Growing Mushrooms

growing mushrooms

Growing mushrooms can be easy and fun. If you love mushrooms, then it makes sense to grow your own. Gourmet mushrooms can be grown easily from spawn purchased online. In this article, I’m going to show you how to grow your own mushrooms from spawn in a backyard or greenhouse.

One thing I love about the people in the Ozarks is the sense of being self-sufficient. Many people I have met are really proud of growing their own vegetable gardens. However, many people don’t know that it’s pretty easy to get into growing mushrooms at home. Fresh mushrooms can provide a year-round treat. They are both nutritious and tasty.

The Basics of Growing Mushrooms

Many people don’t realize that growing mushrooms can be done in a greenhouse, a backyard, or even a basement. To grow them in a greenhouse, you might need to change a few things or grow them in the cooler months. But a basement would be a superb area because these little edible fungi can’t stand too much light. They can tolerate a little light, but most prefer the environment to be dark and damp.

For success in growing mushrooms, you also need to provide them with a stable temperature range. They grow best in temperatures between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature gets much above 60 degrees, it will cause problems for your mushroom harvest. Mushrooms like the air to be moist, so being able to provide an environment with high humidity is also crucial.

You’ll notice that when you see mushrooms growing in the wild, they usually aren’t growing in the soil. This means when you are growing mushrooms, you’ll need to provide the right growing medium. This will depend on the type of edible mushrooms you decide to grow. some mushrooms are only found growing on wood, and some prefer grains or other composted material/

There are two ways to get started growing mushrooms. The method you choose will depend upon the harvest you want from your mushroom-growing operation. If you just plan to start out small, then a log of wood will work for a growing medium. Don’t be surprised that it could be that simple. In the woods, you see many varieties of mushrooms growing on logs and old tree stumps. You just need to choose a log of a reasonably hard type of wood, such as oak or hickory.

Once you have your log, you’ll need to drill some holes in it and fill them with mushroom spawn you can purchase online. For instance, if you love Shiitake mushrooms, you can purchase spawn plugs here. Just drill a hole and place the spawn in the hole. Here is a link to some gourmet oyster mushroom spawn dowels too.

You can either keep these in the area where you grow mushrooms, so you can control when they bear fruit, or you can inoculate some logs or stumps on your property and let nature take its course. Either way, you get to enjoy some gourmet mushrooms you grow yourself.

If, on the other hand, you want to take your operation to a larger level, you will need to bed them in trays with a specialized growing medium. You can make your own growing medium with some compost mixed with straw or straw and horse or cattle manure. Then you can simply decide how many mushrooms you want to grow and scale up or down depending on your needs.

How Long Does It Take To Grow Mushrooms?

Many people have questions about how long it takes to grow mushrooms. This really depends on the variety of mushrooms you choose, your growing medium, and the conditions in the place you choose to grow them. Mushrooms are the fruit from mycelium that grows throughout the growing medium. The mycelium from fungi is found throughout the soil. Some form a symbiotic relationship with certain trees, such as the beloved morel mushroom. So the answer to the question about how long it takes to grow mushrooms is, really, it depends. There are so many factors that can affect when mushrooms appear that there really isn’t a definitive answer to this question.

I just got my first Shiitake mushrooms from spawn I started on logs about 2 years ago. So patience is the key. But when the conditions become right, they will appear.

Growing Mushrooms Can Benefit Your Health

Growing mushrooms can also be a great way to help improve the health of you and your family. If you purchase store-bought mushrooms, they can contain low nutrient values due to commercial farming practices. There is also the risk of consuming pesticides and other chemicals from those same farming practices. Growing your mushrooms organically avoids these risks.

Mushrooms provide a good source of protein, so they are a good way to supplement your protein intake. This is especially useful if you are a vegetarian or you don’t want to keep animals for food. Mushrooms are an excellent alternative source of protein. They can provide you with a reliable source of organic protein for the entire family.

Getting Started Growing Mushrooms

If you want to take the guesswork out of growing mushrooms, then we recommend you check out this guide. The Mushroom Growing 4 You guide will help you take the guesswork out of growing mushrooms at home for healthy meals or for-profit if that is your interest. This guide contains over 155 pages and online videos to make sure you are successful in growing your own mushrooms from your very first try.

What You’ll Need

The first thing you need to gather is some hardwood logs that have been cut up and left to season for about 3 weeks. Oak is the best, but almost any hardwood logs will work. While you are seasoning your logs, you can go ahead and order your spawn.

For this article, I am doing two varieties of gourmet mushroom spawn. The mushroom spawn I am using comes inoculated on wooden dowels and they are ready to use. The varieties are Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms. If you are going to try growing your own gourmet mushrooms, I would like to ask that you use the affiliate links below. We will earn a small commission, which helps us to maintain this blog.

Order Shiitake Mushroom Spawn

shiitake mushrooms on log

Click Here to Purchase

Oyster Mushroom Spawn

benefits of oyster mushrooms

Click Here to Purchase

Gather Your Tools

Once you have your seasoned logs and your mushroom spawn dowels it’s time to get your spawn placed in the logs. The first step is to gather the tools you will need.

Tools You Need

You are going to need a tape measure, a small hammer, a drill and a 5/16″ bit, and a permanent marker to mark the drill bit. You will also need beeswax to seal the hole once the dowel is inserted into your log. I have provided a link to the beeswax below. You can use either white or yellow beeswax.

First, place one of the dowels next to your drill bit. Place a mark just a little above the length of the dowel. You want the holes you drill to be slightly deeper than the dowel is long. That way you can drive the dowel just under the surface of the bark on the log.

Note- be sure you choose logs with the bark intact. This is important for the success of the mushroom mycelium which will be growing within the wood of your log.

Drill The Holes For Your Gourmet Mushroom Spawn

Now we are ready to start drilling the holes in the log. You want the holes you drill on the top part of the log. Don’t put them on the bottom of the log because the mushrooms will not be able to fruit.

Here is how I drill my holes:

Pilot holes
Pilot Holes

You want the log you are using to lie normally on the ground and not roll over when you place it in the garden. Test it and find where it will lie balanced.

Now you can drill the pilot holes. To do this drill an initial pilot hole at one end of the log on top. Drill a row of additional holes spaced five inches apart down the length of the log. Next, make 2 more rows 2″ on each side of the first row. I know it’s hard to see the pilot holes in the photo above. You can click the photo to see a larger image.

It may be a little easier to see in the next photo. Drill out each hole to the mark on your drill bit.

Drill Holes
Log With Holes For Dowels Drilled

Melt Beeswax

Once you have the holes drilled it’s time to get out your double boiler and melt the beeswax. If you don’t have a double boiler just use a mason jar and a saucepan filled with water. Place the beeswax in the jar and place the jar in the water as shown below.

Melt Beeswax
Melt Beeswax In A Double Boiler

Insert Gourmet Mushroom Spawn Into Log

While the beeswax is slowly melting in the double boiler you can put the dowels in your log. You’ll see a white substance on the wooden dowels. This is the mushroom spawn that you are placing into the log so it will grow and produce mushrooms for you.

Place the dowels in the holes you drilled as shown below.

Place Dowels of gourmet mushroom spawn
Dowels Containing Mushroom Spawn Placed In Holes

At this point, you want to gently drive the dowels into the holes you drilled. The dowels should lie just below the surface of the bark.

Once the dowels are all driven in you will take the melted beeswax and place a little over each dowel to seal them as shown below.

Seal With Beeswax- ready for gourmet mushrooms
Dowels Sealed With Beeswax

Once the holes are sealed with the beeswax you need to place the log in a dark spot in your garden. It will take anywhere from 6-12 months for the mycelium to spread through the log and be ready to fruit. Once the conditions are right your gourmet mushrooms will burst forth from the log and be ready to harvest. Each log will provide you with gourmet mushrooms for years.

So there you have it, an easy way to grow your own gourmet mushrooms. If you like this article be sure and bookmark our blog so you can read more articles about the Ozarks. You also might like to follow us on Facebook and join our Lost In The Ozarks Facebook group.

September 2021 Update

shiitake mushrooms on log
shiitake mushroom harvest

Today we got our first large harvest of Shiitake mushrooms from the logs I added spawn to in the fall of 2019. If you decide to grow your own mushrooms, be sure and practice patience. It took a full 2 years to get a large harvest of more than a few at a time. I turned over one of the logs and the mycelium had completely covered the wood under the bark, and the fruiting bodies had literally pushed through the bark. I will sauté them tonight in some butter and we will be having gourmet mushrooms we grew ourselves!

Spring 2023 Update

We have once again harvested a significant amount of Shiitake mushrooms from the logs we inoculated with the dowels. Last year we got both a Spring and a Fall flush. It looks like we will get the same thing this year. The logs are still looking good and I expect several more years of flushes before the logs finally break down.

Be sure and check out all the informative articles on our Natural Living Blog.


Q: What kind of logs do shiitake mushrooms grow on?
A: Shiitake mushrooms grow best on logs made of hardwoods such as oak, maple, and sweetgum.

Q: How many mushrooms will a shiitake log produce?
A: The number of mushrooms a shiitake log will produce depends on the size of the log, the number of inoculation sites, and the conditions in which the log is kept. A standard 4-foot log can produce many pounds of mushrooms over its lifetime.

Q: What time of year do you inoculate shiitake logs?
A: The best time to inoculate shiitake logs is in the spring, after the threat of frost has passed and before the weather gets too hot. This is typically in late March to early April or late September to early October.

Q: How often do shiitake logs fruit?
A: Shiitake logs can fruit several times a year, depending on the conditions. Typically, logs will fruit every six months to a year, with the most fruiting occurring in the spring and fall.

Q: How long does it take to grow shiitake mushrooms on a log?
A: It takes about 6-18 months for shiitake mushrooms to fully colonize a log. After that, the log will begin to fruit mushrooms.

Q: How long will a shiitake log produce?
A: A shiitake log can produce mushrooms for up to 8 years or longer, depending on the size of the log, the number of inoculation sites, and the conditions in which the log is kept.

Q: How long does it take to grow oyster mushrooms on a log?
A: It takes about 6-12 months for oyster mushrooms to fully colonize a log. After that, the log will begin to fruit mushrooms.

Q: What kind of logs do oyster mushrooms grow on?
A: Oyster mushrooms grow best on logs made of hardwoods such as oak, maple, and beech.

Q: What is the best wood to inoculate oyster mushrooms?
A: The best wood to inoculate oyster mushrooms is fresh-cut hardwood logs from trees such as oak, maple, and beech.

Q: How long to soak logs for mushrooms?
A: Logs should be soaked for at least 12 hours to allow them to absorb enough moisture for the mushroom mycelium to grow. Some growers recommend soaking logs for up to 24 hours.

error: All images are copyrighted 2019-2022 Lost In The Ozarks or Gary Davis Photography. All Rights Reserved.
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