If you haven’t given the joy of home-grown organic mushroom cultivation a go yet due to lack of space that is relatively stable in temperature and high humidity, it might be time you had a little rethink.
What if we told you that everyone had an ideal spot in their home for growing mushrooms. You’re in an apartment? Yep, you have one. Live in a dry environment? You still have a great spot.
Yes indeed, your bathroom is a mushroom growing space waiting to happen.
Whether you’re cultivating shiitake, oyster varieties, enoki or any other saprophytic species, your bathroom can help to create the perfect environment for your mushrooms in their fruiting stage.
Given that it’s the room in your house in which many hot showers are taken, it is generally more moist and humid than other rooms in your house.
It’s easy to clean (with natural cleaners of course!) and importantly, it’s also convenient – you’re in there every day so it becomes very easy to remember to give them a bit of a mist spray as you pass by.
Buckets, bags and logs – all growing mediums work in this scenario.
At Milkwood, we’ve set ours up in a little plastic greenhouse we had in order to keep them a little warmer. We also give the humidity levels a little boost by keeping a tray at the bottom of perlite, filled almost to the top with water.
You could alternatively include a small humidifier. Or you can do without and see how you go with just a daily mist or two of water.
If you’re inoculating your own mushrooms at home it might be worth doing that stage in a different space other than your bathroom for two reasons:
Firstly, to ensure a mould-free environment as much as possible. While there is minimal risk of mould inhabiting your setup while the mushrooms are in their fruiting stage, there is a small risk of this during the inoculation stage.
Not that it’s hugely dangerous, but it’s good to be safe and as clean as possible during inoculation to ensure a good outcome.
Somewhere such as a deck outside or a balcony is a good idea.
The second reason for carrying out the inoculation stage somewhere else in your home before moving to the bathroom is that a change in environment can help encourage your mycelium to begin the mushroom growth or fruiting stage.
An increase in light and fresh air flow and a change to a cooler and more moist environment are all things that encourage the fruiting stage to begin.
Once your mycelium is colonised – and if you are picking up a mushroom kit that is already well inoculated and colonised, the process is simple and begins here – pop it into a nice cosy spot in your bathroom.
Keep your bathroom clean (using natural cleaners for the sake of yourself and the mushrooms) and give them a mist with a water spray bottle each day.
You’ll be frying those tasty shrooms up with garlic and butter in no time.
If you want to learn how to propagate your own mushrooms from scratch, we teach Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation courses in Sydney and beyond.
Or read more how-to and why-to articles about mushroom cultivation with logs, woodchip gardens, bags and even laundry baskets here.
~ words by Emma Bowen with input from Nick Ritar (resident milkwood mushroom grower)