Homemade mushroom cultivation
Mushroom cultivation is part of horticulture. For historical reasons, the mushroom is at the center of commercial mushroom cultivation.
The mushroom cultivation companies have so far rarely been organized in professional organizations, in Germany and Switzerland just a dozen companies. Germany is a "developing country" when it comes to mushroom cultivation. China produces 1.4 million tons of mushrooms each year, and the United States still 0.38 million tons.
Light and dark culture
The chanpignon is a typical mushroom for a dark culture, the less light it gets, the better. In contrast, the Asian mushrooms are light culture mushrooms.
Each type of mushroom needs a specific substrate (nutrient medium) in order to grow, both in nature and in culture. For example, straw, sawdust or wood chips serve as the basis. These can also affect the taste of the mushrooms.
This substrate first has to “rot” in order for the mushrooms to grow. It is irrigated continuously for several days, so that the decomposition of the material begins. Then the mushroom gardeners pasteurize the substrate so that no unwanted organisms spread.
Wheat grains are the basis for mushrooms, these are vaccinated with the mycelium. When the grains of the mycelium have grown through, we call them mushroom brood.
When the fruiting body forms, the temperature, humidity, CO2 content and amount of light must be right. In modern companies, these conditions are created by climate computers. This ensures that there are a lot of mushrooms at a certain time.
Cultivate mushrooms yourself
In order to cultivate mushrooms yourself, get a mushroom brood from the garden trade and ensure the appropriate substrate. Specialist shops offer special substrates with straw, bark mulch or grain. But you don't necessarily have to buy something like this: Especially the delicious herb mushrooms thrive on coffee grounds.
To do this, crumble the mushroom brood into very small pieces and mix it with the previously dried coffee powder. The mixture goes into the nursery pot, cover it well and ensure that the substrate remains moist for about 4 weeks.
After two to four weeks, the mycelium has grown through the substrate. Now the lid can be removed. The fruiting bodies now emerge in several batches. In total, one substrate of coffee grounds is sufficient for around 6 harvests.
We usually get oyster mushrooms in specialist shops as a fully grown substrate block. They store it in a room with moist air, it is best to switch on a nebulizer, if available, or to put a plastic film on the substrate. The temperature should be between 18 and 25 degrees.
When are mushrooms ripe?
If the plice thrives, the fruiting bodies first develop in the air holes. When the mushrooms are about 8 to 11 centimeters in size, you can turn them out.
Take the stump in so that no bacteria spread. After about three weeks of rest, the next harvest follows. After about five harvests, the substrate is depleted.
Grow mushrooms yourself
They also get mushrooms as ready-made cultures plus a bag with covering soil. They cover the substrate in a bowl with the earth and cover it with plastic. Alternatively, you can also use a wooden box that you line with foil. Now keep everything moist at 12 to 20 degrees.
You cover the box with foil until the first growths form on the surface, these urgently need air.
Once the mushrooms are developed, you can harvest them every two weeks, for about five months.
Growing mushrooms outdoors: tools and important information
Mushrooms are excellent for growing in the garden, courtyard or balcony. The conditions are different for individual species: brown caps such as oyster mushrooms love straw bales, which they soak with water for two days later in spring. Let the bale drip for a day afterwards.
Tip: If you have a rain barrel, always insert the bale from different sides. Now use a stick to drill holes 20 cm apart in the straw and insert the mushroom brood into it. When the straw bale is filled with the brood, cover it with foil to increase the humidity.
If everything works out, then after five to six weeks the bale is penetrated by the mushroom mesh at around 20-25 degrees, and you can harvest up to six kilos of mushrooms at three-week intervals.
The main sources of error are: wetness, dryness and pests. The straw must be moist, but must not be wet. Therefore, pay attention to a place where it is not exposed to the rain or the blazing sun. It is better to spray the bale again on very hot days. Pneumatic spray bottles are suitable for this.
You can also use straw pellets that let you swell up in a bucket of water, then mix in the brood, tie everything into plastic bags, and tie it up. However, there must be some air holes so that the whole does not die. They store the bags at around 15 degrees Celsius. The mycelium appears after about 3 weeks. Now remove the plastic wrap and put the growing mushrooms in a bright place without direct sunlight.
Lime mushroom, corn ink, pink mushroom, herb mushroom, brown cap and oyster mushroom are suitable for this method.
History of mushroom growing
Louis XIV, the King of the Sun, had mushrooms planted in the 17th century. These were considered delicacies, and the field and meadow mushrooms had to be laboriously collected. The French ruler now had them grown in dark vaults. It wasn't until the 20th century that the industry began to mass-cultivate mushrooms. Dark halls were used as well as mine tunnels or air raid shelters from the world wars.
Shiitake mushrooms have been cultivated in China for a long time, and globalization means that these cultivated mushrooms are spreading worldwide. In Germany, the mushroom is at the top with almost 60,000 tons, followed by shiitake and oyster mushroom with 500 tons and herb mushroom with 200 tons. Forest mushrooms can still not be cultivated despite numerous attempts. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Joachim Mayer: Growing vegetables organically: Home grown, freshly harvested, GU 2015
- Magdalena Wurth, Herbert Wurth: Growing mushrooms yourself: The practice book for organic garden, balcony, kitchen, cellar, dandelion publishers 2015
- Stefanie Goldscheider: growing your own mushrooms: for indoors and outdoors, GU 2018