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Does anyone have any info on starting a small household mushroom farm in a little converted tool shed to grow a variety of mushrooms without using the commercial box start-up kits?

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closed as off topic by rumtscho Nov 28 '12 at 15:41

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You might be able to collect spores from the type of edible mushrooms you plan to grow if you can get fresh, undisturbed specimens. If you set the cap of a mushroom down on paper and leave it, you will get a "spore print", so it's possible that just doing this on a suitable growing medium would work. Note that I'm completely guessing here, which is why I've made this a comment, not an answer. –  Allison Feb 23 '11 at 17:06
And you also don't need to close up a tool shed to grow ... I've heard that some folks with greenhouses will hang curtains from their tables, so they can grow mushrooms underneath. –  Joe Feb 24 '11 at 1:20
Both existing answers provide information that demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the subject and are unlikely to provide success. See Mycelium Running and Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms for authoritative answers to this question. –  Abe Nov 28 '12 at 6:50
@abe I actually think that the question is off-topic for cooks. Luckily, we have a gardening site on the network nowadays, so I will try to get it migrated there. –  rumtscho Nov 28 '12 at 12:07
Sorry folks, turns out that there is a policy in place not to migrate such old questions. I am closing it as off-topic here, as we are not experts on growing plants, and the answers show it. Burdon, you are welcome to ask it again on gardening if you are still interested in the answer. For details see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/152597/…. –  rumtscho Nov 28 '12 at 15:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

well you only really need two things to grow mushrooms... spores and a growth medium.

First the growth medium; mushrooms grow from decaying wood or other decaying meterial, not soil. They sell mushroom compost that is mixed wood and manure, check your local garden center.

Second, the spores a quick search on amazon will give you lots to choose from for pretty cheap. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=mushroom+growing+kit&sprefix=mushroom+growing+kit#/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=mushroom+spores&rh=n%3A1055398%2Ck%3Amushroom+spores

All you should have to do is build beds in your shed to hold the compost, 'seed' the compost with the spores, and wait for your mushrooms.

Good Luck

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-1 I have grown mushrooms quite a bit and am certain that this is a weak answer. The links you give are for commercial kits, which the question explicitly asks to avoid. It is clear that you do not have any experience growing mushrooms, and mushroom compost is not a good substrate. –  Abe Nov 28 '12 at 6:48

Your best bet is to grow Shiitake on logs as described in the article "Consider Shiitake Cultivation". As discussed in the article, you can contact your local extension agent for non-commercial spawn (but it is probably easier to purchase a bag of commercial spawn to inoculate your logs).

Googling "shiitake log cultivation" will turn up a number of other good resources.

Both of the existing answers imply that mushroom compost is a way to produce mushrooms. In my extensive research and experience, this is the first time I have come across this suggestion. Mushroom compost is the waste produced by mushroom farms, after the mushrooms have been produced. A few mushrooms may pop up, but this is not considered a viable or efficient method of cultivating mushrooms.

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I bought some mushroom compost for the garden. It's supposedly 'used' compost from a mushroom farm, a couple of days later I had delicious mushrooms sprouting up all over the flower beds - it wasn't quite as 'used' as they though.

Probably the easiest way to start!

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sounds like a long shot. Do you have any evidence that this is a reliable, reproducible method? –  Abe Nov 28 '12 at 7:01

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