The biggest advantage of growing mushrooms in the garden is that you can be sure that they are free from contaminants. They are also guaranteed to be fresh, which is not always the case with store-bought mushrooms. Mushroom cultivation is actually not difficult at all and you have the choice between different varieties. Diversity is also possible, not just taste. Mushroom cultures are possible on straw, wood or ready-made substrate. You buy mushroom spawn and continue cultivating it until harvest, all very simple. In principle, anyone who owns a garden can grow their own mushrooms. There are even mushroom cultures that are suitable for growing indoors or in an apartment.

Which mushrooms are suitable for growing yourself?

There are numerous types of mushrooms that can be grown either at home or in the garden. First and foremost is the mushroom. Mushroom oysters are also very popular, for example the lemon oyster mushroom, which tastes slightly of lemon, the rose oyster mushroom, the velvet bonnet and the pom pom blanc. If you like noble mushrooms, you can also grow some of them, for example the shiitake, the king oyster mushroom, the oyster mushroom. Porcini mushrooms cannot be grown in the garden yet.

Mushrooms – a genus of their own

Mushrooms are difficult to classify. They aren’t really plants at all, because they don’t have chlorophyll and don’t carry out photosynthesis. Instead, they live on dying organic matter. Edible mushrooms are cap mushrooms. They consist of thread-like, chlorophyll-free white structures, the mycelium, which weave through the substrate. Many groups of fungi live in symbiosis with trees. They form a kind of community. Both benefit from it. The porcini mushroom belongs to this group.

Growing mushrooms – ready-made cultures

Ready cultures are the easiest way to cultivate mushrooms. It is particularly suitable for beginners or mushroom friends who would like to try breeding. The ready-to-use mushroom cultures consist of a substrate block made of sawdust and some additives. Everything is in a plastic bag. You have to reckon with a purchase price of 10 to 40 euros.

With the ready-made cultures, it is important to always follow the enclosed instructions. In this way nothing can really go wrong. In most cases, the substrate block simply has to be incised or cut open. Sometimes it can also be removed completely from the bag. With some types of mushrooms, some soil must be mixed in. Contact with oxygen stimulates fungal growth. The block is placed at 10 to 20° C in the house or garden. It is important to moisturize it regularly. The bale should not dry out. The first mushrooms can often be harvested after just four weeks. Sometimes it takes up to 12 weeks. Depending on the volume of substrate, up to three more harvests can follow. There are a few weeks or months in between.

mushroom spawn

Mushroom spawn come in different forms, depending on whether you want to grow them on wood, straw, or various substrate mixes. The so-called grain spawn is very popular. The mushroom network is spun around grain or millet grains. These organic nutrients are the nutritional basis of the mycelium. The advantage of grain spawn is that it mixes very well with substrates. In addition, the culture is easy to pack in cans or bags. Grain spawn is particularly popular for professional mushroom cultivation and for inoculating stems.

In the case of substrate spawn, fermented straw meal, straw chaff or simply sawdust are used instead of grains. As a rule, straw bales or soaked straw pellets are spiked with it. You simply break the mass apart, for example into pieces the size of a nut, which must be permeated with mycelium.
There is also the stick brood. This is particularly suitable for spiking trunks or straw bales.

Mushroom spawn should be used quickly after purchase or delivery. At temperatures between 2 and 12°C, however, it can be kept for 12 months. After that, at the latest, it must be processed. The lower the temperatures, the longer the shelf life. It is important that no bacteria or mold spores get to the brood at any time. It is therefore safest to always wear disposable gloves when handling the mushroom spawn. If infected with any pathogen, the entire brood can die.

Mushroom cultivation with spawn on straw bales

Mushroom growing on straw bales is best for oyster mushrooms and brown caps. It is also possible for rose oyster mushrooms and lemon oyster mushrooms. This type of culture does not work for the other mushrooms. A stick or grain brood is used.
A high-pressure pressed, untreated straw bale is used for this mushroom cultivation. Wheat straw or barley straw is most suitable. The bale must not be too old, maximum one year. It is important that nothing is damp and there is no mold growth. The size 50x50x100cm is completely sufficient for the beginner.

The best time to start breeding is in April or May. The bale is soaked in a rain barrel, an old bathtub or another sufficiently large and suitable container for two days. Clear tap water is used. Then the bale has to drain for a whole day. It must not be too wet. More preparation is not necessary. Finally, the stick or grain brood can be released.

  • Drill holes in the bales with dipping wood, spacing about 20 cm
  • Put the brood in the holes, at least 15cm deep
  • close the holes again
  • then cover the bale with foil
    • Foil increases humidity and provides ideal growing conditions
  • better wrap the entire bale with foil
    • Lack of oxygen promotes mycelium growth
    • However, the casting is quite tedious
  • Optimum growth conditions for the mycelium at temperatures between 20 and 25°C, with constant humidity
  • After 5 to 6 weeks the bale is penetrated by the mycelium
  • Always keep the straw moist, but never too wet
  • If everything goes according to plan, a fine web will appear after about 3 weeks
  • Already three weeks: first harvest
  • Usually there are 2 to 3 more harvests
    • always at intervals of 3 to 4 weeks (depending on the weather)
  • harvest about 6kg of mushrooms from a bale
  • After that, the straw is exhausted and cannot provide nourishment for the mycelium

Straw pellets can also be used instead of straw bales. They are suitable for the above-mentioned mushrooms, but also for king oyster mushrooms and ink caps. The straw pellets must also be moistened. They swell. Then the grain or substrate spawn is mixed in. The mass is filled into plastic bags and these are tied. A few air holes are important, which must be pierced so that the culture can breathe. The bags are stored at about 15°C in a shady place. The foil can usually be removed after about 3 weeks, when the white mycelium appears. From this point on, the culture needs more light, but no sun.

If you don’t have a garden, you can also grow mushrooms on the balcony. Pots filled with straw pellets are used. Here, too, the pellets must be moistened in a larger vessel and swell until they fall apart. Then water is added and stirred until a paste forms. In this, the substrate spawn is evenly distributed. The mass is distributed in pots or other vessels that must have a water outlet at the bottom and are sealed with foil. They stay like this for 6 to 10 days, preferably not too bright, rather shady. During this time, the mixture ferments. It must be ensured that the mass is moist but not wet. Excess water must be able to drain off. Do not use a coaster. The first harvest can take place after four to six weeks.

Mushroom cultivation with spawn on wooden trunks

For growing mushrooms on trunks, 2 to 3 one meter long hardwood trunks with a diameter of 20 to 50 cm are used. These trunks must be fairly fresh, no more than 5 months old after hitting. The wood must be healthy and must not show any mold. Almost any hardwood species is suitable. Oak, beech, birch and poplar are ideal. Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms can be cultivated.

Since the mycelium grows through the stem most quickly in the direction of the fibers, the cut inoculation method is best suited. The fungal culture on wood is extremely productive. After vaccination, mushrooms can be harvested about 7 years. With the cutting inoculation method, the log with a diameter of at least 10 cm is sawn in against the direction of the grain so deeply that there is still stability, i.e. saw in about 2/3. The trunk must not break when it is opened later. The cut must be so wide that the grain spawn can be easily filled in. 3 to 4 incisions are made alternately on the trunk. That’s where the brood comes in. Fill in as far as possible so that there are no cavities. Completely fill incision and seal with tape, wax, or lard.

  • Shiitake Mushrooms – Water stem, it must be fully submerged, drain and inoculate with stick or seed spawn
  • Oyster Mushrooms – water trunk, brood requires ground contact via the wooden trunk. After inoculation, the lower end of the trunk must be buried about 20 cm deep in a shady place. Watch out for snails, they can do a lot of damage.

Store the logs at a minimum of 10°C and a maximum of 25°C, in a shady place, for 8 to 10 weeks. Dehydration must be prevented. It is ideal to cover the trunks with damp cloths or linen bags. Foils can also be used, but must have air holes. Watch the tribes. When the mycelium has grown through the trunk, this can be seen at the cutting and inoculation points, the cover is removed. Store stems in the shade or bury halfway. Water when dry. The first harvest with this method occurs after 5 to 18 months, depending on when you start growing.

Another method is borehole inoculation. Here, about 3 cm deep holes in wooden dowel thickness are drilled at a distance of about 20 cm in a spiral arrangement around the trunk. One rod brood goes into each of these holes. The hole must be sealed, preferably with candle wax. The trunk must then be stored in a shady place, at a maximum of 25°C. After about 6 months, the mycelium has penetrated the trunk (softwood). Hardwood can take twice as long.

Mushroom cultivation directly in soil

Growing mushrooms in soil is only possible on forest plots. The conditions of the forest cannot be created artificially. A shady wooded edge with humus-rich soil is also favourable. In this way, oyster mushrooms, brown caps, king oyster mushrooms, mutabilis and Tuscany mushrooms can be grown. As with pot culture, wood pellets are used that have to swell beforehand. A hole measuring 50 x 50 cm and 15 cm deep must be dug in the garden. Half of the swollen mass goes in there. The brood is distributed on the straw (substrate, grain or stick brood), nice and evenly. Then comes the rest of the straw-pellet pulp. The mixture must be gently pressed and covered with a layer of soil about 2 cm thick. The first mushrooms appear after just 4 to 12 weeks.


Mushroom cultivation is possible both outdoors and indoors. The brood is usually delivered as a ready culture in the substrate that has grown through. Covering soil is usually included in an extra bag. The substrate is simply spread out in a seed tray and covered with soil. Then you cover the vessel with a plastic hood, as it belongs to a seed tray. Everything needs to be kept moist. The culture thrives at temperatures between 12 and 20°C. Once the mycelium has penetrated everything, the cover is removed. The mushrooms need fresh air. Can be harvested every two weeks. After about 5 months the substrate is exhausted.

Conclusion Growing
mushrooms yourself seems to be quite easy. I haven’t tried it yet, but I can imagine trying to do so. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. The range of mushroom cultures is large. Before you buy, you should find out what you need to know and which dealers supply good material. In any case, I wouldn’t start with the logs right away, but rather start small, probably with the straw or the pellets. If that works, you can also venture on larger projects.

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