Make your own mushroom bed!
Published Friday, Mar 30, 2018
Growing your own mushrooms at home is simple, easy, and rewarding! There are many ways to bring fun fungi into your garden and kitchen, and one method that SEEDS recently adopted is a mushroom bed. Follow these step by step instructions and you’ll be on your way to three seasons full of delicious mushrooms to enjoy.
Step 1: Pick a shady area of your yard so that the bed doesn’t dry out and stays cool. Our bed is situated in the garden under the shade of a large tree.
Step 2: Dig down into the soil a few inches and fill the bed area with damp wood chips. If you’re obtaining mixed wood chips from a tree service company, they’ll get the job done as long as you are sowing spawn for Oyster or Shiitake, which aren’t as picky. Many other varieties of mushrooms grow best on specific trees, so Oyster and Shiitake are better if you’re just working with what you can obtain cheaply or for free. Our wood chips were soaked for 24 hours and then drained before applying – this process sterilizes the wood chips, getting rid of both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that you don’t want in your bed! We chose not to add a weed barrier at the bottom of the bed because we dug down to the clay pan in the soil, but feel free to do so if you don’t dig down deep.
Step 3: Cover the wood chips with a layer of sawdust if it is available to you – the surface area for sawdust makes for a great initial environment for mushrooms to spawn, but isn’t strictly necessary if you can only obtain wood chips.
Step 4: Break apart a block of mushroom spawn and cover the bed evenly, distributing the spawn evenly through the sawdust (if using) and wood chips.
Step 5: Cover the spawn with a final layer of damp wood chips!
Mushroom beds are great because they only take about a month to begin to fruit into fully formed fungi, versus other methods that may take up to six months to fruit. The only maintenance required after the bed is set up is to ensure that the mushroom bed stays moist. Water when needed. The mushroom bed will continue to fruit for about 9 months, and can be refreshed annually with new spawn, sawdust and wood chips to keep enjoying your mushroom bed every year!
And if you want to try a more compact method for growing mushrooms, be sure to sign up for SEEDS’ upcoming workshop on April 14 to create your own Mushroom Log! For details and registration, click here.
A big thanks to volunteers Brigitte and Elizabeth for their help in creating SEEDS’ mushroom bed!