How to Grow Mushrooms in Terrariums

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Mushrooms can easily be grown at home.
Mushrooms can easily be grown at home. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Mushroom lovers used to have to go to a gourmet restaurant in order to indulge in this tasty treat. Stores now carry many different kinds of mushrooms, everything from the familiar button mushrooms to more exotic type like shiitake (Lentinula edodes), blue dolphin oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) and lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus). Though this makes the fungi more readily available, the cost of many of these mushrooms is so high that they are still a rare treat for most people. One way to be able to enjoy more mushrooms is to grow them at home in a terrarium.

Things You'll Need

  • Mushroom spores (mycelia)
  • Terrarium
  • Compost
  • Misting bottle
  • Water

Fill the bottom of the terrarium with compost. It should be 3 to 4 inches thick. You can mix it with sawdust or straw. This will provide the nutrients for the mushrooms and is essential to your growing success.

Get mycelia – mushroom spores – from a reliable source. Kits are available that contain everything you need to be able to produce a large number of mushrooms. Buying one of these kits enables you to grow without the use of a terrarium, if you desire. You can also transfer the growing medium that comes with the kit into your terrarium and proceed from there.

Inoculate the compost with the mycelia. If you have purchased these spores commercially, they will come with complete instructions. For most mushroom types, sprinkle the mycelia on the compost.

Water the terrarium contents lightly, but enough to get the compost and the spores wet. Do not get it so wet that water puddles on the surface.

Place the terrarium in a bright, but not sunny, location. The temperature should remain between 70 and 80 degrees F in order for the mushrooms to fruit. Fruiting is the term used to describe the growth of a mushroom.

Mist the surface of the compost daily, to help to keep the humidity high. It is best if you can cover your terrarium to hold the humidity in until the mushrooms begin to grow.

Harvest your mushrooms when they have reached optimal size for the particular type you are growing. Button mushrooms are harvested when they are 1 to 2 inches across but shiitakes will be 3 or 4 inches in size before you pick them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some types of mushrooms, such as oyster mushrooms, are grown on a log. You can place such a log in a terrarium if you desire, but it isn't necessary. If you buy a mushroom kit or commercial spores, follow any temperature and humidity requirements for the specific type of mushroom you have purchased. Mushroom kits come with the mushrooms ready to sprout. Otherwise, getting mushrooms to grow can take more than a year from the time you inoculate the compost until the mushrooms actually fruit.
  • Mushrooms can be deadly. Do not ever pick, eat or grow wild mushrooms.

References

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