Learning how to grow edible and medicinal mushrooms in your home garden is a great way to increase your household’s resilience, enhance your garden’s soil – and make your tummy very happy, all at once.
And it’s safe, easy and even potentially free, once you have the basic bits you need.
The best bit about mushroom gardens? You don’t need any fancy equipment or ingredients at all – you can get started with a few foraged mushrooms (ID-ed correctly, of course) and some cardboard… and then slowly grow from there, up to an abundant garden of mushroomy goodness.
Below, there’s the recording of a live mini-workshop we just did to show you how. This technique is a snippet from inside our online Home Mushroom Cultivation course… which is open for bookings this week! The full rundown of the course is here…
Mushroom gardens are a much-loved part of our backyard growing system – they’re easy to get going, support our garden ecosystem as they grow, and then, with very little fuss, pop up as regular harvests of tasty mushrooms for our breakfast.
And you don’t even need a garden to grow mushrooms like this – a tub on your balcony or back step can work well for this DIY growing technique, too.
Over the years, we’ve learned all about the ins and outs of successful mushroom garden cultivation – and we’d love to share our tried and tested, home-gold-standard, go-to techniques with you, for maximum mushrooms for everyone.
Once you understand the basics of creating a mushroom garden, the fungi-filled sky is your limit – you can experiment with different edible species that suit this technique (not all mushrooms grow this way! But we cover that in the workshop below) and try out all kinds of varied ways to bring mushrooms into your garden – solid in the knowledge that whatever you grow will be safe to eat and delicious.
In the mini-workshop below, we cover…
- Why mushrooms gardens are such a great idea
- What edible mushrooms can be grown in gardens
- The bits & pieces you’ll need (not much)
- How to choose and prep a spot for your garden
- How to prepare wood chips to grow your mushrooms
- Four different ways to inoculate your garden
- How to take care of your mushroom garden
- How to harvest your mushrooms
- How to ensure your mushroom garden keeps giving you mushroomy love for years
- What resources to look at next for further learning
So… that’s a beginner’s overview of mushroom gardens. Keen to make one at your place? If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below and we’ll help you out.
Now – some resources for you. Firstly, here’s our free mushroom cultivation guide, which includes an overview on mushroom gardens…
Secondly, you might want to also check out our Life Cycle of Fungi guide to get a better understanding of how fungi grows – they’re pretty amazing lifeforms!
And understanding their life cycle will really help you troubleshoot and plan for a successful mushroom garden.
Great mushroom species for gardens:
Our favourite for beginner mushroom garden makers are…
And some other suitable species mentioned in the workshop…
- Pearl oyster – Pleurotus ostreatus
- Shaggy mane – Coprinus comatus (hard to get commercial spawn – use stem-butt technique)
When is the best time to start your garden?
Everyone’s climate is different and each different species of mushroom will thrive in slightly different growing conditions… so how do you know when to start your garden?
Your mycelium will take a few months to run through the substrate, so it’s best to avoid exposing it to freezing winters or hot dry summers during this early phase. Extreme temperatures could kill your freshly inoculated bed or tub, but once the mycelium is established it will be a lot more hardy.
It’s generally best to establish your garden in the milder part of the year, when the temperature is unlikely to go below freezing or above 30C (90F).
In places with hot dry summers where the soil will not freeze in winter, it’s best to start your garden in autumn/fall or early spring to give it the best chance.
In places with very cold winters, it’s best to start your garden in late spring to early summer, this way your garden will have time to get established before having to deal with very cold temperatures. If your climate is very cold you may have to protect your bed with a greenhouse of some kind, or bring your tub indoors.
More resources for how to grow mushrooms at home
- our Home Mushroom Cultivation course provides a whole mini-course on mushroom gardens (as well as growing on logs, and in buckets also)
- Milkwood book – there’s a whole chapter on Mushroom growing in here!
- All our mushroom cultivation resources
- Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation – great book by Tradd Cotter
- Radical Mycology – great book by Peter McCoy
- How to Build and Plant a Wine Cap Stropharia Mushroom Bed – video from Forest + Field
- Cultivating and Cooking Garden Giants – with Paul Stamets – great video
- King Stropharia (Wine Cap) recipes – from field and forest
And lastly – where to get spawn?
Here’s some good places we know of:
Aussie Mushroom Supplies – a good source of grain spawn located in Victoria, Australia – ships to all states in AU.
- SporeShift Mushrooms – source of grain spawn located in North Canterbury, New Zealand.
- NZ cultures – source of grain spawn located in New Zealand, passionate about growing native varieties.
- Field & Forest – a good source of grain spawn located in Wisconsin, USA.
- SouthWest Mushrooms – Urban mushroom farm and good source of grain spawn, located in Arizona, USA.
- North Spore – source of grain spawn located in Maine, USA.
- Fungi Ally – source of grain spawn located in Massachusetts, USA.
- Fungi Perfecti – Pauls Stamets’ company offers a range of grain and plug spawn products located in Washington State, USA. Currently only selling “Master” spawn which is too expensive for regular use – August 2021.
- Mushroom Hobby – source of grain spawn shipping only within Canada
- Ann Miller’s Specialty Mushrooms – source of grain spawn located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
- Tyroler Glückspilze – spawn supplier based in Austria.
- Shii-Take – grain spawn supplier based in Germany.
- Mycelia – large European supplier based in Belgium.
- MushRush – source of grain spawn located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
- Funguys Gourmet – source of grain spawn located in Western Cape, South Africa.
Let us know how you go? And ask any Qs you have below and we’ll do our best to answer.
Thanks to everyone who came along to the live workshop! If you’d like a note when the next one is happening, hop onto our ace Newsletter here, and we will let you know. Happy shrooming, all x
We acknowledge that permaculture (and all the other skills we share and teach) owes the roots of its theory and practice to traditional and Indigenous knowledges, from all over the world. We all stand on the shoulders of many ancestors – as we learn, and re-learn, these skills and concepts. We pay our deepest respects and give our heartfelt thanks to these knowledge-keepers, both past and present.