Guide on how to grow mushrooms.
Mushroom is a fungus, and grows out of a bed of compost. They prefer darker shady areas with good ventilation. Recommended temperatures are from 12-18°C. The edible part of mushroom is the spore producing head that grows above the ground. Because mushrooms have no leaves or chlorophyll, they cannot absorb carbon dioxide. When mushrooms first develop, they grow a small, rounded, white head that opens into a wider circular cap with brown spores on the underside. When collecting mushrooms in the field, careful identification is required due to the poisonous forms of fungi.
Planting: An easy way to grow mushrooms is to buy a kit of mushroom compost with spores already contained in it. Cover the compost with about 2-3 cm of sterilized topsoil or peat and keep wet. After 1-2 weeks, grey coloured filaments will appear growing into the stalks of the mushroom.
Watering: keep the compost moist, but not too wet. Water 2-3 times per week.
Fertilizing: No need to fertilize as the mushroom compost is satisfactory.
Problems: The mushroom bodies can get infected by larvae from fly infestations, mushroom mite and nematodes. Spray with pyrethrum in 2 week intervals to clear up.
Picking: Mushrooms will mature after about 4 weeks and will grow in waves called flushes. They are ready to pick when the head opens with gills underneath. Cut the stalks at ground level, picking regularly will encourage further waves.
Storing: Mushrooms can be stored in the fridge for up to a week in paper (not plastic) bag.
Freezing: Can be frozen for up to 6 months in freezer bags.
Can be used raw with salads or cooked. Good in stirfries, stews, casseroles and soups.
Published in: Gardening