I 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 🙂
I 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
It 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.
While 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.
It’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?