How to Grow Mushrooms in a Poor Man's Terrarium

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Mushrooms grow in a wide range of home setups.
Mushrooms grow in a wide range of home setups. (Image: mushrooms image by Warren Rosenberg from Fotolia.com)

Mushrooms grow in a range of different natural environments, from caves to logs and even suburban lawns. Unlike green plants, these unique fungi grow without light or extensive nutrition, and need only moisture and protection from the elements to grow and thrive. This ease of growth makes mushrooms popular home crops for people of all ages. Although retailers sell expensive ready-to-use mushroom boxes for growing home mushroom harvests, it's less expensive to use some standard household products to build your own mushroom-growing terrarium.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-liter bottles
  • Razor/Scissors
  • Perlite/Peat moss/Grain
  • Spray bottle
  • Mushroom culture

Empty and wash a 3-liter soda or water bottle. One 3-liter bottle will produce one terrarium for mushroom growing. If you want to grow a larger mushroom crop, collect more bottles. Use the razor or scissors to cut a hole halfway down the side of the bottle, then insert the razor or scissors into the hole and cut around the bottle to cut it in half. The best place for this cut is directly above the label. Keep the top of the bottle for later use.

Put two to three inches of peat moss, perlite or grain in the bottom of your bottle, as a growing foundation for the mushrooms. Growing foundations must offer good support, while holding moisture for the mushroom rooting colony. Inject mushroom culture--liquid that holds mushroom spores, available at home and garden shops--into this growing foundation by inserting the tip into the foundation and depressing the plunger. Spray the growing foundation with enough water to moisten the material, but not get it muddy or soupy.

Set the top of the bottle on the bottom to close the terrarium, unscrew the top and remove it to encourage air circulation. Put the bottle in a cool, protected place. Ideal growing situations for mushrooms include cupboards, closets and drawers, as they offer both protection and humidity for the terrarium. Don't expose the mushrooms to direct sunlight, as this will dry the foundation and keep the mushrooms from sprouting. Expect mushroom sprouting in six to eight weeks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once established, a mushroom colony will resprout for years. Maintain your terrarium for a repeat mushroom harvest.

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