Growing Mushrooms and Studying Mycology

Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday Story

Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday StoryI never knew fungi were so fascinating. They aren’t really plants and they aren’t animals either, they are in a kingdom all of their own.

We were at the farmers’ market recently and there was a new stallholder selling all kinds of interestingly shaped mushrooms. Usually we only see the regular old button mushrooms, so this was quite a treat.

All these different kinds of mushrooms really sparked an interest in me; I kept thinking, I wonder how difficult it is to grow mushrooms. Mushrooms aren’t seasonal, they don’t need any fertiliser or weeding and from what I’ve read, apart from keeping them cool and damp and in a shady spot, pretty much do all the work themselves.

It’s nice sometimes to welcome children into our interests. I’ve been reading about mushroom farming as well as mycology (the study of fungi) and really wanted to add some mushrooms to our kitchen garden. This is a great segment from Gardening Australia about growing mushrooms which Jack (7yrs) and Sarah (5yrs) found interesting. It prompted me to contact some local mushroom farms about a tour – I’m hopeful they’ll agree to show us around 🙂

Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday StoryI really love the idea of creating a mushroom log but that seemed a little advanced… for now… It seemed like the best place to start was with a small mushroom growing kit.

This one is an oyster mushroom kit from Modern Teaching Aids. You can also order from Amazon just make sure to check the purchasing options; there’s a subscription purchase and a one-off. You can also buy larger kits of button mushrooms from gardening stores.

I really like the look of these kits too from Milton Mushrooms. I think I might try some of the live grain spawn when I am feeling a little more confident.

How to Grow Mushrooms

Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday StoryIt seems pretty simple. You cut open the bag and soak the soil for eight hours and then keep it moist over the next week while the mushrooms grow. I’m excited to see them start to pop out their little heads! I’ve set the mushroom box on a tray with a small jar of water and a pipette so Jack and Sarah can water it daily. As well as a clipboard and pens for them to sketch their observations.

Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday StoryWhile we are waiting, the kids and I are reading about how mushrooms actually grow; what is going on under the soil there? These lifecycle of a mushroom cards are from Montessori Child (ours were a custom order) and the Illustrated Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools is from DK. I bought ours from a local bookstore but you can order it here too.

Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday Story Mushroom Growing Kits for Kids - Mushroom Inquiry - How Do Mushrooms Grow - An Everyday StoryIt’s been such a warm autumn (still mid-twenties during the day!) that we haven’t been able to see any wild mushrooms. I am hopeful though that the weather will cool down soon and we’ll get some rain so we can see some of the beautiful wild mushrooms in nature. A friend suggested we try the Rainforest Gully at the Botanic Gardens and see what we can find, so I think a trip might be in order.

Have you ever grown mushrooms before?

13 Replies to “Growing Mushrooms and Studying Mycology”

  1. Jennifer says:

    You do such fascinating things& I love that this is an interest of yours. I’ve never grown mushrooms, so I’m excited to see how yours grow. The mushroom log sounds fascinating.

    1. Thanks Jennifer 🙂 The kids have been really great too, even though it’s an interest of mine. It’s like they want to help me to learn more. It’s wonderful.

  2. No but I’ve been thinking about it. One of the ladies from Robertson crop swap is doing shiitake mushrooms in a log. It looks like an amazing process!!!
    Have you heard of the MushroomTunnel in the Highlands??? I’m pretty sure they do tours – Jamie Oliver went there when he visited Sydney.

    1. Those logs do look amazing, don’t they? Using the spores though scared me a little as a beginner but they look incredible and it’s definitely something I want to try. Can you imagine having one in the garden?! I’d love it so much. It would be such a talking point – they look so interesting.

      I haven’t heard of the Mushroom Tunnel but I think it is something that I MUST see!!

  3. Lydia purple says:

    I grew up in a house next to the forest in Europe. We used to go to the forest all the time picking mushrooms and cooking them up at home. We actually learned all the edible vs. poisonous kinds in school. Now here in the Middle East we can buy champions and shiitake. That’s about it. I sometimes miss all the tasty varieties from my childhood! Such a great idea to grow mushrooms.

    1. We used to pick mushrooms too with my aunt. She taught us what to look for to see whether it’s poisonous or not. I really want to find some in nature to show the kids. It’s been rainy for the last couple of days and the weather has finally cooled so we might have some luck. In our supermarkets you basically get button mushrooms (are they the same as champignon?) and that’s it. Not even shiitake 🙁 That’s why I was so surprised to see all the wonderfully shaped ones at the farmers markets. It’s such a shame that we don’t have more variety; those button mushrooms aren’t very flavoursome.

  4. Lydia purple says:

    champignon Not champions

  5. Another homeschooling blogger I follow had a son who was interested in mushrooms a couple years ago. Her posts on the subject might be of interest:

    Good luck in growing your mushrooms!

    1. That’s wonderful 🙂 Thank you. I’ll check it out.

  6. What a fascinating project. We eat alot of mushrooms, they are quiet expensive! I will be interested to see how big the yield is from that one box.

    1. I am really keen to see too how many mushrooms we get from this box. I think though the kids are just excited to see them grow and I just wanted to see how easy it was to grow mushrooms. But it’s going so well at the moment. They really are so fascinating to watch. I’m definitely going to try growing some different varieties on a larger scale next time.

  7. Mushrooms are seasonal, depending on where you live most mushrooms fruit during the fall and/or spring. Do plenty of research. At first glance it may seem like they are easy to grow, but just like gardening and farming, there is so much more that goes into it. I have been growing mushrooms for a few years now and there is still so much we do not know about them and many species yet to be undiscovered even in the mushroom communities. Great post! I love to see mushrooms getting the attention they deserve, because they are so much more important than people think.

  8. Wow! how cool! Please post photos of when they get bigger. You got me curious also

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