Growing Mushrooms

DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,870

From time to time when accompanying me to the GC, my OH stops in front of the stand selling various mushroom growing kits - he sometimes expresses an interest in doing this.

I remember my parents taking delivery of a load of spent mushroom compost for the veg garden and the following year we harvested loads of free mushrooms.  The same thing happened on a nearby playingfield one year after spend mushroom compost had been used on the turf - we all filled our freezers.

I also remember my parents growing mushrooms in beds of horsemanure in sheds on the farm years ago - I remember a lot of concern about maintaining the correct temperature etc.

There seem to be many options available from the garden centre and they imply that it's all quite straightforward - as you know I love cooking, and would welcome as many edible fungi as OH could provide.

Has anyone tried one of these kits, and what were the results please?

Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 


  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Dove I've looked at them and I don't have anywhere suitable to put them when they are growing. I can't remember exactly what they required but I know I couldn't grow them. Would love to, as I use lots of mushrooms.  

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,478

    I had one of these kits as a present many years ago and it was successful and fun too.  I can't remember the yield and as it was a present I have no idea of the cost. We kept it under the kitchen table as we had a teeny weeny house then.  Give it a go Dove you'll enjoy it and nothing better than something you have grown yourself.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,870

    Was it one of the ones that involves a log of wood, or straw, or manure (under the kitchen table - perhaps not) ?

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

    Years ago we had one of those kits that came in a polystyrene box. We had got mushrooms. It was a good game but would have been cheaper to buy mushrooms

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,478

    Same as Nut it was in a polystyrene box.  My guess is that it would have been cheaper to buy from the shop but we all enjoyed the anticipation.  You gets lots and lots to begin with then it fades off a bit.  Yours Dove sound a bit technical with logs,straw and manure.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,870

    OH has been looking at some of these - a polystene box sounds ok - but on the other hand, OH does get a staff discount on mushrooms (and other food) at the farm shop image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,111

    We also had a load of mushroom compost. it was delivered in the plastic bags they grow them in. some of them continued cropping for some time, but then they got little wigglers burrowing through the stem. I drew the line at the added protein so that was that. Last year we had a lot of what I think were horse mushrooms growing on the FYM we had, but being a wimp and unsure of the identification, they got chucked on the compost heap. i've been looking at the dowels you insert into a freshly cut log. I am going to remove a non fruiting plum, so I thought the logs could be used in this way.  I suspect it is still going to be cheaper to buy mushrooms from the shop.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • If cost of production and time spent in the garden were the only considerations then none of us would grow any veg. I'd love to have a go at mushrooms myself as i love them in soups, stirfrys and in omlettes. Did I not see Monty doing that thing with the wood and the dowls?

  • It's actually pretty easy to grow many varieties of mushrooms, although it is harder to grow some types. A super easy and attainable one for beginners is the white button mushroom, which is also a very popular mushrooms coincidently. There are instructions on this website:

  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 772
    I bought my BIL a kit from Espresso and he really enjoyed it. No messy manure or compost involved and sat inoffensively on the kitchen counter. I think they had about three or four crops from it and great fun watching them grow, apparently really quickly as well the first crop was ready in about two weeks

    I think the one I bought was Oyster mushrooms and my sister said she thought that they had had (my) monies worth.
  • TomskTomsk Posts: 204

    I bought a chestnut mushroom box kit from the pound shop that didn't grow very well. I slid the tray out, emptied the spores from the plastic bag onto the compost and woodshavings and watered it, and a week later there was lots of nice looking fungus growing over the top, with lots of little dots forming which I assumed would become mushrooms.

    The instructions said to spray water over them every day after this, but doing so seemed to kill the fungus, even though I mist-sprayed just a little water. In the end, two mushrooms grew, and they tasted lovely, but hardly worth a pound and a few weeks of waiting.

    I tried to re-use the kit and was even more gentle with the watering, but nothing grew at all. Well, a few tiny 'buds' formed, but never continued to grow into mushrooms.

    I gave up on the second attempt and stirred the contents of the tray and added a good bit of water, then left it in the box for a week. This third attempt resulted in a single mushroom growing.

    So after all that, I'm not sure if I'll bother growing mushrooms again. Besides, they have no more boxes in the pound shop.

  • lesinnllesinnl Posts: 35

    When back in the UK this year I purchased some seeds. When I came home I got a load of manure from my friend mixed it with straw as per directions on the packet, but still waiting for the manure to rot down enough...

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,406

    I've grown shiitake and oyster mushrooms in logs for years and this year im growing some different ones in a mix of leaf litter and wood chips.

    only sowed (is that the right term for spreading spores?) them this year so hopefully come autumn i'll have some wine caps and morel mushrooms! image

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,097

    Treehugger......what type of logs did you use for the Shitake and Oyster......hardwood or softwood ?  Have you used Willow at all ?

    Thanks in advanceimage

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,406

    hardwood is best, as most mushrooms don't particularly like conifer wood.

    I use oak and silver birch, it has to be fresh off the tree, otherwise other species of inedible fungus can set up home before you can inoculate with the species you want.

    the softer the wood (like willow) the shorter the time before the wood exhausts itself. I've had a 4 foot long 6 inch diameter oak log that's been producing shiitake for five years now, but I think its on its last legs now as its suddenly got very light!

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,097

    Treehugger..........thanks very much........yes, from what I'd read the fresh hardwood is definitely the best. 

    I see the point about the softer wood such as willow.......just that I have several large willow which have to be kept in check and seem to recall that these could be used at a push.

    Back to the drawing board for me I think.........I've done kits in the past with varying success but would prefer to do it the log way. 

    Just a thought........have you tried Chanterelle (sp ? ) of my favourites....used to pick loads from my little Oak wood when living in France.......only ever managed a couple of Truffles tho and they were tinyimage

    Thanks againimage


  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800 that name, that's what I want to be image


     I thought I'd share this, just because I took it the other day and didn't know where it belonged until Dove started a thread for it image It's proper round and flat, like a little table for the fairies image

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,097

    OL......where are the Fairies then ?  You could at least have set the table for them.......otherwise they will think you are a real Meanieimage

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Philippa, what a silly question......everyone knows you can't see fairies, they are hiding under the table until the camera goes away......I think they are living in my Sweet peas image

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,097

    OL..........Oh right........That'll be where I'm going wrong then...........I've been wondering why I never get any help in the garden..........they're all at your houseimage

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