Grow your own mushrooms

Have you ever considered growing mushrooms at home? Taking up just a small space, mushrooms are easy and delicious to grow at home.

At BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair, the Oyster Mushroom Workshop will be brought to the Fair by Jodie and Lorraine of the Sussex-based Caley Brothers, with plenty of grow your own inspiration in abundance.

Read on below to find out more from the Caley Brothers about why mushrooms are great to grow, and for some pointers to get the most out of your mushrooms.

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Written by the Caley Brothers

The Caley Brother’s actively encourage everyone to get growing their own gourmet mushrooms at
home – if only to witness just how amazing and easy the grow cycle of a mushroom is.
A common misconception for growing mushrooms at home is often the need of a dark
cupboard, or damp environment. These ideas seem to have stemmed from the mushroom growing
days of the 80s and 90s, where button mushrooms were grown in polystyrene boxes kept under
the sink, or even the bed in some cases. Well it was certainly for the Caley Brothers growing up!
You don’t need much space to grow mushrooms either – the Caley Brothers kits can be grown in kitchens, and on windowsills.

At Caley Brothers, the mushroom grow kits have been purposefully designed for growing at home,
and in full sight. They like the light and once your baby mushroom pins start to appear you’ll be amazed at just how fast they grow and how beautiful they are as they begin to unfurl. From first pins to full grown mushrooms can take just 7-10 days, and they then double in size every 12-24 hours, right up to harvesting.

A great mushroom to start growing is the Grey Oyster mushroom. They are incredibly versatile as a mushroom and they will grow on a variety of substrates. The Caley Brothers use used coffee grounds and sawdust as the base of their kits, but they can also be grown on logs, books and even rolled up jeans. The mushrooms can be grown throughout the year inside or out.

You don’t have to have ‘green fingers’ to grow mushrooms either, especially if you start out with a kit. Unlike many houseplants, you can’t over water an oyster mushroom grow kit, and if they accidently
dry out, a good soak in cold water over night, can usually spur them on again.

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Top Tips for Growing

  • Start with a ready to grow kit. Getting yourself a ready colonised grow kit is a great first step when beginning to grow your own mushrooms. There’s a massive variety of edible mushrooms kits on the market to help get you growing.
  • Make sure you buy your kit or mushroom spawn from a trusted and reputable supplier.
    They’ll be keen to get you growing and will support you through your growing process with help and guidance.
  • Don’t be afraid to give it a go. Mushrooms are really easy to grow and not a massive
    investment. Once you’ve finished growing, the mycelium within your kit is a great soil
    conditioner and can go straight into your garden.

Once you’ve harvested your first mushrooms, the texture and smell is probably the first thing you’ll
notice. They’re fairly robust, and have a lovely mild earthiness about them – both of which you don’t get from your shop brought, or plastic packaged mushrooms and this why you should try it yourselves – there’s just something about growing your own food that makes it look, feel and taste better than anything shop bought.

Grow kits will usually offer you the chance to grow a number of flushes over the course of a few
months. But – when you’ve finished with your grow kit or mushroom substrate, although the energy
inside is spent and unable to produce any more mushrooms, you’ll still have a block of living
mycelium that, if given more nutrients will keep on going. If you put this to use in your garden, veg patch, compost heap or into your plant pots, the mycelium will continue to work its way into the soil and help nourish the roots and plants, working in tandem to recondition your soil. If you’re lucky, over time you may even get more mushrooms popping up amongst your plants or compost heap.

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After you’ve mastered the home grown mushroom, you can venture onto other varieties of mushrooms like Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Shiitake and Black Pearl. You can even grow outside in mushroom beds or on logs. They’re great companion ‘plants’ and can be grown throughout the year amongst your flowers beds and on your vegetable patch – just don’t forget to water them like you would your other plants.

Growing mushrooms is really simple and hugely rewarding. Time to get growing your own!

At the BBC Gardeners World Autumn Fair the Caley Brothers are hosting a number of workshops throughout the show where they’ll be demonstrating just how easy it is to make your own kit and to grow and harvest your own flush of Oyster mushrooms at home. Find out more here.

Every attendee will receive their own sachet of Grey Oyster mycelium, along with a full set of
instructions and all you need to make your own mushroom kit so you too and get growing at home.
On our stall they’ll have a series of ready to grow kits and will be on hand to help with any mushroom
growing questions you may have, so do come armed with any questions you may have.

Find out more about the Caley Brothers here.