mushrooms : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Has anyone tried to grow mushrooms? Where do you get the starts? What growing techniques work best? Is this a good crop to grow on a 160 acre farm? If not, what would be best? Thanks.

-- Hank (, January 30, 2002


There are plenty of source catologues out there that supply mushroom spores, and medium. In a box, I have a Harrowsmith magazine that has a list of Canadian seed companies, and what they provide. If nobody else can find you an answer, then I'll dig it out. Most edible mushrooms however, do not grow well out in the open field, although that is the habitat of some, like ink caps, and puffballs. If you have forested land, you might be in better luck. Most mushrooms prefer shade, damp, etc. If you have 160 acres you can certainly do a great many other things, and still grow muchrooms. Do you have a market for your mushrooms? Not knowing what your 160 acres are comprised of, and what sort of climate you have, does limit the answers that people can provide.

-- roberto pokachinni (, January 30, 2002.

I don't know anything about mushrooms, but I found this interesting. There are two abandoned (railroad) tunnels near me that are for sale. One of the descriptions for potential property use is a mushroom farm. I guess they need darkness and moisture?? Not really sure....

-- Margaret (, January 30, 2002.

Where I come from they have mushroom farms. The mushroom houses look like chicken houses, long buidings, with no windows. They hire mexicans to work the houses. I heard it is pretty nasty.

-- julie (, January 30, 2002.

I have looked into buying the kits, and upon reading the description got the impression that some or all of the growing medium was sterilized.

The kits only produce for a short time, like a few weeks, so I never bought one as I had been hoping to maintain a small amount of mushrooms all the time (like keeping an herb pot growing and just harvesting as I needed to).

-- GT (, January 30, 2002.

I'm growing shiitake's on a very small scale, as an experiment. If it works out I might do more. There is a nine-month "incubation" time before they start to fruit, so it's not a get-rich quick idea. (I'm not even sure it's a get-rich-at-all idea!)

We got our spawn from a farm in tenessee called the "Mushroom people". It's an old hippie commune. Interesting folks. Anyway, they sent us a "starter kit" for about $20 that had all we needed to get going except the logs. I cut a small white oak off our property and we innoculated the logs and then put them down by the pond. We soak them every so often, and in the fall I finally did get one small fruiting, and so I expect they will start to really produce this spring.

I met a guy who used to have about 250 of those logs, and sold the mushrooms to local restaurants and such. He said it took him about 4 hours a month to take care of them, and at it's peak he was making about $30,000 a year from them. I'm not so sure about that, but it could be profitable...

-- chuck in md (, January 30, 2002.

Chuck, it would certainly be a niche market, say if you sold exclusively to one healthfood store or an upscale restaurant, but then your fortunes would be tied to theirs as well.... Interesting idea though!

-- GT (, January 30, 2002.

where i'm from in w. pa they grew a lot of mushrooms in old mines, cool, damp, dark. they would set up benches along the sides of the tunnels, with 4-6 inches of "growing media"(means i don't know what they used) and grow the mushrooms in this. sounds like a railroad tunnel would be a good place, just build a structure at each end, with a door in it.

-- bill van in e. tn (, January 30, 2002.

Hi Hank, I have a friend who is a professional mushroom grower of some 40 years experience, he grows in insulated black poly tunnels. He has been trying to find something else to do for the last 15 yrs ! The temperature has got to be right, the humidity, the composition of the growing medium, (lime, horse manure, straw etc) and in between each crop the tunnels literally have to be disinfected to stop any mushroom flys carrying over. The whole thing is a pain I warn you. On top of that you have to blow up real big idf you want to compete with other producers, and you will have to because of price. A couple of years ago I bought a book from the the US, it was called How to set up and run a backyard nursery, The guy mostly was writing about shrubs and small trees, but at one point he says "if you realy DONT know what to grow, grow something that flowers" I took his advice, we are now in our second year and we cant grow enough dwarf sunflowers, cornflower, dahlias, etc etc. Best of luck, I wish I had 1.6 acres let alone 160 !!


-- Ken Duggan (, January 31, 2002.

Hank: I've raised shittake mushrooms for three years. They are really easy to grow but take about a year to begin getting large harvests. Got my plugs of spawn from the mushroom people. They look like short pieces of 1/4" dowel rod. You'll need to cut down a live oak tree. Need limbs 4" to 6" in diameter and about 4' long. Drill holes in the logs, insert the plugs, and then seal the holes with beeswax. Stand the logs up, somewhere shaded, cool and damp and water them occasionally. The next year they will really produce. Hope you like to eat mushrooms. They are really big. Eventually the fungus (mushrooms) will consume the log and you will have to start over. they really are fun and fairly inexpensive. Nothing to it. Cary from Missouri

-- cary olenhouse (, January 31, 2002.

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