All About Types of Mushrooms and How to Grow
The History of Mushroom
The amazing “mushroom laws” of the Ancient Egyptians and Romans.
The pharaohs of Egypt considered that mushrooms were too great a delicacy for the common people. So, by royal decree, mushrooms were only to be eaten at royal feasts. Later, the great Julius Caesar passed similar laws decreeing who might have the privilege of enjoying the mushroom’s unique flavor.
Fungi like mushrooms and puffballs procreate, sexually or asexually, by means of spores and they are the fruiting bodies of the plant. The spores grow long hyphs, or cylinders, which branches and re-branches into web-like mycelium. They are responsible for growth and feeding. Because they have no chlorophyll they cannot produce their own food and thus get their nourishment through
relationships with algae and/or wood-destroying termites,
(b) by being parasites to host animals or plants, or
(c) by the saprobic drawing of food from dead or rotting animal and plant tissue.
Due to their inability to create their own food, not all botanists consider mushrooms as part of the plant kingdom.
Agaricus Campestris, Field Mushroom
After spring- or autumn rains, the field mushroom grows in grasslands, growing in clumps or singly. They have smooth, 12cm in diameter caps and 10 x 2,5cm stems.
Agaricus Arvensis, Edible Horse Mushroom
This mushroom is often found on lawns and meadows after autumn rains. It is large, up to 20cm in diameter, and has white stems that will turn brown with age.
Amanita Muscaria, Fly Agaric
Found in groups, or singly, in the shade of oak and pine trees. The cap, up to 20cmin diameter, has white warts that are sticky when young. It has a (broader at the base) stem of 10 – 20 x 10 – 30cm, with a soft ring and is white to yellowish. They appear during summer and autumn. It is poisonous.
Boletus Edulis, Cep
This is a vigorous mushroom with a smooth, shiny, tan-colored cap of 20cm in diameter. The 12x6cm, brown to a white base is broader at the base and has raised white threads on the upper part. It grows under pine or oak trees, during autumn and winter in winter rainfall areas, or summer and autumn in summer rainfall areas.
Coprinus Comatus, Shaggy ink Cap
These small mushrooms grow in clumps in grasslands after summer- or autumn rains. Its 5cm in diameter (and 15cm high) cap releases a blackish liquid when rolling back to discharge spores. The 22x 2cm stem has a movable ring.
Hypholoma Fasciculare, Sulphur tuft
Thick clusters of sulfur tufts grow on dead hardwood trees with caps of 7cm in diameter and yellow to brown lamellae.
Lentinus sajor-caju, Funnel Wood Cap
Growing in groups, or singly, on dead wood, these mushrooms have caps of up to 16cm in diameter and have a short and solid stem of 1,5 x 3cm. These summer mushrooms have soft, leathery caps when young, becoming hard, concaving to funnel-shaped with cracked surfaces of brown to cream to white coloring.
Lycoperdon Perlatum, Gem-studded puff-ball
The 5cm high puff-ball grows amongst fallen leaves of broadleaved trees, during summer and autumn. Its caps are 3cm in diameter and covered with small warts leaving indentations.
Macrolepiota zeyheri, Parasol Mushroom
They are found growing in grasslands from late summer to early winter and have soft, white caps, scaled light brown, with a diameter of 10 – 25cm. The trim stem of 15 x 1,5cm stem has a broader base with a large, soft, and creamy ring.
Pisolithus Tinctorius, Dye Ball
This summer to autumn mushroom grows under wattle and gum trees, are 17cm in diameter and 20cm high.
Termitomyces umkowaani, I’kowe
This large mushroom’s cap is fleshy and smooth, up to 25cm in diameter. It’s smooth, a white stem is broader at the base, and measures about 15 x 2cm. They grow singly or scattered, after rainfall, from October to March.
What are Button mushrooms?
Button mushrooms are one of the most commonly consumed mushrooms in the world.
They are the easiest to find in the grocery store, however, homegrown mushrooms always taste better, whether it’s for a tasty snack or in your favorite recipes. You can enjoy a full flavor from a fully matured button mushroom, or a delicious taste in the early stages of growth.
What do you Need to Grow Them?
Growing button mushrooms is one of the easiest types of mushrooms to grow and does not require many supplies.
Here’s what you’ll need from your local garden store…
- 2-by-3 foot growing tray 6 to 8 inches deep (you can build this or buy it)
- Mushroom spawn
- Peat moss
- A piece of wood or flat object
- Water Mister
Water, proper temperature, and a few weeks is all that you need to grow delicious button mushrooms.
How to Begin Cultivation?
Place the well-rotted compost into the growing tray and water. Be sure that the compost is completely wet but you want it moist, not soggy.
Get 1 to 2 cups of the dry button mushroom spawn flakes and mix it into the compost. You’ll need to loosen the mixture and put it into loose piles in the tray. With a piece of wood or something flat press the compost and spawn mixture into the tray. Now let it sit overnight.
Keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 weeks, misting daily with your spray bottle.
Once you see white webbing on the surface of the soil you’ll need to apply a 1 ½ inch layer of moist peat moss and cover it with a few layers of newspapers. The newspaper must be kept moist. Continue to evenly spray the newspaper twice daily. Maintain a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 10 days remove the newspaper and continue to mist twice daily.
In a few days, you’ll see tiny white pinheads sprouting.
Once the button mushrooms reach your desired size you can pick them and new mushrooms will grow in 10 to 14 days. You’ll have an endless supply for 3 to 6 months using this method and then you’ll need to start the process again from step one…
What are Morel Mushrooms?
The morel mushroom is a seasonal mushroom that can be used in hundreds of recipes.
Generally, they begin growing during the spring months and will begin sprouting up across the United States. These delicious mushrooms can easily be grown in your back yard.
However, it’s important that you understand that the rain level, air, and ground temperature affects the growing cycle and will also affect how bountiful the crop is.
What do you Need to Grow Them?
The key to successfully growing morel mushrooms is the right materials and of course the proper amount of sun. Here’s what you’ll need to begin,
- 4 x 8 foot Partially shady area (preferably a location near an oak tree with a north-facing slope)
- Morel mushroom culture
- Oakwood chips, mulch, or shavings
- Ash from wood
How to Begin Cultivation
The location to place your 4 x 8-foot bed to begin growing your morel mushrooms is the most difficult aspect of growing them. Once you find this north-facing slope location you can begin the cultivation process.
When preparing the bed you’ll need to remove all weeds and grass from the site.
Mix the wood ash with the oak chips and lay a thick layer of moist oak chips.
Evenly sprinkle the morel mushroom culture over the entire moist bed.
Important: The morel culture should not be green. If it is the spores are bad.
Add an additional 3 inches of moist oak chips covering the entire bed.
Water the mushroom patch. The trick is to be sure that the oak chips are moist on every layer. You can stick your finger into the layers to ensure the lower sections are moist.
Now you wait. The growth of morel mushrooms is unpredictable. It can be next season or years from now.
What are Oyster Mushrooms?
Oyster mushrooms are one of the most popular edible mushrooms, and have an interesting history, starting in Germany as a subsistence measure in the Great War.
Today you’ll find this mushroom grown all over the world. This mushroom received its name Oyster because of its appearance – it looks just like an oyster. The only difference is that you won’t find an oyster mushroom in the water. They grow on trees.
What does You Need to Grow Them?
You’ll find a variety of methods to grow oyster mushrooms; some will require a large drum, concrete blocks, and other commonly found items around your home.
Here is a method that will keep the cost down and grow mushrooms abundantly.
Here’s what you’ll need,
- Oyster Mushroom spawn
- Large pan
- Water spray bottle
- Rich potting soil for fungi plants
- A large cloth to cover the entire pan
- Preferably a basement or a dark, cool and damp area in the home
How to Begin Cultivation?
Growing oyster mushrooms is fairly simple. The most important thing to remember is that you’ll need to keep the soil moist and the temperature optimal to promote good growth.
Location is important. If you do not have a basement some other areas include a cabinet or closet.
Take your large pan and generously place straw covering the bottom of the pan. The temperature of your location must be no warmer than 70 degrees. Optimal conditions will be 68 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now evenly scatter the oyster mushroom spawn on top of the straw.
After about 3 or 4 weeks the spawn should have attached to the straw. You’ll then need to lower the temperature and maintain it between 54 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now sprinkle spawn with quality potting soil. This should be an inch thick and cover the pan with a damp cloth. The cloth must remain damp at all times. You can use the spray bottle to moisten the cloth as well as the soil.
That’s all there is to it.
In about 4 weeks you should see small mushrooms appear.
Once the oyster mushroom caps are completely opened and separated from the stem you can enjoy a delicious meal…
What Are Portobello Mushrooms?
You most likely have seen them listed on the menu of your favorite restaurant. These mushrooms offer excellent nutritional value and are delicious. They are big enough for a low-fat entrée. You can season them with anything from barbecue sauce on the grill to stuffing them with crab meat.
Portobello mushrooms are simply a brown crimini mushroom in disguise. In fact, it’s not until the little brown crimini mushroom grows to about 4” – 6” in diameter that it’s called a Portobello mushroom.
What does You Need to Grow Them?
Growing this type of mushroom is much easier than you may think. You’ll enjoy having an endless supply of fresh mushrooms, for cooking your favorite recipes or for snacking. You’re the first bite into a homegrown Portobello mushroom you’ll experience more flavor than the ones you buy any grocery store.
Here are some of the materials that you’ll need to get started,
- A growing tray that is approximately 2 by 3 feet and 6 to 8 inches deep
- Well-rotted compost
- Dry Spawn flakes
- Peat Moss
- Spray bottle
- Non-chlorinated water
- A piece of wood or flat object
How to Begin Mushrooms Cultivation?
There are two important aspects that you’ll need to be aware of when cultivating Portobello mushrooms – moisture and temperature. The temperature must be between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. You will need to mist it twice a day with a spray bottle filled with non-chlorinated water. Never pour water into the growing box this will ruin the soil and disrupt the growing process.
Fill your growing tray with the well-rotted moist compost; be sure that it is not soggy.
Now, put 1, 1/2 cups of dry spawn flakes into the compost. You can put this into loose piles into the growing tray. And leave it overnight.
In the morning you can press it down with a piece of wood. At this time you’ll need the temperature to be between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
After about two to three weeks you’ll begin to see a white webbing grow on the surface. At this time you’ll put about a 1 ½ layer of moist peat moss over it. And cover the damp peat moss with a few layers of newspaper. You should evenly spray the layers of newspaper twice a day to keep moist. Do not lift the newspapers; you want the soil to be left alone for 10 days at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 10 days you’ll remove the newspaper and continue to mist the soil twice daily.
You’ll begin to see white pinheads from the soil soon after, which are your Portobello mushrooms.
What Are Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms offer a rich smoky flavor and are perfect for many recipes such as soups, sushi, and stir-fries. Surprisingly they offer health benefits to your immune system and heart. They are considered one of the top sources of antioxidants.
This specific type of mushroom is easy to grow, and it’s also the most productive growing mushroom. It will continue to fruit for years and each time it fruits it produces more mushrooms.
What do You Need to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms?
Wooden plugs inoculated with shiitake mushroom mycelium are the most method effective way to produce a beautiful garden with abundant fruits.
- 25 Wooden plugs inoculated with shiitake mushroom mycelium
- Freshly-cut tree log that is 4 to 10 inches wide and 4 feet long
- 5 /16 – inch drill bit
- Rubber mallet
- Brush or turkey baster
- Cheese Wax
- Shaded area
- Chlorine-free water
How to Begin Mushrooms Cultivation?
Begin by drilling 25 holes into the tree long. The holes need to be about 2 inches deep and at least 4 inches apart.
Push each wooden plug into the holes. The rubber mallet will help you get them to fit tightly into each hole. Go easy, you do not want to damage the log.
Melt the cheese wax and when it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit you will use it to seal each plug using the turkey baster or brush.
Place the log standing up on a shady area against a fence or wall.
Water the log regularly with chlorine-free water for 2 to 3 weeks. The moisture level should be between 35 to 60 percent.
In about 6 months you will begin to see mushrooms appear.
It can sometimes take up to a year before you start to see any, so don’t be surprised if after 6 months nothing is happening.
What are Wild Mushrooms?
Wild mushrooms are delicious and often used for medicinal purposes. These tasty and rich in flavor mushrooms can be found at a grocery store, but when you grow them at home they are certainly filled with more flavor.
What do You Need to Grow Them?
When you want to grow anything it always requires some type of equipment. And growing wild mushrooms is no exception. Here is a list of tools that you’ll need, along with a cool dark place for the spores to cultivate properly…
- Wild mushroom spores/spawn
- Growing tray or pan that is 3 inches deep.
- Heating pad
- Potting soil
- Large cloth to cover growing tray
- Spray bottle
- A cool dark place for the next six weeks
How to Start Mushroom cultivation?
Choose your location wisely this needs to be a cool dark damp place such as a basement or closet.
Place a heating pad under the growing tray and set it to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
You’ll need to fill the growing tray or pan with the necessary growing medium. This depends on the type of wild mushrooms you will be growing. It can be compost, sawdust or a number of other things. Moisture is always important no matter what type of growing medium you are using.
Sprinkle the spores or spawn on top and leave for around 3 to 4 weeks, until you seed germination. Usually, it looks like white webbing on top.
Once you see they have germinated you’ll need to reduce the heating pad temperature to about 60 degrees.
Add a 1-inch layer of moist quality potting soil into the growing tray and cover with a damp cloth.
Continue to spray water and mist daily to keep moist and humid.
In a few weeks, you will begin seeing pinhead mushrooms growing from the soil.
Once they are fully mature you can start picking them and enjoying eating fresh and flavorful mushrooms…
Mushrooms are fast and easy to prepare. They taste great and can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways. Rosemary Stanton, the acclaimed and well-known nutritionist, advocates the consumption of mushrooms for their many health benefits.
Mushrooms have a higher percentage of protein than most vegetables. They contain no additives or preservatives and are a wholly natural delicacy. The fact that they contain almost no fat, salt, or sugar allows them to be approved for use in the Weight Watchers program.
100 grams of mushrooms have more fiber than a slice of wholemeal bread, making them a superb choice to combat diseases such as bowel cancer.
They are also high in potassium, low in sodium, and an excellent source of vitamins. They contain Riboflavin for healthy skin, eyes, and body tissue; Niacin for healthy skin and energy; Thiamin to aid metabolism and promote a healthy nervous system; Pantothenic Acid to assist nerves, glands, and muscles; Vitamin B12, Iron, Phosphorus for strong bones, and Vitamin C.
Uses of Mushrooms
Mushrooms can be served hot or cold, marinated, barbecued, sauteed, grilled, or baked. They can be stir-fried, deep-fried, steamed, stuffed, or microwaved. Mushrooms can be added to casseroles, sauces, stuffings, soups, sandwiches, and salads.
They are best stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.
There is no need to peel, trim stalks, or wash Australian cultivated mushrooms. In fact, valuable vitamins and minerals may be lost if they are soaked in water.
Rather, wipe them with a damp cloth, slice downwards with a sharp knife, and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration if you are not using them immediately.
There are too many ways to prepare mushrooms to list them all on this website.
There are a variety of fantastic cookbooks highlighting the myriad methods or dishing up this tasty morsel, so check for publications at your local library, bookstores, the Australian Mushroom Growers Association (they have recently released their own book, The Mushroom Lovers Cookbook), or right here on the internet.
In the meantime, here are some recipes to get you started:
Trim the stalks of the
mushrooms and arrange in lots of 6-8 on a greased aluminum foil or