grow best in potting soil. They are more likely to thrive in wood chips, hardwood sawdust (good for shiitake mushrooms), composted manure (good for white button mushrooms), straw (good for oyster mushrooms), or coffee grounds (also good for oyster mushrooms).

What are the 5 steps to growing mushrooms? ›

The six steps are Phase I composting, Phase II composting, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping. These steps are described in their naturally occurring sequence, emphasizing the salient features within each step. Compost provides nutrients needed for mushrooms to grow.

How do you grow mushrooms in coffee grounds? ›

Mix the mycelium and your freshly brewed coffee grounds in the jar, cover, and store in a dark place. Keep the temperature at 20-25°C for 2-3 days, until the grounds are completely covered with white mycelium. Then add 1-2 cm of freshly brewed coffee grounds and wait for the mycelium to cover it up once again.

Can you grow and sell mushrooms from home? ›

If you have a few hours a week to spare, and you have a growing area where you can control the temperature, humidity and light, then you can be a successful grower. Make sure your mushrooms are growing up healthy, and that you're selling them at the right places, and you'll be on your way to success.

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