When you're starting to grow anything, whether it's vegetables in your garden or plants in your home, you want to be assured that your seeds will grow. You've spent your hard earned money on those seeds and you want to make sure it doesn't go to waste! Mushrooms aren't any different. You'll be more likely to attempt your new hobby if you have the confidence that you'll succeed!
When North Spore fields questions about growing mushrooms, we first try to establish the level of experience of whomever is inquiring. We do our best to suggest mushroom species that match said person's knowledge of mushroom cultivation.
There are some mushrooms species that we only recommend to more advanced growers or those willing to experiment (Morel or Hen of the Woods for example) but this article is for sharing our tried and true strains that every ability level of cultivator is sure to grow!
Wine Cap (Stropharia rugosoannulata)
Wine Caps are an easy mushroom to grow and are the clear choice for someone who does not have access to fresh logs or indoor space. Wine Caps grow best in a garden bed on straw (not hay), hardwood chips, or sawdust. They are a vigorous species and can tolerate aged and unsterile substrates, a variety of particle sizes, and a substrate mixture that includes some softwoods but generally no more than 25% softwood (most edible mushroom species prefer hardwood such as maple or oak!)
Spread out your substrate in a shady part of your garden, top it with a layer of Wine Cap sawdust spawn, add another layer of substrate and give the entire bed a good soak of water. This species is perfect for mushroom growers who don't want to wait a year before they start to see mushrooms. If you inoculate a wood chip bed with Wine Cap in the spring, you'll likely have mushrooms popping up by early autumn!
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
The preferred method for growing Shiitake mushrooms is by inoculating logs with Shiitake spawn. The process is relatively simple- drill holes in a freshly cut hardwood log (ideally oak, though beech and some species of maple will suffice), fill the holes with Shiitake sawdust or plug spawn and seal the holes with melted wax. Watch the video below to see the full inoculation process or read more about the process here
The wonderful thing about mushroom logs is that you will get multiple years worth of edible fungi without having to re-inoculate your logs. On average a mushroom log will produce for 1 year per inch of diameter of the log. Meaning if you inoculated a 5 inch diameter oak log with shiitake spawn, it will most likely produce for 5 years!
When you're ready to grow Shiitakes, using an Outdoor Mushroom Log Kit is the most accessible way to begin your journey into mushroom cultivation. This mushroom grow kit give you all the supplies you need to jump right into having edible mushrooms right in your back yard!
For larger projects you will want to use Shiitake Sawdust Spawnpaired with an inoculation tool. Watch the video below to learn more about growing shiitakes on logs!
Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)
North Spore began as urban mushroom farm producing Oyster mushrooms and, to this day, Oysters are still a cornerstone of our business. They're versatile, delicious, and the easiest mushroom to grow inside your own home! If you're looking for a mushroom growing kit that you can count on to give you fresh mushrooms as soon as possible then look no further.
We created our Indoor Grow at Home Kits to bring mushroom growing to the masses. Each mushroom grow kit is a block of sawdust that has been colonized by oyster mushroom mycelium. Simply cut a slit in the plastic against the block, spritz it with water every day, and watch mushrooms grow right before your eyes! It's easy, exciting, and you're sure to grow edible mushroom on your kitchen counter in two weeks.
If you're interested in further discussion about why mushroom growing is so niche, read our blog post about mycophobia.