Mushrooms are some of the most amazing things on this planet and constantly astound me. While not necessarily house plants, mushrooms are organisms that have evolved with humans for thousands and thousands of years. They help us heal, prevent cancer, can help create safe pesticides, clean up oil spills, and more. The amount these funky fungi are able to do is astounding, and many of us only think of them as a culinary addition.
If you would like to read a more in-depth article on how mushrooms can aid in your health, read the article titled, “How Mushrooms are Going To Save The World And Your Health.” It’s an in-depth look into how mushrooms heal, help us prevent disease and aid in ultimate health. You can also watch one of my heroes, Paul Stamets, explain how beneficial mushrooms can be in this video below.
As an acupuncturist and herbalist, mushrooms are a huge part of my materia medica, prescribing them to patients on a daily basis. For example, Reishi mushrooms are some of the most nutritionally packed foods:
“The amount of research done on reishi is short of miraculous, with many Chinese and Japanese doctors using it alongside modern Western pharmaceuticals for a myriad of diseases such asautoimmune disorders, cancer, as well as bacterial and viral diseases. And while the existence of a spirit can be debated eternally, reishi has been shown to help relax the mind, calm the nervous system and help the body adapt to stress; otherwise known as an adaptogen.
Adaptogens are an important classification of herbs, which must meet certain criteria; be completely nontoxic, and must have a broad use for health both mentally and physically. Adaptogens literally help the body adapt to stress; whether the stress be physical, like running a marathon, or mental the stress of watching Brittany Spears act in a movie.” (http://www.polkpuncture.com/thehealthyhuman/2015/9/24/how-mushrooms-are-going-to-save-the-world)
The amount of good they can do for all of us is wonderful, but did you know you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to get these nutritionally packed foods? You don’t have to settle for button mushrooms anymore, you can grow your own!
You can grow anything from Oyster mushrooms to Morel mushrooms, shiitake, maitake and more, and you don’t have to be in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to enjoy the benefits of finding mushrooms all around you. We should make mushrooms a greater part of our everyday lives, create more medicinals, eat more fungi and truly benefit from what they can give to us. So how do you even begin to grow mushrooms at home? Well here is a little guide.
How To Grow Mushrooms At Home
Choose your mushrooms
To begin, you must decide which mushrooms you will want to grow first. To begin with, I would suggest going with a more basic type of mushroom such as the button variety. These are ideal for beginner mushroom growers, as you won’t be as upset if things don’t work out, and Shitake, Maitake, and other types are more expensive and much more delicate. Also, button mushrooms are everywhere, you’ve probably eaten them and know how to handle them. Thus, it will be easier for you to decide whether or not you did a good job. I like going with the introductory set called, “Mushroom Growing 4 You.” What’s nice about this set, is it not only gives you the starter kit for the mushrooms but also videos, a guide and excess amounts of information from an expert mushroom grower. This is the absolute best way to begin.
Find a Growing Medium
.Once you decide to buy spores or spawns (the seedlings of mushrooms), you’ll need to get a growing medium. If you chose an introductory kit, they’ll usually give you the growing medium as part of the deal. What I mean by growing medium is what the mushrooms like to grow on top of—-hardwood, sawdust, manure, etc. You’ll also need to find a place in the home that will be cool and damp as those are the ideal conditions for mushrooms. This can be the basement, an unused cabinet or closet, or anywhere where you can control the light, humidity, and temperature. Basically, any sketchy or scary part of the house will do.
Once you have the location and the growing medium figured out, you’ll want to place the growing medium in a pan and increase the temperature to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also do this by using a heating pad. Place the spawn (seeds) on the medium. In approximately 3 weeks, the spawn (seeds) will have rooted into the medium. Once this happens, drop the temperature to about 55 degrees, which is the best temperature for growing mushrooms.
- Cover the spawn with potting soil(1 inch or so), cover with a damp cloth and spray the cloth with water as it dries. You’ll start seeing your medicinal mushrooms in a few weeks!
Here is a “how-to” video with more in depth instructions.
Mushrooms are some of the most amazing organisms cohabitating our plant and we should feel incredibly lucky to have them. With time and patience, you can have your very own mushroom garden, a medicinal fungi grove awaiting in your house, ready to be utilized by you and your eager friends. Don’t wait to enhance your indoor garden with these wonderful substances, start learning now so you can savor them later.