Cultivate edible fungi in your basement or backyard with these go-to methods from growinug your own mushrooms at home.

You could say mushrooms are having a moment — but really, they’ve enjoyed the spotlight throughout history. Chinese culture has recognized mushrooms as a powerful health food for centuries — they’re a quality source of protein, essential amino acids, fiber, and vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D, and E — and ancient Greeks referred to them as “Food of the Gods.” They’re also used in a range of medicinal purposes.   

And thanks to the modern mushroom boom, edible varieties have gone mainstream. Now, you can find mushroom coffee blends, supershroom supplements, and endless recipes that make mushrooms the star of the show. Not only that, foraging for these savory delights has never been more popular. But why trudge through the forest when you can grow mushrooms at home? Here’s how to grow your own mushrooms:  

Illustration courtesy of Dana Campbell.

Bucket Method 

This is a super easy, no-mess way to begin growing mushrooms inside, especially for those that have a small space to work with. Things to know: mushroom spawn is sterilized grain that has been covered in mushroom mycelium. Making it is complicated, so we suggest purchasing premade spawn for your project here. Oyster mushrooms are great for beginners.    

Materials: 

  • Drill
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Wood shavings
  • 5 lbs. mushroom spawn
  • Spray bottle
  • Sharp knife 
 

Instructions:

  1. The day before you build your bucket mushroom setup, you’ll want to pre-soak your wood chips. This makes the chips softer and easier for the mushroom spawn to grow. Add wood chips to a tote or large bucket and cover with boiling water. Leave overnight. 
  2. In the meantime, drill a few ¼-inch holes in the bottom of your bucket for drainage. After that, drill a series of vertical ¼-inch holes around the sides of the bucket. 
  3. Once your wood chips are presoaked, squeeze out excess moisture and place a thin layer at the bottom of your bucket followed by a layer of spawn — break up any clumps. Repeat until the bucket is full, with the last layer being wood chips. Place the lid on the bucket. 
  4. Store in a dry, dark area, like a basement or garage, for 10-14 days. 
  5. After the initial two-week period, transfer the bucket outside to a humid, protected area. 
  6. Continue to monitor mushroom growth, spraying with water every few days to maintain humidity.    
  7. When your mushrooms are fully grown, use a sharp knife to cut off each cluster at the base. 
  8. Leave in place and get ready for another round of mushroom growth! 
 

Illustration courtesy of Dana Campbell.

Straw Bed Method

This method is a great option for growing mushrooms outside. Like the bucket system, it’s simple to set up and will yield lots of delicious shrooms. 

Materials: 

  • Straw
  • Mushroom spawn 
  • Large clear tarp
  • Watering can or hose 
 

Instructions: 

  1. In a shady area in your yard, cover a 5-foot by 5-foot area (or larger, depending on your space and how much spawn you purchase) with a layer of straw. 
  2. Cover with a layer of spawn, breaking up any large pieces. Cover with a layer of straw and water the area. 
  3. Repeat until you have reached desired height or used all materials. 
  4. Press down to compact layers and spray with water. 
  5. If you live in a dry area, cover with a clear tarp until mushrooms begin to fruit. If the climate where you live is humid, you can skip this step. 
  6. Continue watering to keep the substrate moist.
  7. Check on your straw bed every month and harvest once mushrooms are fully grown. 

There are tons of ways to grow mushrooms at home — we’ve just covered the basics. Once you’ve mastered these methods, start experimenting with other techniques and harder-to-cultivate varieties. You’ll be wowing your family and friends with colorful home-grown mushrooms in no time! 

Illustration courtesy of Dana Campbell.

Did you try out either of our DIY mushroom growing methods? Share your progress or results with us on Instagram @avocadomattress