Many people find mushrooms growing in their gardens or lawns, but unless you know mushrooms well, you may not be sure what type they are or if they’re safe to eat. It can also be a challenge to figure out how to grow your own mushrooms. However, intentionally adding mushrooms to your gardening space is relatively easy, and you can often harvest different types of mushrooms throughout the year.
Growing Mushrooms in the Garden
Mushrooms can be grown on a log or in a planter inside the house, but they can also be grown right in the garden with other fruits or vegetables. Mushrooms prefer damp, shady areas. For this reason, mushrooms that are planted around the edge of a fruit tree or in the shade of fruit shrubs or vegetable plants often grow well. You just need to ensure that the soil stays moist. You can also encourage mushroom growth by spreading a layer of mulch, such as straw, which protects the delicate mushrooms from the sun and helps to lock in moisture.
Mushroom Cultures and Mushroom Plugs
Mushrooms are generally grown in one of two ways. The first is with a mushroom plug, which is a plug that can be placed into a log and will eventually sprout mushrooms. Mushroom plugs are stable and have a long shelf life, making them easy to grow, but they limit how you can grow mushrooms, and they often take longer.
Mushroom grow kits are the second way to grow mushrooms. These kits, sometimes called mushroom spawn, feature a medium that has been colonized with mycelium, which is somewhat similar to a mushroom root. This colonized medium can be spread in a planter, on a log, in a garden, around a tree, or nearly anywhere else you want to plant mushrooms.
Once you’ve grown your mushrooms, you can take some of the mulch or medium the mushrooms are growing in and spread it in a new area. If the medium has been colonized with new mycelium, you’ll be able to grow another batch of mushrooms, and you can even grow some mushrooms, using this method, year after year.
Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are delicious and healthy but they can also help your garden. Mushrooms help to increase the nutrients and minerals in the soil, creating a healthier environment for vegetables, which can, in turn, lead to a higher yield. Some mushroom varieties can also help to stop root nematodes. Other mushrooms can neutralize the toxins put out by some walnut trees, which can poison other plants.
Which Mushrooms to Grow
When you’re adding mushrooms to your garden, you can choose any mushroom varieties you like. You may want to select mushrooms that have certain properties that can help specific plants in your garden, or that can grow in specific areas. You can also choose mushroom varieties you like to eat or experiment with new ones you haven’t tried. Oyster mushrooms are some of the most popular mushrooms to grow because there are so many varieties, they’re relatively easy to grow, and they’re versatile when it comes to cooking.