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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mushroom Growing Experiment

In the past we have tried mushroom kits with very little success. Probably not the fault of the kit maker but our lack of skill. After several tries we worked out it was cheaper to buy mushrooms as our kit trials yielded one or two mushrooms only. When we did the numbers it cost of about $100/KG.

But being inspired by a podcast on TSP  we decided to try another method. First up was to buy some mushroom samples which we did a few weeks ago. A mushroom or two were broken up and mixed with used coffee grounds and left. The Oyster mushrooms showed some white growth and today we did something with them.

First our spare baby hothouse was to become the mushroom house.

Then we set up some warmth with a lead light (fluorescent).

Some humidity was added using a small pump in a bucket of water to splash the water and increase evaporation.

Then some Lucerne hay was collected as a bed for the mushrooms.

And it was sterilised by boiling in water.

After the water was drained and the hay cooled sufficiently some of the white spored coffee grounds were added and mixed thoroughly.

And finally the hay was wrapped tightly in a plastic recycled shopping bag and some holes cut. The wad was suspended in the hot house near the light.

The small pump is playing up i.e. it is blowing the fuse on the electrical circuit. I've cleaned and sealed a hole near the lead with silicone.

The pump kept tripping the power point even after the repair. There is a slight leak of current still causing grieve. Tomorrow we will pick up a cheap new pump.

The hothouse is monitored by an inexpensive  RF temperature and humidity sensor which we used in our incubator. After sunset as the outside temperature fell the existing light could not emit enough warmth to keep the range between 21 and 27 degrees C. Our solution was a second lead light with a timer attached which comes on after dark. We monitored the temperature manually and found that if we turned on the second light after 8 pm and turns it off at 8am we achieved the desired result.

Now it is just a matter of waiting. We don't expect instant success. This is just the first of a series of trials as we learn more about mushroom growing.


  1. Very interesting and I am looking forward to reading how the experiment progresses. Personally I find oyster mushrooms rather bland. I saw they Gavin Webber on his greeningofgavin blog is playing around with mushrooms as well. Incidentally I liked all your chocolate ideas too. The prune one sounds as if it would be fantastic.

  2. Some decades ago we purchased a small oak barrel to be dedicated to port. Not that we drink much port if any nowadays. But it does provide the second ingredient to ported prunes. Usually we buy 10 or so packets of dried prunes with seeds removed and stuff them in clip lock jars and cover with port. After a month they are ready to serve with yogurt or use with chocolate. The port we use to top up the port barrel is the least expensive available but we blend a few different brands and styles. Sometime during the aging process it changes and becomes a delicious aged port. A handy gift for friends or for adding to different dishes.