Follow these 6 tips so you can grow your own mushrooms

Growing mushrooms at home is a little different than your other run of the mill garden veggies. Typically, they are grown indoors, under very specific conditions but the process isn't overly hard. It's just different -- mushrooms grow from spores instead of seeds and need darkness to grow.
Some growers feel that mushrooms are an adventure of sorts, and they love seeing their hard work pay off. Following these 6 great tips will get you started growing mushrooms and well on your way to a harvestable crop.
1. Choose mushroom type
Some mushrooms are better suited to be grown at home than others. For instance, morels and chanterelles are nearly impossible to grow indoors. They have developed a highly symbiotic relationship with tree roots and as much as people have tried, no one has been able to figure out how to cultivate them. The best types of mushrooms for growing at home include shiitake, pink oyster, king oyster, lions mane, and reishi mushrooms. After you decide which kind of mushroom you'd like to grow you need to buy the spawn from a reputable source.
2. Get the right growing media
The type of mushroom you choose to grow will determine the type of growing media that you will need. Shiitake are normally grown on hardwood logs or hardwood sawdust; oyster mushrooms are typically grown on straw; white button mushrooms are grown on composted manure. It's important to research to figure out exactly what media you need for the type of mushrooms you are growing. To get more information on the appropriate media for the different strains check out Mushroom Appreciation.
3. Start spores/spawn
Unlike other plants, mushrooms are not started from seed but from microscopic spores found within the caps of mushrooms. Their tiny size prohibits them from being handled like seeds. Spawn is the beginning growth of mushroom plants -- a threadlike network of mycelium, or fungus. To make it easier to understand think of spores as the "seeds", and mushroom spawn as the "seedlings". (The Mushroom Council explains it in great detail if you'd like a better explaination.)
To start your mushrooms, you'll take pre-made spawn purchased from a reputable source and spread it over the top of your growing media. The spawn has been grown on sterile media such as grain or wooden dowel pellets to make it easier to work with. Keep the growing media at a temperature between 70-75 degrees (a heating pad underneath the tray works really well), and place in a spot that has complete darkness and high humidity. Make sure to keep the spawn and growing media from drying out.
4. Drop temps and cover
As the spawn grows on the media it will begin to "root", sending down filaments into the substrate. This should take about 3 weeks. At this time drop the temperature of the growing media to between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the spawn with an inch or so of potting soil.
5. Keep moist and dark
Over the next 3-4 weeks, keep the growing media in the dark as much as possible and consistently moist. Mist the soil surface when it dries out.
6. Harvest
Mushrooms will "flush", meaning they will go through repeating 3-5 day harvest periods during the growing season. Harvesting can go on as long as mushrooms continue to mature. Depending on the variety growing the harvest period changes, but it's typical to be able to harvest from a "batch" of spawn for 5-6 weeks.

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